St. Adalbert 8th Grader Lets Musical Gift Guide His Future

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Catholic Education, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Media, Queens, NY

By Jessica Easthope

It’s not every day you hear rock-and-roll bursting out of the windows of a Catholic academy, but here at St. Adalbert in Elmhurst, eighth grader Andrew Nazario is in his element.

“If anything’s bothering me, I should go play some instruments,” Nazario said. “And it’s kind of like an escape where I get to calm down and relax a little bit and do what I love.”

This summer, Nazario’s task is to learn to read music. In September, he’ll be attending Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, ranked among the most prestigious in the country.

“I think I have to heighten my skills a little bit before I go to LaGuardia,” Nazario said. “The kids there, they’re probably been playing since they’re like two or three years old.”

It’s hard to believe, but these fingers touched a guitar for the first time just two years ago, and the drums only this past December.

“It wasn’t too hard,” Nazario said. “But when I really started practicing chords and scales and started learning about music theory, it became a little bit harder. But it’s still fairly easy for me.”

With every note, Nazario unlocked a God-given, but hidden, talent. His father Ricardo said music has changed the trajectory of his son’s life. It turns out Nazario was born to perform.

“We’re super proud of him,” Ricardo said. “My wife and I decided we’ll get him a used instrument first, and if he likes it and if he’s good at it, then we’ll progress from there.”

It wasn’t until Nazario learned to play a 19th-century Spanish folk song that Ricardo realized Nazario’s guitar playing might be more than a hobby.

“I knew at that point that things were a little bit different with Andrew,” Ricardo said. “We didn’t have to give him direction. We didn’t have to push him. He took it upon himself to learn on his own. And it’s his musical ear.”

The music is in his head, but it’s faith that guides his hands. He wears this St. Gregory medal every day.

“He’s a patron saint for musicians, singers, and teachers,” Nazario said. “He kind of guides me to what I want to do. And it gives me courage.”

“His faith is going to carry him. We know that he has hidden talents,” Ricardo said. “So what he’s done now, it’s amazing. But what’s to come is going to be even more powerful.”

Nazario’s headed to high school ready to work hard. The rest he can play by ear.