Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Music lifts young talent and disadvantaged

It’s all about music. Scholarship winners of the Miami Music Teachers Association performed recently at an annual event that celebrates the beauty of piano and voice. The association has been active in our community since 1934 with the mission to promote music education and open doors for talented young students.

Chairpersons for the event, held at the Steinway Piano Gallery in Coral Gables, were current president Debora Sanchez and Jay Hess.

MMTA is affiliated with Music Teachers National Association and Florida State Music Teachers Association and is “the leading local organization of music educators and teachers in Miami,” said Zelda Jensen, MMTA president elect.

“Every year MMTA offers master classes, performances and informative lectures given by noteworthy musicians specializing in music pedagogy for piano, strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion and voice. MMTA is a non‐profit organization comprised of highly qualified music,” she said in email.

“It has been active in the community since 1934, raising the standard of music teaching, promoting culture and opening doors to our youth with all its vast and diverse opportunities,” Jensen said. “In 1979 it created Miami Music Teachers Foundation, providing numerous incentives to mostly pre-college music students to advance in their study and enjoyment of music.”

Meetings are held at Steinway Piano Gallery. For more information visit


What event can bring together more than 300 lawyers, community leaders, judges, rock stars, roadies, hipsters, professionals, students, musicians and groupies?

It’s the fourth annual Battle of the Bands, hosted by Dade Legal Aid. This year the event will take place 7-11 p.m., May 30, at Sidebar, 337 SW 8 St., “the Brickell area’s hottest new venue located on Calle Ocho beneath the I-95 overpass,” said Dade Legal Aid Executive Director Karen Ladis.

The event is back by popular demand, she said, and will feature local lawyer ”rock star” bands Hearsay, The Motions, Tony T. and the Triple Threat, and The Urge. It’s an American Idol-style competition that showcases the musical talents of several South Florida bands featuring top Miami lawyers.

Members of the judiciary along with audience participation will judge the participants

“The Battle of the Bands is one of Dade Legal Aid’s premier fundraisers,” said Stephanie Grosman, Dade Legal Aid Staff Attorney and organizer of this year’s fundraiser. “A lot of hard work goes into organizing this event and it is so rewarding to see so many familiar faces that support our agency. Guests are guaranteed to have a great time at this year’s amazing venue, Sidebar.”

Dade Legal Aid addresses critical legal matters for disadvantaged individuals, children and families regarding family law, domestic violence and sexual assault, Guardian ad Litem, guardianship, teen advocacy, and housing and bankruptcy.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door and $10 for students. Buy tickets online at For more information contact Ladis at 305-579-5733 ext. 2240.


Congratulations to the winners of the Kerdyk Family Music Scholarships, awards given annually to talented students who have displayed a love of music through their high school years.

This year’s recipients are Camila Conesa of Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, who won $2,500 to help with college, and Maria Yow of Coral Gables Senior High School, who was awarded $1,500.

Camila is a trained classical pianist who has participated in the Carrollton School Choir since her freshman year. She also plays the guitar and drums and has interned for local musicians and in recording studios. She plans to study music and music business at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. Tracy Kerdyk presented the scholarship to Camila at Carrollton.

Maria is a vocalist and Soprano Section Leader in the Gables High Women’s Ensemble Choir. She also sings in the a cappella group, DIVISI, and serves as Treasurer of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. She plans to pursue music at Florida International University and received her scholarship at a Gables High awards ceremony.

Established in 2002, the Kerdyk Family Music Scholarship Fund at the Coral Gables Community Foundation gives college scholarships each year. It is named after long-serving Coral Gables Commissioner William H. “Bill” Kerdyk, Sr. who had a love of music. The scholarship is continued by his family today and has distributed more than $36,000 since its inception. To learn more visit

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at