Student Assistance

The David Weiss Scholars of our Neighborhood Orchestra

The David Weiss Scholars Program was established to honor the legacy of David Weiss, a world-renowned oboist and 30-year member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. David was also a respected educator, an acclaimed photographer, master of the musical saw, and a dedicated surfer. David’s involvement with YMF over the years has left an indelible mark on our organization.

One of the greatest barriers to musical achievement is the high cost of private lessons and access to musical instruments. David Weiss Scholars are provided the use of cost-free instruments and supplies, as well as concentrated, small-group instruction on a weekly basis.

Weiss Scholars also perform at various YMF functions and public recitals.

Special thanks to these donors for their support of Community Music Academy participants!

Mrs. Marcia Weiss

Malcolm and Ildiko McNab

The Los Angeles UCLA Alumni Mu Phi Epsilon Chapter

The Hungry for Music Foundation

Barbara Abell – in honor of David L. Abell

Lisette Ackerberg – in honor of Norman Ackerberg

Lauren LeRoy, in honor of Virginia LeRoy

Rebecca Biderman

Richard Kaufman – in honor of Margye Kaufman

Stella Jeong

William Renton

Lucas Richman

Mrs. Paul Van Cleef

Allan Vogel



Rafael Méndez Scholarships

The Rafael Méndez Scholarships were established at YMF by legendary trumpet player Malcolm McNab to honor his mentor and friend Rafael Méndez. Students between the ages of 8 to 17 who participate in Neighborhood Orchestra are eligible to apply for one of three Méndez scholarships offered each year. These scholarships are intended for students who exhibit a passion for music and who have demonstrated consistent participation and dedication to their instruments. Scholarship recipients receive cost-free, weekly private instruction and/or access to professional quality instruments.

2020 Recipients

Aline Mendoza harp
Aline Mendoza is in the 6th Grade and has been playing harp for two years under the guidance of YMF Teaching Artist, Ms. Liza Wallace. She first joined the Community Music Academy (CMA) as a violin student where she performed with the Neighborhood Orchestra.

Favorite Moment in CMA: Playing live concerts
Musical Influence: My sister; she was the first person that wanted to play, so I started taking classes like her
Music Goals: Learn to play many songs and to play the harp fast and well
Future academic goals: To be a veterinarian and help animals in need and to graduate college as a good student
If I was a superhero my superpower would be: Transporting to many places

Karla Mendoza violin
Karla Mendoza is in the 11th Grade and has been playing violin for 8 years and harp for 1 year. She was the 2018 Rafael Méndez Scholarship recipient, a mentee of YMF Teaching Artist, Caroline Campos, and a student leader in the Neighborhood Orchestra.

Favorite Moment in CMA: The 2020 Fall semester talent show. It was a lovely show that allowed every student to present something they had been working on through these times.
Musical Influence: I didn’t have anyone involved in music prior to joining YMF, so I would say that my first musical influence was my first violin teacher, Ms. Kate.
Music Goals: I hope to keep playing the violin as I go on in life and keep having the ability to play in my adult life. I also want to pick up more instruments to expand my knowledge in music and music culture. I’m still a bit unsure about my college goals but will probably take “music” as a minor.
Future academic goals: As a junior in high school, I hope to get into a university/college of my preference and get a degree in the career I am soon to choose. (4 years or more)
If I was a superhero my superpower would be: Speed. With this I could travel anywhere, have a better chance of saving peoples lives, and could travel into the future or past.

Sienna Cercado harp
Sienna Cercado is in the 6th Grade and has been playing harp for a little over a year. She joined the Community Music Academy as a student in the harp ensemble and as a cellist.

Favorite Moment in CMA: Performing with the harp ensemble at the Lawrence N. Field dedication event
Musical Influence: My teachers, Dorothy Ashby (harpist), Two Cellos, The Breaking Winds, Santana.
Music Goals: Learn all clefs, read and play them fluently, improve my technique, and expand the style of music I play
Future academic goals: Complete University with two majors
If I was a superhero my superpower would be: Invisibility and teleportation