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-- College study and music help youth succeed


Apparently the combination of music and study may be the secret formula to bring some people along the road to success.

This is the case of a Macaulay Honors freshman at Queens College, Zachery William (Zack) O'Farrill, who is 18 years old and majoring in music performance, which he loves, at the college’s Aaron Copland School of Music.

He told El Correo that he chose Queens College because it "has a good percussion department, and it is hard to say no to free tuition and a personal computer.”

O'Farrill completed his high school education at Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music and expects to receive his college degree by 2013. While maintaining a 3.59 – 4.00 Grade Point Average, he also plays drums and percussion in the college’s symphony orchestra, as well as jazz and percussion ensembles.  “To be honest, I have no idea how I am going to manage this next semester," says O'Farrill of his very busy schedule.

He currently lives on campus in the Summit residence hall; but when he’s not in school, his home is in Park Slope, Brooklyn with his parents and younger brother. O'Farrill's life outside of school revolves around music and literature. His father, who is of Cuban and Mexican descent, is a jazz pianist; his brother Adam is a trumpeter; and his mother, who was born in New York, is a classical pianist.

"I don’t know what my ultimate goal is, but it has to be related to music," explains O'Farrill.

Together with his brother Adam, O'Farrill formed a band named
Alphabet Soup (Sopa de Alfabeto), which has performed at clubs like the Smoke and Puppets Jazz Bar in Manhattan. They plan to record their music this month. O'Farrill has also played on his own in Japan, Switzerland and Cuba.  "Often people do not understand English, but the language of music is universal," says O'Farrill.

In addition to music, he enjoys reading urban literature, especially about New York.
"It's an interesting city full of people affected by their surroundings," observes O’Farrill.

For him and many others, this combination of music and study could be the key to a successful future. Although the road is long, the journey is worth it.


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Deputy Director of News Services
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(718) 997- 5597

Maria Matteo
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(718) 997-5593

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