Ask most any little American boy what he wants to be when he grows up and chances are he’ll say “I want to be a firefighter.”
That was the case of a little 3 year old firefighter who showed up with his fireman’s outfit and tiny violin at the Poppenhusen Institute recently.
Three year old Jayden Tettey, five year old Amanda Li, and seven year old Isabel Hong have been playing the violin under the dynamic leadership of Yukako Tarumi, Director, for less than a year. In addition, other talented Tarumi Violinists who performed at the Poppenhusen Institute recently included: Yume Nakao, Edan Sabah, Ethan Song, Kent Song, Caroline Stohrer, and Max Stohrer.
The brave members of FD NY Engine 297, Ladder 130, in College Point, who every day save precious lives and valuable property, took a few minutes off to greet Yukako Tarumi, the Director of the Tarumi Violinists and accordionist at this event, Argentinian Guillermo Vaisman, as well as the enthusiastic young performers.
Dressed up in a little firemen’s outfit especially for the occasion was a 2 year old boy. Attracting a lot of attention was a talented five year old girl who has been playing the violin for only a few months before her debut at the Poppenhusen Institute.
Welcoming the group of young violinists at the Institute which was founded 150 years ago by Conrad Poppenhusen, a German immigrant from Hamburg, Germany was Susan K. Brustmann, Executive Director.
The Poppenhusen Institute, as she explained, “The Poppenhusen Institute was founded in 1868 with funds donated by Conrad Poppenhusen, the benefactor of College Point. The Institute opened the first free kindergarten in the United States on July 1, 1870. “
Nowadays, “it is our goal to continue to offer the people of the Metropolitan area, life enhancing cultural, recreational and educational programs” says Susan. As stated in the original charter, “the Institute is open to all, irrespective of race, creed, or religion giving people the opportunity to improve their lives either by preparing them for better jobs or improving their leisure time.”
Yukako explained, “our violinists have experienced the healing power of music” especially when it follows a tragedy or natural disaster. “Our students have learned that their music is a powerful tool to bring comfort to those in need.”
As Yukako Tarumi explained, “While most people were helpless in the wake of 9/11 at the World Trade Center, these young violinists knew that they could help in a small, meaningful way, and reached for their violins. They played their violins for the victims mourning the loss of their loved ones.
Just three days after 9/11 at the World Trade Center, the peace-loving Tarumi Violinists responded to a request by the United Nations where the Tarumi Violinists have performed many times, to participate in a moving ceremony at which UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other UN officials mourned the devastating loss of life following 9/11. Moving speeches of support followed. Later on, these brave firefighters were honored for their bravery with heart-warming performances by the multi-cultural Tarumi Violinists.
What makes studying violin with Yukako so special is that she gives to her students not only a passion for music, but she genuinely cares for their development as musicians and human beings. Her students have chosen not only to actively participate in charitable events, but to use their musical talent to bring joy to others.
In addition, the Tarumi Violinists hold the distinction of performing four times in the United Nations General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York. In l996, the late UN Secretary-General Boutros- Boutros Ghali awarded the group the United Nations 50th Anniversary Medal in recognition of their accomplishments and effort to promote world peace.
But most important of all, the dynamic Tarumi Violin Children’s Foundation of The Arts holds the distinction of having performed for four UN Secretary-Generals, namely, the current UN Secretary- General Antonio Guterres, as well as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and the late UN Secretary-General Boutros-Boutros Ghali.