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Sound of a violin exalts program

Playing the violin wasn't Chantel Rowe's first choice when she began at the Buffalo Academy for Visual & Performing Arts.

"I auditioned for piano, but it didn't work out that year," said the 13-year-old eighth-grader.

Chantel, who started playing the violin in the fifth grade, will perform a violin solo Sunday during the African American Cultural Center's second Mother Daughter Sister Friend Tea Social. Chantel is a member of the center's Positive Productive Sisters self-mentoring program, which hosts the Tea Social.

The event, to be held in the center at 350 Masten Ave., runs from 2 to 4 p.m. Sal Andolina and Friends of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Theresa Humes Jordan of Buffalo Opera Unlimited will also give classical music performances.

Chantel said she expects to perform for about 10 minutes, possibly playing "Soldier's Joy." But nerves won't get the better of Chantel, who performed recently in Shea's Performing Arts Center.

"I was kind of nervous before, but I was OK," she said about performing in Shea's. "And there's going to be less people at the Tea [Social], and there were a lot of people at Shea's."

Still, both Steven McMillion Jr., the center's director of educational directives, and Tammy Gaines, administrative assistant, expect a better turnout this year than the one at the first Tea Social last year.

"It rained last year," McMillion said. "So the weather played a big part in it. This year, the girls have really been pushing it and doing a lot of hand-to-hand promoting where they've handed out flyers to some of their parents and some of the students as opposed to the agency just doing all the work. The girls have been doing a lot of footwork for the program this year."

Proceeds support the center's Educational Directives After School Program, which provides homework help and life skills from September to June to 40 Buffalo students ages 5 to 18.

Proceeds from the Tea Social will help with transportation costs for field trips, as well as educational supplies, McMillion said.

Sunday won't be the last time a violin will be heard at the center.

One of the many activities at the center's Jumpin' Jambalaya Summer Day Camp is violin lessons for 6- to 8-year-olds every Wednesday. The camp, scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays, gets under way next Monday and continues through Aug. 24.

The donation for the Tea Social is $30 for individuals, $55 for couples, $15 for students 18 and younger, and $100 for a table of four.

Tickets are available at the center, from members of the Tea Social Planning Committee and online at