From the CMW archive, here is an excerpt from one of the ten interviews conducted by Kirby and Chloe as part of our 10th season celebration. The ten interviews are still available in their entirety on our website.
KIRBY: Zeeny, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
ZEENY: My name is Zeeny, and I just turned ten years old. Can I tell you about my culture? I’m one-quarter Bahamian, one-quarter African, and one-half white.
KIRBY: How and when did you get involved in CMW?
ZEENY: I’m starting my third year. I think my mom just put me on the waiting list. I had played violin a little bit when I was four, so I kind of remembered it from long ago. But when I did violin then, I didn’t really want to play. It was that four-year-old stuff, “I don’t want to do it.” As I got older, I wished I had kept playing.
PATRICE: She even said to me, “I wish I’d never quit.” She was six or seven years old at the time. We had moved to this neighborhood in 2000, so we always used to walk by the office, and I saw the violins in the window. So one day we came in, and I put her on the list, and every so often, we’d get one of those postcards, saying, “You’re 72ndon the waiting list.” And I would ask Zeeny, “Are you still interested?” And she would always say yes. Finally, when she was seven and half, they called and said they had space. It was a summer day. We turned off supper and came right over!
KIRBY: Who do you have the most important relationship with in CMW?
ZEENY: Probably with my teacher, Jesse. He’s been the one that stayed with me longest. Also, I feed his cats when he’s away. In the summer, I feed his cats like every other week. He’s really funny: he cuts his hair short in the wintertime, and grows it long in the summertime!
PATRICE: Plus, he’s come over to our house and seen your whole menagerie, right? The cat, the snake, the bird, the lizard… There was even the night he came over and gave you a makeup lesson in your pajamas, remember? Jesse always goes above and beyond. We gave him a spaghetti dinner for that lesson. And every year he has a birthday breakfast with us.
KIRBY: What’s your funniest memory of CMW?
ZEENY: Well, I have lessons with Andrew. We’ve always had lessons together. And sometimes in lessons Jesse says, “OK, who wants to play this one?” And I always step back, and then Jesse says, “Well, Andrew, it looks like you’ve been volunteered.” It’s really funny.
KIRBY: What’s your most embarrassing moment in CMW?
ZEENY: Usually when I mess up during a concert. Like this last performance party, I messed up a little on the Waltz, when I did those triplets, I didn’t do them fast enough. But then Andrew messed up a little almost at the end, so I’m like, “Okay, it’s fair now.”
KIRBY: Patrice, how has the CMW community been important in your life, and in Zeeny’s life?
PATRICE: You know, in the beginning I really didn’t understand the whole community part of it. We actually missed the first performance party in the fall, because I just didn’t know it was important. At the time, our lives had been really disrupted, because we had moved to the area in the summer of 2000, and then 9/11 came along, and because I’m in the Air Force, I got called up and I was gone for a year. When I got back, I had a hard time catching up with Zeeny, and CMW become something for me to get involved with her in an interesting way. And then at the end of the first year, at the Performance Party down at the Church of the Messiah, Sebastian got up and said something about “community is first in CMW for a reason.” And it was like a light going on! Also getting to know Jesse was instrumental in making us feel a part of the community. Finding out that he was our neighbor, and him being part of our lives beyond lessons. So the community has really enriched us.
KIRBY: How was CMW different from what you expected when you first came in here?
PATRICE: Well, it’s so much more than anything I could have ever dreamed of. I had this limited perception of lessons. For example, if you want swim lessons, you go to the YMCA. You come on Mondays and Wednesdays nights, the kids all get in the water, the parents wait until the hour’s up. And that’s swim lessons at the Y. So I thought it was going to be the kind of thing that the kid gets involved in, but that’s it. My expectations were very small. So really it far exceeded my expectations. Because the relationship we have with Jesse is so dear, I can’t imagine him not being my neighbor, or being in our life. That’s why Sebastian’s words, “community is first in our banner for a reason,” has really come home to me in so many ways.