Berkeley teenager becomes Presidential Scholar recipient


"I was only 4-and-a-half at that time and I was too small to play the flute so I started on the recorder and they used to measure me to see if my fingers were big enough to play the flute and when I turned about 7-and-a-half I was finally big enough, so I started playing," said Elena Pinderhughes, a Presidential Scholar recipient.

She's also a gifted singer. Remember this name: Elena Pinderhughes. At 18 she's already considered a seasoned performer playing at jazz venues and at the White House for then-first lady Laura Bush when she was only 11.

Pinderhughes was back in Washington D.C. this time, she was awarded the Presidential Scholar award because not only is she talented, she's smart and contributes to her community.

"The whole experience, the medal, the music part that we get to perform, I think it will be really something that I will remember for a long time," said Pinderhughes.

Pinderhughes has been given a full scholarship to attend the Manhattan School of Music.

"It is such an emotional high for me. I have to contain myself. I'm generally the loudest cheerleader in the audience," said Daisy Newman, the head of the Young Musicians Program in Berkeley.

Pinderhughes has received most of her musical training form the Young Musicians Program. Newman says she looks for children in underserved communities with talent and no access to top-level training.

"We must help the weakest links in the chain to make the human chain work," said Newman.

Pinderhuges says she's now ready to dazzle audiences outside the Bay Area.

"Recording, touring, everything that comes along with being a successful musician in today's world," said Pinderhuges.

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