Volunteer Spotlight: Stefan Maryniak


stefanrocksBoston Landmarks Orchestraphoto credit: Michael Dwyer

Do you know Stefan Maryniak? While he is deeply beloved by many in our community, the true extent of his involvement could easily have slipped under the radar…until now!

Beginning with his first foray into the ZUMIX Songwriting & Performance programs as a volunteer with the Write Rhythm in Spring of 2016, Stefan brought a level of expertise that was almost as impressive as his level of modesty about it. Having a rich background of experiences in music composition, production, and performance, it was clear from the start that there would be ample opportunities for Stefan to support ZUMIX programs in a thoughtful, inventive way. After that semester, Stefan expressed an interest in working with advanced songwriters to hone their craft, and since became an integral part of with Wild Painting’s monumental Boston Landmarks Orchestra collaboration, guiding the group in songwriting and orchestration. As if all of that wasn’t enough, he even provided a database management consultation with our administration team, drawing from his professional experience in software development!
Here’s what Wild Painting’s Angelina Botticelli has to say about working with Stefan:
“I got the privilege to work very closely with Stefan when Wild Painting started writing for the Landmarks Orchestra collaboration. We started off as strangers and 6 months later, he’s not only super close to me, but to everyone in the band. He knows our inside jokes and he’s become someone we look to for insight and advice. He’s one of the nicest, coolest, most down to earth people I’ve ever gotten to work with/meet & his British accent makes it even better.” 
Stefan, from all of us here at ZUMIX, thank you for making a difference in our community through your love of music and support of talented young people. You totally rock!

Boston Landmarks Orchestra & ZUMIX: Anthems of the World

By, Saphire Broxton, Events Intern


On August 9th, ZUMIX youth band Wild Painting performed with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra at the Hatch Memorial Shell! ZUMIX has been partners with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra for the past two years, and this year the theme was Anthems of the World. The performance was one of six that night, along with performances from the Boston String Academy and music from composers such as Amy Beach.

Wild Painting’s “Views”, written and produced with the help of Gonzalo Grau specifically for this performance, is raw and emotional, and described as “an anthem of youth culture”. It features three main components that are meant to describe three aspects of life many youth today experience: pressure, passion/production, and activism. The transitions between the three parts were flawless; going from upbeat, to more emotional and intense, then back to upbeat. The lyrics were breathtaking and honest, featuring lines such as “the pressures getting around and pulling me down”, “music is flowing and growing seeds in the ground”, and “if we’re taught to be conscious consumers are knowledge and our loving is what brought us here”.


Not only were the lyrics amazing, but the combination of the band’s instruments and vocals with the orchestra’s instruments were so powerful and uninhibited that you could not help but be moved. The performance was astounding, and a perfect example of the greatness that can be created when youth are allowed to be creative and true to themselves. Wild Painting broke barriers with their performance, and there is no doubt that they, and other youth as well, will continue to do so in the very near future.


Listen to and download Wild Painting’s first album, Emotions, here: http://www.nimbitmusic.com/zumix/

Follow them on their social medias to keep up to date:

Instagram: wildpainting.band

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wildpainting.band/

Meet Our Youth Staff: Kaylene Sheran

By, Saphire Broxton, Events Intern


Kaylene Sheran

This summer, ZUMIX has a new group of youth staff members working here as part of the John Hancock MLK Summer Scholars Program! We caught up with them and asked some questions about their lives, their connections to ZUMIX, and their connections to music! This week, I interviewed Kaylene Sheran – here are her responses:

What’s your name and age and where do you live?

Kaylene Sheran, 17, East Boston

If you could describe ZUMIX in one word, what would it be?

I would describe ZUMIX as powerful because it gives ordinary people extraordinary power to be able to share their thoughts and opinions through the arts.

How has ZUMIX impacted your life?

ZUMIX has impacted my life bc I’ve never been able to play sports due to my health so ZUMIX has given me an outlet to be able to express myself in ways that other programs are unable to

Who would you recommend to visit and learn about ZUMIX and why?

I would have to say that it would be my 11th grade English teacher because she started off doing radio  and I feel like she would really enjoy the radio station here.

What is your most prominent memory at ZUMIX?

My most prominent memory was when I got to go with Madeleine to WBZ radio and be on air to talk about the DJ event that was happening at ZUMIX at the time.

What about music is most important to you?

Music gives people a chance to express themselves in a way that other things like spoken word may not be able to give to them. I feel that every song has the power to connect to people on a personal basis because there are songs about every possible feeling and every possible situation someone may be in.

If you were a genre, which one would you be?

I think that I would be alternative because it’s kind of a genre like no other genre and I like to be unique and share my stories because I feel that every person is different and that’s what’s so special about the world.

This Summer Speakers Series Event Was Boss!

