It’s November, the month of gratitude, and we thought we’d celebrate our deep gratitude to you with some reflections shared by members of our precious community. 

We dream of a world where music is here for everyone, connecting us, inspiring us, and bringing joy and meaning wherever it goes. Click here to learn more about supporting ACG for Giving Tuesday.


We wanted to continue our month of gratitude to you with a reflection shared by our Director of Community Education, Tony Mariano, who visited recently with this year’s Javier Niño Scholarship recipient, Milca.

Tony and Milca’s words are a beautiful reminder of the power music has as a medium for meaningful connection.

Here is Tony’s letter:

Thank you to our ACG community, 

Your support runs so deep.

You are changing the course of young people’s lives in powerful ways, and I feel grateful to be out in the field witnessing it first-hand every day. Music can bring so much to someone’s life, and because of you we have the amazing chance to bring its gifts to thousands of incredible young people across our community. 

Today I’d like to tell you a little bit about one student in particular. She’s a junior at Northeast High School, she’s this year’s Javier Niño Scholarship winner, and her name is Milca.

Milca began playing guitar in school two years ago. She never expected to get as deeply involved with guitar as she has, but she felt a strong connection to it right away. And with a musician for a father, it just felt right. 

Thanks to friends like you, Milca was able to take private lessons with one of our ACG Teaching Artists; training that led to her winning this scholarship along with many other wonderful opportunities.

I first saw Milca perform at one of our Student Spotlight events at The Rosette last year. She was nervous, but was also inspired by the beautiful space. She described the feeling of overcoming that fear to share her art with others as “magical”.

And sharing that magic, through her words, is the reason I’m writing this letter to you today. We were talking last week, and Milca told me:

“Music is one of the most beautiful types of art, it can change your life. When you play music, you have a new home that you can go to whenever you want. I’m grateful for this opportunity that I could never have had if I was still in my country. It’s a chance to grow as a musician, something I would have never had before.

“Music has become a very big part of my life. When I feel hopeless or overwhelmed, I can go to it and forget about everything else. It’s comforting to know that I can always go back to it whenever I want.”

I am grateful for young people like Milca who will grow to be agents of positive change in this world. Through her art and kindness, she will make this world a better place. 

As I left my conversation with Milca, I turned to her and asked if she had any last thoughts, and she told me “I’m thankful for my dad, for helping bring music to my life.” 

I can’t think of anything more touching than that.

I am grateful for you, our community, for riding alongside ACG in this pursuit to affect significant change in the lives of people like Milca. 

I can’t wait for you all to meet her and hear her beautiful music!

Thank you,

Tony Mariano

Director of Community Education