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HomeUncategorizedTeen shares her spirituality through music

Teen shares her spirituality through music

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Charissa Brooks of Spring Hill is a soft-spoken, deeply spiritual 15-year-old who–in her sweetness and modesty–would be the last to tell you that she also ranks as a multi-award-winning luminary in the Hernando arts community. 

A Hernando Youth Orchestra musician and concertmaster who plays three instruments, has earned first place honors in all-state competitions for all three instruments. The recent recipient of a $500 scholarship from the Hernando Jazz Society. An artist who has had oil paintings displayed at the Uptown Art Gallery in Brooksville, has sold some of her work, and in 2016 won first place in the Democracy Through Art competition given by the Supervisor of Elections Office. She is also a teacher who happily passes her skills onto other young people.

At the core of it all is a young lady who “loves music very much.” 

“I love all kinds of music,” she said. “And it’s a way to praise the Lord.”

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Francine Brooks, Charissa’s mom, noticed her daughter’s interest in music at age 4; she started playing at age 6, by way of a church program.

“You could see the interest from the beginning,” said Francine Brooks.

The violin was Charissa’s first instrument.

“I loved the musical challenge,” she said. “The left hand holds the violin, the right hand controls it.”

Charissa learned her love for piano in a Bible study, where her talents were inspirational indeed–inspiring her teacher to give her a piano on which she could hone her skills.

Also developing her skills through classes at Suzuki Strings in Brooksville, Charissa joined the Hernando Youth Orchestra in 2015. 

“She is a musical phenom,” said Ellen Paul, HYO Executive Director. “I’ve known her for almost 8 years as she is one of the Hernando Youth Orchestra’s stalwarts. In the eight years I have known her, Charissa has played the violin, the flute (because HYO needed a flute and she said she could fill the gap) and most recently she took up the piano.”

And as much as HYO appreciates Charissa’s talents, the Brooks family appreciates the Hernando Youth Orchestra.

“We’re very grateful that these people volunteer their time,” said Francine Brooks. “When you educate kids about the arts, you enrich their lives.”

Charissa agrees, as she herself now tutors other young people in the fine art of musicianship. 

“She now teaches music to other children,” said Francine Brooks. “She passes along her gift from God. The gift of music.”

The visual arts also enrich Charissa’s life, as she is the award-winning artist of bright, colorful artworks such as the Mayflower, Avocado, and Havana Banana.

Charissa has publicly shown her artworks,  Yet her latest public performance was musical in nature. 

In April, Charissa accepted a $500 scholarship award from the Hernando Jazz Society student musician scholarship program. A great lover of classical music, she performed a piano solo of Beethoven’s Adagio “Moonlight” Sonata for the society at the Wellington Club House in Spring Hill.  

“Charissa Brooks is one of the most talented individuals that we at the Hernando Jazz Society has had to evaluate.  Our evaluators, who have a wealth of musical experience, were so very pleased with the dedication and effort put forth by Charissa,” said Vince Ferraro, jazz society spokesperson. “We feel that one day, if she continues in chosen pursuit, will be a huge success.  We look forward to following Charissa as she embarks on her musical career and wish her all the luck and good wishes that we can bestow.”

Ellen Paul agrees.   

 “Her life’s goal is to become a concert pianist,” said Paul, “and she is well on her way.” 


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