Founder & Executive Director
Esandi Perera is a passionate musician who has been truly impacted by the power of music. Now a rising junior, she has been playing music since she was in the 1st grade. Throughout the years, she has learned how to play the violin, viola, and piano as well as played at the United Nations and Carnegie hall multiple times. Now attending the Waldorf School of Garden City, Esandi was involved in the school’s eco-orchestra, an orchestra where she learned to make music out of sustainable objects. Esandi then started on her mission to make music accessible for all. She firmly believes that music has always been able to unite people as well as empower. Many students in third world countries do not have the opportunities to study music. Hence, Esandi plans to provide schools with instruments and will also stay at the school with a group of mentors to teach students the basics of music. She also plans to teach schools how to create sustainable instruments for themselves with vegetables as well as items that can be found littered on the beach. Esandi strives to share the power of music that every student deserves.
Isabella Panag is a sophomore at Mount Sinai High School. She is an advanced singer and pianist. Isabella has won multiple awards for her musical abilities, some of which include the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition. She is a member of the Tri-M Music Honors Society at her school and continues to share her passion for music.
Dr. Dale Stuckenbruck
Senior Musical Advisor
Grammy-nominated artist, is immersed in the diverse musical life in New York as a soloist, concertmaster, chamber musician and teacher. His mentor of three decades was the great violinist Erick Friedman, with whom he has appeared as soloist in recording and in chamber music. He has performed as violin/saw soloist with the New York Philharmonic, New Century Chamber Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Philharmonia Virtuosi, New York Virtuosi, New York String Ensemble, Tchaikovsky Chamber, Orchestra, Taipei City Symphony Orchestra, Music at St. Ignatius, Queens Symphony, Masterworks, and the Long Island Philharmonic. He recorded the “Concerto for Violin and String Choir” for Opus One by Louis Pelosi, with Erick Friedman on Kultur Video (music of Fritz Kreisler), and for countless commercial recordings and films.
Public Relations Team
Public Relations Director
Andy is currently a junior attending Jericho High School. Having bounced back and forth between the U.S and China as a kid, Andy is passionate about learning the stories and backgrounds of whoever he meets. In his free time, you’ll find him reading whatever fantasy book he lays his hands on, catching the latest movie with his friends, or in a deep slumber. He especially enjoys fulfilling his passions in writing and music. To him, any skills or hobbies are most enjoyable when he is able to utilize them to spread his passion and joy to others. In a loving family of five, Andy is the victim to two older brothers
Tina is a rising junior from Herricks High School who has been involved in music ever since she was 3 years old. Tina has been in different orchestras and chamber ensembles ever since she was 6 years old, playing in esteemed halls like Lincoln Center and different chamber festivals. She has also played with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra. From playing the piano to playing the violin, she hopes for others to have the same opportunity and joy that she has whenever she plays her instruments. Tina is so excited to be part of Strings4Smiles to help this dream come true.
Holly is an incoming junior at the Waldorf School of Garden City. She has always had a love of music starting at the early age of 5 when she started her first singing and piano lessons. Singing became her main focus as she grew older and she divulged herself in several extracurriculars and in school choruses such as MYO (Metropolitan Youth Orchestra) and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. After reaching high school and facing many difficulties she realized the power that music held and how much it helped her get through many hard times. Now as she strives to be a singer and furthers her music education with the Manhattan School of Music’s pre-college program, she also feels grief for those who don’t necessarily have the chance to learn and experience the wonders of music. This is why she joined the Strings4Smiles team and strives towards providing a musical education for the children who aren’t able to receive it already.
Chloë Kritas is a ninth grade student at the Waldorf school of garden city. In her years at Waldorf she has learned the cello and the flute which she has been playing for the past 6 years. Chloe was a participant in the LIU chamber music festival playing at the Tillus Center and a member of her schools orchestra. She would like to help other young boys and girls get the same chances to learn an instrument.
I am a senior from Burnaby Central Secondary School in BC Canada. Though I didn't grow up taking lessons and learning to play instruments, I've spent the past 5 years of high school surrounding myself with nothing but music. I've been in 2 chamber choirs and I am currently the alto section leader of a 140 voice choir. I have also been a member of the BCMEA honour choir for 2 years and have been mentored by the amazing Elektra Women's Choir. Seeing how much of an impact music has had on my life the past 5 years, I joined Strings4smiles because I genuinely believe that music shouldn't be a privilege but an opportunity for people to connect with others. I am also a very dedicated cat mom.
Kianna Bolante is a senior from Washington State who has been passionate about music for the past ten years. She is a classically trained pianist that has been an active performer up to her junior year of high school. Throughout her music journey, she has had the opportunity to learn about different composers, obtain advice from various instructors, and gain award recognition within her music association. Music has given her the skills needed to grow as a leader, and she wishes to provide other children with the same opportunity to improve their own leadership through music. She has developed her web design skills through her success in state competitions, CTE classes, and professional mentorship. In her free time, Kianna loves to read, bake, and be involved in her community through volunteering at numerous events.
