Michael: the rockstar in the red t-shirt


“Do you want to join the pterodactyl club?” Michael exuberantly asks.

It’s fair to say that this was not the greeting I had expected as I wandered through NKU’s Strings Camp, aimlessly looking for a subject to interview.

From the moment I saw Michael, it was evident that his palpable enthusiasm was controlling the room.

“Hey, Mr. Pterodactyl! You want to be on camera?” I said. Next thing I knew, we were marching out to chat, as his excitement spewed like water and he ensured me he will be a star on camera. I expected nothing less.

“I play the cello! And I’ve been playing for three years straight!” Michael shouts with the confidence of a rockstar. He triumphantly held up three fingers to show the magnitude of this feat as he wears a silly yet confident smile.

Sizing up the stage, Michael began to speak. “My favorite part of playing is joining a lot of clubs,” he shared “Clubs like the Northern Kentucky Strings Project!”

As a camper at NKU Strings Camp, he spends three hours a day honing his craft for a week’s duration, leading up to the big performance. Each minute, he wore the same grin. “I really have a lot of friends,” Michael explained. “They all support me. It’s been the best thing to do in my life.”

As the extrovert continued to talk, his intense enthusiasm for pterodactyls matched his enthusiasm for music. He was truly a joy to meet. Michael spoke slowly, but with the upmost concern that what he was saying must be heard.

Michael wears swagger, confidence, and a red John Cena “U CAN’T C ME” t-shirt.

Michael’s mother admires his perseverance.

“Michael wasn’t supposed to do this, playing cello and doing interviews,” his mother shares as she becomes moved to tears. She expressed that she feels indebted to music for bestowing such confidence upon him.

Later, Dr. Holly Attar, master teacher and camp director, shared the effects of music on the students.

“Music brings empowerment,” Attar said. “Empowerment is definitely something that comes with music instruction. You learn to be strong and a little brave, too.”

Without even mentioning Michael, she described the confident cellist. Even at such a young age, Michael understands music’s impact perfectly.

“If you have any mistakes, don’t worry about it,” he shared as he shakes his hand, brushing off an imaginary error. The epitome of music’s impact, Michael returned to his cello; its size matching his ambitions. Learning and improving as he strummed the instrument only widened his grin.

“Don’t worry to share your own ways of how you can be,” he said as he grabbed his instrument, ready to tackle the next challenge.

Don’t stop playing, Michael.

Charlie Goldsmith