Urban Rock Violin Duo Nuttin’ But Stringz signs on to become spokespersons for Opus 118, Harlem School of Music In New York

Joseh Kelly-Kapaj and Emma Montero at Opus 118, Harlem School of Music. (Courtesy Opus 118)

“We were inspired by Roberta Guaspari who used her God given talent to inspire others,” said Damien Escobar of  Nuttin’ But Stringz, who plans to bring awareness to the financial obstacle faced by Opus 118

New York, NY April 28, 2010 Nuttin’ But Stringz, international urban rock violin duo brothers Damien and Tourie Escobar announced today that they have signed on as the spokespersons for Opus 118, Harlem School of Music to help prevent it’s closure during these economic times. Opus 118 transforms the lives of students and their families of the Harlem community, through access to quality music education while fostering teacher development and introducing musical performance to new audiences. Since 1991 Opus 118 has helped over 5,000 students achieve through quality music instruction.

Current Parent, Jesi Kelley shares her reaction to the news:

“It’s so important for urban kids, particularly minority kids to see another way to live, to know that such a thing as “practice” and working towards something can actually mean something. It’s PARTICULARLY important for urban minority boys to know there is another way “out” than to be a hip hop star or a gangsta rapper who curses; that cursing is not essential to success. And… it’s another avenue other than the usual basketball (football not so much only because, particularly in NYC there ARE VERY FEW places kids can actually play). The beautiful thing about NBS is that they actually went to college… to Julliard no less.

“They are GREAT role models for the Opus kids,” said Parent Jesi Kelley. ” Heck, they have inspired my non-practicing kid to work out ‘Broken Sorrow’ all on his own… the song has notes and a key that he hasn’t played before. In a 4:30 minute song, he’s about half way through. That’s a really big deal.”

“Opus 118 has experienced significant challenges in securing the funding necessary to sustain the organization” says Damien Escobar, Nuttin’ But Stringz.

Damien says he was inspired by the efforts of Roberta Guaspari, co-founder of Opus 118, who entered the community of Harlem in 1981 with very little teaching experience and a lot of passion. In 1991, public school budget cuts eliminated arts programs, but Guaspari and her students fought for their program and held a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall. Her story would later be featured in films like ‘Music of the Heart’, starring Meryl Streep.

Unfortunately, after over a decade, Opus 118 finds itself in the same situation searching for funding to stay open. “Sometimes passion and drive is all you need.” says Tourie Escobar, “When my brother and I heard [Opus 118] was facing closure we felt motivated to help.” Ironically, younger brother Damien was asked to audition for the movie ‘Music of the Heart’. “I was asked to play the violin for that movie 12 years ago,” says Damien. “I was attending Julliard School of music so I missed the audition. But, I won’t miss the chance now to help out.”

Nuttin’ But Stringz is no stranger to giving back to the community. They brought music lovers to their feet Friday night (April 26, 2010) at the Hobby Center’s Zilkha Hall, in Houston for a benefit of the American Heart Association’s Power to End Stroke movement, an initiative that empowers people to reduce their risk for stroke and educates communities on the importance of its prevention.

As the spokespersons for Opus 118, Nuttin’ But Stringz has made it a priority to continue to give back and bring awareness to Opus 118’s fight to stay open. Beginning May 13th, at El Museo Del Barrio in New York City, NBS will host Opus 118’s Opening Honors Recital, which will kick off their concert campaign to raise $500,000 to keep the program running. Historically, Opus 118 has not had access to the resources that others may have had—“it has always been a fight for us to survive,” said Robert Gondola, Director of External Relations. “Opus 118 has seen a fair share of challenges through the years, but struggle parallels our humble beginnings. This year marks Opus 118’s 19th year and with the help of generous donors, will be in a position to sustain for many more years to come.”

“Our mission is far from accomplished,” explained Gondola. “There is so much left to do, and we need people to lend a hand to preserve the educational treasure that is Opus 118 in a neighborhood that needs it more than ever.”

The Honors Recital will begin at 6:00 pm with a cocktail hour, followed by a 7:00 pm performance. The newly renovated museum galleries will also be open exclusively for Opus 118 supporters. For more information on registration and tickets to the event contact Robert Gondola, Director of External Relations for Opus 118, Harlem School of Music at (212) 831- 4455 ext.105.

About Nuttin’ But Stringz

Teenage brothers, Tourie Escobar and Damien Escobar, who grew up in Queens, NY, are a true phenomenon of our musical age. Together, the Escobar brothers are Nuttin’ But Stringz (NBS). NBS combines the classical sound of the violin with Pop, R&B and Hip-hop. The result is a unique and uplifting fury of modern emotion and harmony, intensity and rhythm. Younger brother Damien says, “We play our violins so hard and with such force that we destroy a bow a show!” Tourie describes their urban rock compositions this way, “Our music is based on emotion not lyrics. We tell stories and the violin is our voice.”

At age 10 both were the youngest to attend the legendary Julliard School of Music in New York City where they were able to hone their craft and find their place. Their mission is to bridge the gap between Popular and Classical music. Nuttin’ But Stringz debut CD and most recent composition, Struggle from the Subway to the Charts by KOCH Entertainment and NBS Entertainment Inc. features their first single “Thunder,” showcasing their raw talent and digs into the soul. Other tracks include “Broken Sorrow” and “Dance with my Father.” For more information about NBS visit: http://www.Nuttinbutstringz.com and NBS Blog: http//nuttinbutstringz.wordpress.com.

[Editors: For media interviews or images of Nuttin’ But Stringz please contact Aida Mayo or George McQuade, MAYO Communications, Los Angeles, 818-340-5300 or Publicity@MayoCommunications.com.]