A hardworking music student was surprised with her very own tuba during a recent school concert.
Tara Fayazi was performing a solo with the Tuba Euphonium Ensemble at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, on Monday when the conductor stopped her. He told her that something sounded wrong with the tuba she was playing. He started fiddling with the instrument, then called out for someone backstage to bring him a screwdriver.
The ruse worked. Instead of a screwdriver, a friend of Tara's brought out a tuba with a big red bow on it.
"It's really hard to describe, Fayazi said of the moment. "I had to stand up and say something. But between the tears and the overwhelming emotion, I've never felt so much pure happiness in my life because it's just unbelievable."
Fayazi then finished her solo.
"When she started to play after she calmed down, she played even better. And it was instantly noticeable. The whole room was vibrating because the horn is so much more resonant than the one she was playing," Don Harry, Eastman School of Music Associate Professor told WHEC.
Fayazi's friend Jackie Dreher had organized fundraising activities for the previous 11 months to replace Tara's old tuba, raising $4,700.
"It all started 11 months ago when Tara came to my room," Dreher told 13WHAM. "She had this dream that she had her own tuba and it had a beautiful sound. She was just crying in my room. It's just something that's so important and she couldn't do anything about it."
"She works really hard to afford school here and she's never been able to own her own instrument. She's an awesome player and a fantastic friend to everyone in the whole school," Dreher added.
When the family of Brent Miller, a recently deceased student, heard about the fundraising efforts, they offered their son's instrument, a Mirafone tuba still in perfect condition.
In exchange for the tuba, Dreher donated the money already raised to help children suffering from a-plastic anemia, the disease that took Miller's life.
"I'm just glad that I got to meet [Brett] and spend some time with him," Fayazi told 13WHAM. "Now I get to use his tuba. It's very emotional. We just made so many memories between baking cookies for a tuba recital and him driving me home for Thanksgiving break. Brett was such a special person."
"It's unreal. I've been carrying it everywhere I go. I don't want to put it down. I can't believe I have an instrument to call my own finally. It's just unreal," Fayazi told WHEC.