Warwick Valley Middle School sixth grader Joelle Fiol found the size and sound of the viola to be a perfect fit. However, learning to play the instrument was definitely challenging. She overcame those obstacles and now performs both in school and with an outside group.
“I definitely struggled,” Joelle said. “The hardest part was definitely sight reading the notes, but I finally got it; I finally realized these are new notes and these are how they are supposed to be played. I feel the most important thing is my growth. It’s really satisfying to see where I’ve come from all the way from where I first started until now. I’m so proud of myself, but obviously I couldn’t have done it without my amazing teachers guiding me the whole way.”
Joelle comes from a musical family. Her grandfather, uncle and brother are bass players. She found that the viola was a perfect fit for her. Joelle started playing the viola at Sanfordville Elementary School with her current music teacher, Ms. Moser.
“I have always been impressed by how Joelle continually puts her best foot forward in every circumstance,” Ms. Moser said. “She initially struggled with note reading, but kept at it, and she has persevered to where (under normal circumstances) she not only participates in our excellent school program, but also takes private lessons outside of school and performs with outside of school groups such as the Ebony Strings.”
The Ebony Strings are an orchestra group for children of color run by WVHS music teacher Elissa Maynard.
“Joelle is a determined young lady who is a fast learner,” Ms. Maynard said. “She has a great personality and is a natural born performer. Her contribution to the Hudson Valley Ebony Strings is priceless and having her in the group is truly a blessing.”
Joelle said many of her friends are also in the orchestra, so that’s another reason she enjoys rehearsals and concerts.
“I love doing concerts,” Joelle said. “It’s definitely so much fun to see the smiles on people’s faces when we play for them.”
Outside of school, Joelle also enjoys gymnastics and dance.