Music by ‘Aaron & Friends’  

arts & entertainment

A composer’s music only comes to life when it is written down and performed. From there, the road to success requires diligence, even for the most talented. Johann Sebastian Bach famously said, “Ceaseless work, analysis, reflection, writing much, endless self-correction, that is my secret.” Local audiences will have the chance to hear the music of three young composers and their teacher during a performance of Aaron & Friends on Sunday, April 23. The special 3:00 PM concert will take place at Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 2365 Pine Avenue in Vero Beach. On the program is chamber music penned by Space Coast Symphony Orchestra Conductor and Artistic Director Aaron Collins, along with work by students Lucas Cornejo, Guyfrancis Charleston, and Payton Brown. A chamber orchestra of 20+ musicians from the Space Coast Symphony and past guest artists will highlight Collins’ early compositions, along with works from the talented trio of students. Cornejo and Charleston are both Melbourne High School students, while Payton Brown is now a sophomore at the prestigious Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in New York. $30 tickets are available through the orchestra website or at Marine Bank & Trust, beachside and mainland branches. Tickets at the door are $35. Concertgoers aged 18 and under or with a college ID are admitted free to every SCSO concert. For more information about Aaron & Friends, call toll free to 855-252-7276 or visit   

Space Coast Symphony Orchestra Conductor and Artistic Director, Aaron T. Collins, explains the impetus behind Aaron & Friends, which includes many of the musicians in the SCSO and guest artists featured in the past.

“I wanted to put together a program that would highlight some of my outstanding young students and their incredible music,” said Collins. “In addition, patrons have expressed great interest in hearing music I have written. Even though I stopped writing music when I began conducting, I thought it would be fun to dust off some works I wrote in high school and college,” adding, “Overall, the concert will be intimate, yet exciting.”

Concertgoers aged 18 and under or with a college ID are admitted free to every SCSO concert. For more information about the Space Coast Symphony 2022-23 season or the Symphony for Everyone ticket program, visit or call toll-free (855) 252-7276.


Payton Brown is a Composition Major at the Eastman School of Music, where he studies under David Liptak. Payton has written a multitude of compositions, including a piano solo, a string quartet, and a trio for clarinet, bassoon and piano, all of which were premiered at the Eastman School of Music; a full orchestra piece, which was premiered by the Melbourne Community Orchestra; a woodwind quintet, which was premiered by the Space Coast Symphony Youth Orchestra; and a concert band piece, which was premiered at Satellite High School.   In addition to composition, Payton is an Oboe Performance major at the Eastman School of Music, where he studies under Richard Killmer. He is currently Rotating Principal Oboe with the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra and Eastman Wind Orchestra. Prior to attending Eastman, Payton resided in Satellite Beach, Florida, where he studied under Eric Ohlsson, Jamie Roberts, and Robert Sheena. During that time, he volunteered with the Melbourne Community Orchestra and the MusicMDs program, performing for critical care patients in hospitals to assist in their recovery. Payton has performed with the Odessa National Ballet Company in the professional productions of Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, and was a guest soloist with the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra, where he played Marcello’s Concerto in C Minor. Payton has participated in numerous festivals, including Maine Chamber Music Seminar, Miami Music Festival, Berlin Opera Academy, Hidden Valley Music Seminar English Horn Masterclass with Robert Walters, NAfME All-National Orchestra, Florida All-State Orchestra, Curtis Summerfest, FSU Chamber Winds Seminar, USF Festival of Winds, and the Stetson Double Reed Workshop, where he was awarded the National Bandmaster Association’s Award for Musicianship. He is also a mathematics major at the University of Rochester.  Payton credits his success to the many great music teachers in Brevard County. Specifically, Mark Nelson was instrumental in his compositional development through early and consistent exposure to music theory. In addition, Carey Moorman was crucial in his development as a musician, serving as a role model through his rigorous attention to detail, as well as introducing Payton to chamber music.

Composition students Guyfrancis Charleston, Payton Brown and Lucas Cornejo with Aaron Collins

Lucas Cornejo is a junior at Melbourne High School. His passion for music began at age 2 when he used to entertain his family by jamming out with Red Hot Chili peppers on his miniature guitar. Guitar lessons began in earnest when Lucas was 8, and a short time after, he began tinkering on a baby grand piano his mom had found on Facebook Marketplace. He would improvise for hours at a time, and discovered he could teach himself complex pieces by ear. During the Covid-19 quarantine, his mom, a classically trained violist, noticed the potential in his improvisations and bought him a music composition software, with which he would write many pieces.  Under the guidance of Aaron Collins, three of Lucas’s pieces won him a spot at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute program for music composition during the summer of 2022. Lucas currently plays violin in the Melbourne High School orchestra program and has ambitions to attend Florida State University to major in music composition, with longer term goals of writing music for film. He draws inspiration from John Powell, Hans Zimmer, Frédéric Chopin, Gustav Holst, and J.S. Bach.

Guyfrancis Charleston is a freshman currently attending Melbourne High School. Charleston started playing violin in the sixth grade and loved playing it ever since. While in seventh grade, his orchestra director had her students do an assignment writing a short piece of music. He fell in love with composition immediately after.  He loves to create music and is thrilled when listeners are moved by his music. Charleston spends much of his time listening to classical music, trying to gain inspiration from the masters.  He is also an accomplished violinist, receiving several music awards in middle school and has been selected to perform with the All-County Orchestra the past two years. He also performs in the top orchestra at his school, something reserved for upperclassmen.  Aside from being a great student with a 3.5 GPA, attending honors classes, he plays football, participates in throwing events in track & field, and is a part of the AFJROTC.

Comment - Please use your first and last name. Comments of up to 350 words are welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s