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Zuri Elise Appleby, 16, a senior at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts -- the city's own "Fame" school -- has been accepted to be a part of the military's highly competitive U.S. Marine Corps Band.

When she turns 17 later in the year, she'll officially be a Marine recruit.

You may have seen Zuri perform in the Rick James Memorial Concert at Martin Luther King Park not long ago, playing bass guitar.

Zuri, of Buffalo, is committed to music because, she says, she "loves it." With musical parents, Zuri has been around music her entire life, and she loves the way she feels when she makes an audience happy.

Last year she sang with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra -- one of her many credits. She's also performed with the Arts Academy Jazz Project.

And she's been a member of the St. Mary of Sorrows Church choir for the past 14 years.

"I love my music because it's a way of expressing my feelings to others, and a way to communicate to others even if you don't speak the same language," she says. "Music is understood by everyone, regardless of what country you were born in. It's the one thing that will definitely put a smile on your face if you're sad, or keep you company when you are lonely, or bring people together for any occasion."

Know a young outstanding Western New Yorker? Tell us about your nomination, including age and address, for possible publication in ClassActs. Pictures cannot be returned. Write to: Louise Continelli, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240, or e-mail