When the Kendall-based South Florida Youth Symphony (www.sfys.net), now celebrating its 50th year, added 4-year-old Maya Kemp to its ranks it was doing more than just welcoming a talented young musician. It was welcoming a third generation member.
Maya, with her bright smile and purple violin, follows in the footsteps of her mother, Natalie Wilder-Kemp, and grandmother, Aundrea Wilder, as a member of the nation’s premier youth music organizations.
“Having a third generation of a family join the Youth Symphony is really quite amazing,” said Marjorie Hahn, the SFYS musical and executive director. “It says a great deal about the musical talent in that family as well as the longevity of the Youth Symphony itself.”
Now in her 44th year as a SFYS conductor and teacher in the organization founded by her step-father, Maestro Carmen Nappo, Hahn, who twice conducted the symphony on stage in Carnegie Hall in New York, has overseen the tremendous expansion of the symphony. Under her guidance, the group, which boasts one of the finest musical faculties in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, has grown to a three-orchestra program with four levels of string training classes, preparatory classes, keyboard classes, myriad small preforming ensembles and a 16-year legacy of summer music camps encompassing young musicians, ages 5-21.
“Mrs. Hahn has certainly been instrumental in my family’s musical growth — no pun intended,” said Aundrea Wilder, who began studying violin at age 8 at North Beach Elementary School and continued through junior and senior high schools where she was selected to participate in the All-County and All-State orchestras. During that time, l976 and l977, Wilder, who now works for the Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts as a systems analyst/ programmer, joined the SFYS.
Wilder’s daughter, Natalie Wilder-Kemp, developed an interest in the violin during her formative years at Crestview Elementary when Miami-Dade’s public schools introduced a string program there. After switching to the cello at the end of sixth grade, she followed in her mother’s footsteps being selected for the All-County Orchestra throughout her junior and senior high school years. Wilder-Kemp, who also works for the Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts as a courtroom clerk, remained a SFYS member through her college years, 1999-2001.
And now little Maya Kemp is adding her violin talents to the SFYS in the organization’s beginning Suzuki classes.
“I am so proud of her,” said Maya’s mom. “We’ve always tried to make music part of our lives, from my mother to me and now to Maya. Music, and the dedication of taking up an instrument has been a positive influence in all of our lives. And sharing that love of music with fellow members of the Youth Symphony is just the icing on the cake.”
For more information on the South Florida Youth Symphony, visit the website at www.sfys.net or phone 305- 238-2729.