Zolimar Garcia: A Young Latina’s Musical Journey

Photos by Wezz De La Rosa / Hola America.

By Maya Chavez, Hola America News

Zolimar Garcia’s passion for music shines through in every note she plays. At just 16 years old, she has already accomplished more in her musical career than many achieve in a lifetime. Now, Garcia has her sights set on a new goal: a trip to Italy with the Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra (QCYSO) with other young talent under the direction of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra. The Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra is a full orchestra that premiers young advanced musicians of the Quad Cities. This opportunity, she says, is a dream come true and a crucial step toward her aspiration of becoming a professional musician.

“Music is my passion,” she shares. Born in the Quad Cities but with roots in Guerrero, Mexico, Garcia’s journey into music began at Glenview Middle School. Initially picking up the guitar in her school’s Mariachi band, she transitioned to the flute in sixth grade at the suggestion of her band teacher. This decision opened a world of possibilities as she has proudly played for six years so far.


Her dedication to her craft led her to the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra in seventh grade, where she was initially waitlisted but soon earned a spot. Her perseverance paid off, and she progressed to the Youth Symphony Orchestra (YSO) by her freshman year of high school. Garcia went on to mention her experience of auditioning not only for the Youth Symphony Orchestra, but also the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (YPO) which is another level in the youth ensemble lineup. “I spent a whole year playing with the YPO and after rehearsals I would stay and watch the higher orchestra, the Youth Symphony Orchestra rehearse. It helped me feel inspired and to audition for YSO,” Garcia notes as she pursues her third year with the Youth Symphony Orchestra. Her hard work and talent were also recognized when she made it to the All-State highest orchestra in 10th grade.

In 2025, the QCSO will offer its young members an extraordinary chance to perform in Venice, Florence, and Rome. For Garcia, this trip is more than just an exciting adventure; it’s an invaluable educational experience. “I’m so excited to play orchestral music at the beautiful venues of Italy, and to see and learn about the birthplace of some influential composers of classical music!” However, the cost of the trip is a significant hurdle for her family, prompting her to initiate a fundraiser with a goal of $5,000.

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Garcia’s musical journey is marked by the influence of key mentors. Her flute teacher, Lynne Stukart, and Ernesto Estigarribia, the former Youth Ensemble’s Music Director, have been pivotal in her development. She recalls Estigarribia coming to her middle school to talk about the Quad City Symphony Orchestra. “I saw Mr. Estigarribia, who is Latino like me, conduct the orchestra and I realized I could be a musician like him.” Garcia hopes that more Latinos will pursue the fine arts, underscoring the importance of representation and mentorship.


Her achievements speak volumes about her talent and dedication. From receiving The Director’s Award in middle school, to placing second in the QC Wind Ensemble’s Charles B. DCamp Young Performer’s Solo competition, Garcia has consistently excelled. She is the first chair flutist in the United Township High School Symphonic Band and has played in the pit orchestra for musicals, the Illinois Music Education Association, and “this year I made it to the highest orchestra, honors orchestra, in the state for ILMEA all-state as 4th chair flute,” states Garcia proudly as she continues showcasing her versatility and commitment to her craft. One of her most memorable performances was “Sinfonia India” by Mexican composer Carlos Chavez. “I absolutely love listening to romantic classical, honestly any orchestral piece and Broadway,” she says of her diverse musical interests.

The upcoming trip to Italy represents more than just a performance tour for Garcia. “As someone who is planning to be a professional musician in the future, this will be a wonderful experience to see what touring is like for a musician and of course learning about a different culture, visiting new places, and trying new cuisines will be an experience that will last a lifetime,” she enthuses. From exploring the Colosseum in Rome to the streets of Venice, every moment promises to be an inspiration.


As she embarks on this fundraising journey, Garcia offers a piece of advice to other aspiring young musicians: “Just do it, go for it.” Her story is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and the support of the Quad Cities that believes in the dreams of its young artists. By contributing to Garcia’s fundraiser, supporters are not just helping her achieve a dream; they are investing in the future of a talented musician who is poised to make significant contributions to the world of not just classical, but all genres of music. With her determination and the support of her community, Garcia is well on her way to making her mark on the global stage.

To assist Zolimar in reaching her dream you can make a donation here


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