Music: It Is More Than Just Something You Put On a College Resume.

Here is a picture of Denise in her mariachi suit, getting ready for a performance.

“Being in the program is a source that when you input anything, you can get anything out of it.””

— Denise Cevilla

For Denise Cevilla, balancing music with academics and extracurriculars is no problem, especially since cello, her instrument, gives her a chance to embrace her culture. Denise’s passion for music began at just five years old when she joined the Latino Arts Strings Program, a musical group that recruits students from 4 to 18 years old. Denise practices both at her strings group and at home, clocking in around 7 hours a week to her art form. A normal practice day consists of a five minute warm-up of scales, “finger stretches,” rehearsal of any pieces she is working on, and group practice with other members of the program. Denise also actively performs with the Latino Arts Strings program almost every week. Due to the extensive time spent with the group, Denise calls her fellow musicians her “second family.” Though her commitment to music is time consuming, Denise finds joy in the practice, as it gives her a break from school, home, and any personal issues she struggles with. Denise also appreciates the sense of rootedness that playing the music of her culture provides her. Denise’s participation in The Latino Arts Strings Program has taken her across the country to perform, as she once performed on a tour in New York City and played alongside the well known band 
Villalobos Brothers. Notably, Denise mentioned one highlight of her musical career: playing in front of President Barack Obama during his visit to the United Community Center in 2016.