LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Dozens of young musicians from the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles or YOLA, who got the chance of a lifetime to perform at Super Bowl 50, returned home to a warm welcome.
A party was held at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles Monday to celebrate the kids’ accomplishment.
Lizeth Martinez played the violin as her orchestra performed with Coldplay during the halftime show. Beyoncé and Bruno Mars later joined the performance. “On stage, I cried because this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. I was so proud,” she said.
The violinist’s father, Francisco Martinez, struggled to find the words to describe how he felt when he saw his daughter on TV. “I’m cry. I say: ‘Oh wow.’ This is unbelievable.”
Nearly 50 kids from the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles program were invited to perform, thanks to a connection between Coldplay singer Chris Martin and Los Angeles Philharmonic Director Gustavo Dudamel.
In the past two years, more than 30 kids graduated from the YOLA program. Some are considering a career in music. All of them have gone on to college.
Rebecca Sigel of the L.A. Philharmonic said: “Creating global citizens who use music as a tool for social change and see the world that it can open.
The kids in YOLA come from low-income families. Still reeling from the privilege of being part of Super Bowl 50’s halftime, Juan Montes wants the same opportunity for his younger sister. “My younger sister. I’d like her to have opportunities as well for me help her help my mom once I’m able to,” Montes said.
His mom, Heydi, is a single parent who works two jobs. “Some day, we are going to get out of Compton. May be not with money, but with struggle,” she said.