Sabrina Duan is a student at Mount Sinai High School with a passion for music. She has played piano for 8 years and is also a part of multiple choirs in her high school. She loves to learn new instruments and has a concerning obsession with Chopin’s Etude Op. 10 No. 4.
Deep Patel is a junior at Mount Sinai High school and has always been interested by music. Since he was a kid he has always been attracted to making music, from banging on his first drum set to strumming the strings on a Ukulele. He’s been playing the cello for 8 years and in his free time enjoys playing around with other instruments. He has participated in many all-county orchestras where he has been section leader too. Deep is very active with music and is excited to be helping kids understand the power of music.
Vivienne is a rising junior at Syosset High School who is striving to help underprivileged children receive a music education. As the director of logistics, she is in charge of obtaining the instruments to provide the students with, arranging the schedule, as well as contacting schools for the program. Beginning her studies in the violin since first grade, Vivienne has gained a lot of skills as a musician- from her weekly lessons to playing in Lincoln Center with her orchestra. She has understood from an early age how crucial having a music education is. Not only has Vivienne found the opportunity to form new friendships by connecting with others through music, but she also realized that whenever she was stressed, playing the violin could almost always help her. Thus, Vivienne joined Strings4Smiles to support and make an impact about a cause that she cared strongly about. Vivienne hopes to continue to deepen her studies in violin and progress further.
Alyssa Wong a high school student in Hong Kong who plays piano (sometimes) and is currently working on her ARSM Diploma. She has participated in school choir and class performances of varying quality. She is also a part-time professional procrastinator. Fun fact: she can bend her left thumb 90 degrees! Find her on Instagram as @papisadelapong.
Matthew is a sophomore at Mount Sinai High School that is very enthusiastic about music and the arts. Both in and out of school, he is passionate to learn and try new things as he has searched many areas pertaining to music and the arts. During his free time, he likes to work on his personal music skills and also helping others with their music skill. Matthew has been playing violin for over 8 years and has also played many other instruments. He has led many chamber groups and been concertmaster multiple times in his school orchestra. He is excited for this upcoming year of helping to show kids the power and influence music has in someone’s entire life.
Music Education Director
Chloe Chu is currently a Senior at Herricks High School. Her main instruments are the violin and piano. She is a member of the MYO Nassau Principal Orchestra as well at her school's chamber orchestra. She has always loved music and hopes to spread the joy that music brings me to others through Strings4Smiles. She will be attending Cornell University in the Fall.
Christina Morris is currently a fourth year undergraduate student studying Music Performance on String Bass, Musical Studies with a concentration in Music Theory, and Musical Theatre at the Crane School of Music. She first began studying conducting her senior year of high school under Maestro Harry Marenstein the conductor of the Gemini Youth Symphony Orchestra. After her freshman year of college she studied conducting under Maestro Micheal Tilson Thomas as a conducting apprentice of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. The following summer Christina conducted at the Miami Music Festival as a participant of their Conducting Institute. Christina has also recently been accepted to the Tanglewood Music Festival as a participant of their Conducting Seminar and will attend the program in 2021. She has also been appointed as Assistant Conductor and Bassist of PROTESTRA. As a young aspiring orchestral conductor and musician, Christina Morris will do everything to pursue her missions and goal of diversifying and evolving the environment of classical music.
Music Curriculum Coordinator
Penelope Shvarts is an incoming sophomore at Brooklyn Technical High School who aims to use her knowledge in music to teach and inspire children in NYC. She has been playing classical and flamenco guitar since she was five years old, also learning viola at age 11. Penelope has participated in and won several competitions, as well as performed in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. She has played as a solo artist and as a member of an orchestra. In addition to working with Strings 4 Smiles, Penelope also co-founded the organization Bridging Generations, where she and other diverse artists entertain seniors at care facilities through music. She believes that music plays a vital role in a child’s upbringing, since it foresters creativity and allows for an emotional outlet.
Music Education Team
Navod Jayawardhane is a freshmen at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In first grade, he started playing the piano and picked up the cello in third grade. For the past ten years, Navod has been pursuing the cello, taking part in school orchestras, leading small orchestras, and performing in the Principle Orchestra at the Norwalk Youth Symphony. Navod also pursues cello privately and performs in school musicals. Navod studies electrical and computer engineering, a passion he had since sixth grade, while continuing the cello in the background. He was the co-captain of his local high school robotics team and has created many projects related to engineering for community service. In the background, Navod also does taekwondo and leads a chemistry club at his high school to help educate elementary students about science and chemistry. Through Strings4Smiles, Navod would like to help underprivileged students receive music education to help give back to the community,