Sisters team up to make beautiful music
Violin is their instrument of choice
The Antelope Valley is filled with talent, and some of this can sometimes go unnoticed, because it’s not necessarily in a category that is hot or popular. Violin players and sisters Rosalyn, 19, and Nia, 13, Darbeau are a perfect example of that.
Rosalyn has been active in music since her adolescent years.
“I’ve been playing music for about 12 years,” Rosalyn said. “I used to play the piano, but I wanted to try something new, so I chose the violin and I stuck to it.”
Rosalyn also said she got “tired of the piano” and “chose to play the violin.” It was nine years ago that she first picked up the four-stringed instrument.
“I think it’s a unique instrument, and I really like it; I wanted to see how far I could get,” Rosalyn said.
And she’s gone far.
A recent Paraclete High School graduate, she now attends California State University, Northridge (CSUN), where she studies music. As a matter of fact, she was just accepted into the CSUN music program.
“I’m going to be a part of the CSUN orchestra,” Rosalyn said ecstatically.
She devotes about three hours a day to her music, including two hours specifically toward the violin.
Baby sister Nia, has been playing the violin since she was seven, and like Rosalyn said she is devoted to her music. But unlike her older sister, she doesn’t have a set schedule or designated amount of time spent on studying her art.
“It depends on how long my practices take,” Nia said about how much time she spends on her music.
Nia, a Hillview Middle School student, cites her older sister as the most influential person, musically, in her life.
“I was inspired,” Nia says “by my sister. I followed in my sister’s footsteps.”
The Darbeau sisters practice at the Palmdale Playhouse, where they also do live performances. Nia participates in youth and community practices to better her skills. One of the biggest obstacles she has had to overcome is playing individually instead of as part of a duet or group.
“The hardest thing about music is the tryout and to play individually,” Nia said. “It’s only you playing and maybe with a piano accompanying you …”
Both the girls, who say they are B-average students, can play anything from classical to pop music.
Rosalyn’s favorite classical piece is called “Meditation” which is performed by Thais, and Nia’s is “The Bee.”
Nia wants to become a professional musician and become famous one day, while Rosalyn wants to be a solo performer, specifically in theaters.
The musical duo are the only children of their father Glen, who is vice principal at Pete Knight High School, and their mother Starletta, who is principal of California City Middle School. They described themselves as being a tight-knit family.
“They’re very supportive, and they push me to reach the highest potential,” Nia said.
Palmdale Playhouse musical instructor Patricia Graham recalls her first encounter with the Darbeau girls.
“OMG I loved them,” Patricia said enthusiastically. “Rosalyn was like this little girl and Nia was this tiny little thing, and I just fell in love with them.”
Graham has been teaching music for 25 years, 16 of them have been with the playhouse, and seven of them with Rosalyn and Nia.
“They work really hard, and every week I get them to work on certain things and they come back and they have it down,” Graham said. “Plus they just have a talent for music; some people are born with it and some people aren’t, and they were definitely born with it.”
Rosalyn truly devours and appreciates the time and effort spent with Graham. She said the hard work and late night practices have proven to be worth it and cites her acceptance into the CSUN orchestra as an example.
“We worked really, really hard last year, because she (Rosalyn) wanted to become a performance major at CSUN,” Graham said. “That was a huge deal that we overcame—earning the one spot open in the CSUN music program.”
“My teacher (Graham) influences me because she’s really successful in what she does and she’s really hardworking,” said Rosalyn.
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