New “Musicians at Play” program for LA-area teens aims to diversify pool of recording-studio musicians

Posted on: July 25, 2022

“On a Sunday morning in May [on] the Warner Bros. scoring stage … musicians tuned their … instruments, ready for the downbeat of the conductor’s baton and the red ‘recording’ light to flicker on,” writes Tim Greiving in Wednesday’s (7/22) Los Angeles Times. “None of this would be exceptional for an orchestra accustomed to recording Hollywood film scores—but these musicians were teenagers from high schools in the Los Angeles area [in a] three-hour session, [playing music] from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’… Students … age 13 to 18 auditioned for this inaugural event of the Rise Diversity Project, which capped a week of Zoom workshops and a full day of rehearsals…. Hailing from Asian, Latinx and Black communities, the young musicians traveled from Long Beach, Diamond Bar and Glendale to the soundstage in Burbank. The Rise project was conceived and organized by Musicians at Play, a nonprofit founded in 2015 by April Williams and her husband, Don…. Said [program] mentor Danielle Ondarza, a French horn player who’s been playing sessions for 23 years, … ‘You can’t get experience unless you get called for the job.’ … April Williams plans to implement [Musicians at Play] earlier in the school year next time around.”