Omaha nonprofit turns young musician’s dream into reality with repaired violin
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Emiliano Carrera-Ybañez never expected to be mesmerized by the strings and sounds of a violin at such a young age.
It all began in fourth grade.
“I told my mom hey I really want to do this,” Carrera-Ybañez said.
Carrera-Ybañez said it felt like fate at the moment.
“When she went up she was calling on students right on who wants to play what and I remember I raised my hand. I was the first one to raise my hand and she called on me.”
He raised his hand out of curiosity, little did he know this lady would be his soon-to-be music school teacher for the strings program in Omaha Public Schools.
Carrera-Ybañez said he went up in front of his class to play ‘Mary had a little lamb’ on a violin unknown of what he was doing, but he was sure of one thing.
“From then on, I was like yes I have to do this.”
Carrera-Ybañez worked towards one goal and that was to play in the all-state orchestra. However, to play for all-state meant being one of the best musicians and that usually comes with a hefty price.
At the time, Carrera-Ybañez couldn’t afford private music lessons and a quality instrument, but that didn’t stop him.
“Emiliano’s been self-taught, he learned by watching Youtube videos,” said Judy Divis, the VP of Education with the Omaha Chamber Music Society. “He never had a lesson and I could not believe what I was seeing.”
Divis is behind Good Vibrations, a nonprofit that’s been collecting and fixing up used stringed instruments to give to students that come from low-income backgrounds.
Divis has been doing this since 2018. She also visits schools in the metro to coach music-driven students.
“We were noticing that there were students of lower-income schools that were playing instruments that we’re basically broken and in need of help,” Divis said.
Divis met Carrera-Ybañez at Bryan High School. She was inspired by his musical talent. This set Divis on a mission to help Carrera-Ybañez achieve his dream.
With a repaired violin and a couple of music lessons later, Carrera-Ybañez played as the principal violinist at the all-state orchestra in his junior year of high school.
“I realized I’m going somewhere with music,” Carrera-Ybañez said.
Now Divis is set out to help other students. They’ve repaired a total of 300 stringed instruments.
“Things just started falling into place, it seems when you’re on the right path things have a way of doing that,” Divis said.
Good Vibrations is accepting donations through its website. You can also contact (402) 679-3302.