CCA students in Philadelphia share passion for music through Performing Arts Club
Six students, who were once strangers, created a club to gather around a guitar and a bongo to practice a song they wrote.
Walk into the Center City Philadelphia Family Service Center on any given Friday during the school year, and you will be met with the sounds of the CCA Performing Arts Club. Six students, who were once strangers, gather around a guitar and a bongo to practice a song they wrote together.
One of the seniors in the club, Emmanuel “Manny” Lozada-Mendez, 18, of Philadelphia, recently reflected on how his involvement in the club affirmed his future career path. Manny recently committed himself to Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance to study music education.
Coming from a family of musicians, Manny is familiar with thinking on his feet to learn new songs and organizing on-the-spot jam sessions. These skills benefited him in his leadership role within the CCA Performing Arts Club.
“Music runs in my blood,” Manny said. “My father is a guitarist, and my mother is a flutist.”
One of Manny’s favorite classes at CCA has been living music. The class focuses on music theory and aims to support students as they compose their own sheet music.
“I connect with music more than anything else, and I was glad to find that CCA’s curriculum was able to support my interests. The teachers and staff members have helped encourage me to succeed every step of the way,” Manny said.
The main vocalist of the club is Yvette Morales, 18, of Philadelphia. She will be attending Northpoint Bible College in the fall to major in youth ministry and worship. Yvette developed her singing talent alongside her mother, a pastor who believes that the arts have the power to bring people in the community together.
Yvette is helping to teach younger club members the music and lyrics of the song before she graduates.
“All we set out to do was create a song with a positive message,” Yvette said. “We focused on the idea that students can be their own kind of beautiful, which is something more teens need to hear.”
Sevien Smith, the Performing Arts Club adviser, has been with CCA as a team tutor for the last four years. He said he feels “blessed” to oversee this club and is looking forward to what next year will bring.
“These kids are engaged. They want to be here,” he said. “Their commitment to the project and each other is impressive.”