It’s not often that a child from a small town like East Rockaway gets to perform at New York City’s Carnegie Hall — and it’s even less common when it is a sister and a brother on the same day!
This past March, Felicya Schwazman, a senior at East Rockaway High School, played the cello in the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra’s Principal Orchestra in the afternoon. Her younger brother, Andrew Schwarzman , a 7th grader at the same school, performed with the MYO Concert Orchestra in the evening on the double bass. This was Felicya’s third time performing in Carnegie Hall and Andrew’s first. Felicya has also performed in Lincoln Center. When she applied to Ithaca College for early enrollment, she was among 1,500 students that had to audition for their music department. There was room for only 12 string positions, and Felicya earned one of those 12 slots.
Both Felicya and Andrew have performed many times at CW Post’s Tillis Center, Hofstra and Adelphi’s Aupac plus in schools all over Long Island. Felicya had attained the highest NYSSMA rating, level 6 of on both the violin and the cello years ago, and she was an alternate in the State Orchestra on the cello. Andrew is rated as NYSSMA level 6 on the bass and level 5 on the piano. He is believed to be the first East Rockaway student to have graduated from elementary school having achieved a level of 5 on two instruments — while still in the 6th grade.
Both Felicya and Andrew performed together in the pit for Sussical the Musical and as a result, have been included in the Lowes advertisements on the TV show “Smash,” along with the rest of the pit and cast. Felicya has been performing in the pit for musicals since the 7th grade and has performed in the pit both in and out of school in seven different musicals. Andrew is on target to follow in his sister’s footsteps. They will both be performing at Hofstra University this coming May.
Although music is important to both Andrew and Felicya, they are both well rounded kids, according to their father, Sam Schwazman. “They both are on travel soccer teams, play school soccer, run school track, CYO track, are involved in Girl and Boy scouting and are involved in many school activities, plus community service projects. Felicya will be attending Ithaca College in the fall as a music major.