It was time. As Dr. and Mrs. Nick Coppola sat watching the soloists perform at the Gifford Youth Orchestra’s gala fundraiser back in March, they realized it was time to pass on the musical instrument their son, Cole, had played when he was younger. Cole, just 16, had died as a result of injuries suffered after being hit by a car while riding his bike. The Coppolas told GYO Founder, Dr. Crystal Bujol, of their plan just before posing with her at this event, creating big smiles!
But the pandemic intervened and it was only this month that Dr. Coppola was able to present the cello, in perfect condition, to his longtime friend and GYO board member, Wilfred Hart.
The Coppolas had supported the GYO for more than a decade, attending concerts, getting to know teachers and staff and generally sharing the pride that all parents feel when children — no matter whose — demonstrate the progress that hard work produces. They knew where Cole’s cello would find the right kind of home.
“Cole attended middle school at Master’s Academy, which had a particularly strong music pro- gram,” Dr. Coppola said. That’s where he decided to start cello lessons, perhaps inspired by his admiration for the celebrated American cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who had begun his performing career at the age of four and a half.
Dr. Coppola, however, turned to the GYO not solely out of generosity. He has created a foundation to honor his son’s memory called “Live Like Cole.” Its mission is, among other things, to foster self-worth in children. That dovetails perfectly with the goals of the Gifford Youth Orchestra, which promotes — among many other things — building self-respect, self-confidence and dignity, all of which are contained in self-worth.
Truly, Cole’s cello has found its home with the Gifford Youth Orchestra. For more information about the GYO, visit www.gyotigers.org