By Kaylene Sheran, Pathways Intern

On August 3rd, ZUMIX Pathways hosted the third Summer Speaker Series event of 2017, “How To Be Your Own Boss”. We welcomed six panelists, each of which had experience in being their own boss and running their own business. During this event, the panelists answered many of the typical questions that people have when they want to start their own business, as well as questions about their products and what a typical day of work looks like for them.

One of the main topics that the panelists focused on during this event were the challenges that they have faced as entrepreneurs. Tivan Amour, the CEO of Fortified Bicycle, spoke about the financial challenges that he faced when wanting to start Fortified Bicycle, since he had lost a large amount of money from two previous businesses endeavours. Tivan was able to overcome this challenge by creating a Kickstarter campaign for his product, which enabled him to raise the adequate amount of money needed to start his business. Mark Ethier, the CEO of iZotope also faced challenges in his company when his company began developing photo editing software. When Mark began to realize that the photo editing software that his company was producing was not in popular demand, he decided that his company would just solely work on technology that would inspire musicians and audio technicians.

Many of the panelists agreed when speaking about the keys of success in a business. All of the panelists believed that luck was a main factor in their success, since it typically takes a lot for entrepreneurs to get people interested in their products. It also takes luck to find employees who share the same values for the company and have the same ability to get the customers interested in a product. Kannan Thiruvengadam, the founder of Eastie Farm, spoke about the difficulties of having the ability to convince the city of Boston that a farm would be the best use of the land. Kannan was able to overcome this challenge by convincing city officials to provide him with a temporary permit, which allowed people to realize how beneficial Eastie Farm was to the community.

Some of the other panelists who spoke at this event included: Marlene Del Rosario, founder of Marlene Jazz Ensemble and Home Chef worker, jazz and pop teacher, and musician; Joel Edinberg, physicist and founder of Somerville Symphony Orkestar; and George Howard, entrepreneur and Business Teacher at Berklee College of Music and Brown University.

The next (and last) Summer Speaker Series event will be on Thursday, August 24th, 2017 from 6-8pm. The topic of this event will be “How To Turn Your Passion Into A Full Time Job”. The Summer Speaker Series events are free, and open to people of all ages. This event will take place in the main lobby at ZUMIX. We hope that you will attend!


ZUMIX Radio Unpacks Gentrification

ZUMIX’s Radio Street Team set out to capture the sights and sounds of East Boston this spring.  What they saw and heard up close were tweeting birds, neighbors at the park, sidewalk conversations in Spanish and English and doors peeling with history.  Among these familiar senses were some new ones: cranes along the harbor, construction debris falling into dumpsters, evidence of the real estate development driving up rent prices in our neighborhood.
Our Radio Street Team wanted to tell this pressing story of gentrification from the perspective of young people, for whom the threat of housing displacement has big implications.  We wondered: How much do youth know about what is happening to housing nearby and how do they learn about it?  How are youth feeling about theses changes in our neighborhood?  What do young people think we can do to find solutions for equitable housing?  What makes a strong community for us?
To start to find these answers, the group conducted interviews with other youth organizations, including the East Boston Ecumenical Community Council’s Aspira program, Neighborhood of Affordable Housing and the East Boston Social Center.  We also heard fromCity Life/Vida Urbana, a housing justice organization that hosts weekly support meetings and free legal aid out of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church on Paris St. 
We are feeling evidence of displacement and also hope for a more just housing environment.  We’d love to hear how our story shifts your ideas about this issue, and invite you to learn more about the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act, an ordinance currently under review by Boston City Council that seeks to reduce no-fault evictions and improve city data on evictions. 
For more information on the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act: http://www.justcauseboston.org

Local artist Alisa Amador, records first EP in ZUMIX studio!

By Angelina Botticelli, 16, Events Intern 

At ZUMIX, local music is a key component to exposing our youth and the community with new up and coming artists. Local artist, Alisa Amador, who recently finished recording her first EP in the ZUMIX studio, found herself in this situation through a series of events that worked so perfectly together, you know it was meant to happen. In early 2016, a ZUMIX staff member stumbled across Amador at a local show at Inman Square’s Lilypad and immediately reached out to have her play an upcoming show at ZUMIX alongside The Ballroom Thieves and ZUMIX’s own Miyagi And The Kids.

a1574536891_16“Before finishing my set, I mentioned that I was crowdfunding to record my first EP. Once I got off-stage, [they] approached me about recording at ZUMIX. It is not very often that one gets asked to record at someone’s studio. Plus, I love ZUMIX for everything it does and stands for, and wanted to become a part of its legacy in some small way by recording there. I stopped looking for studios after that day, and am so glad that I did,” Amador said.

Recording in the ZUMIX studio is mainly dominated by our youth, through programs like Recording Lab, which teach young people ages 12-18 music technology skills. Projects like Amador’s are held after hours and are run by the same sound engineers that teach our students.

“We’d be in the studio until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer, but nobody wanted to stop. It was so much fun, we laughed a lot. I felt a tremendous amount of support and patience from everyone at ZUMIX as the EP slowly took form. It was a sad moment when we realized we were done. We were all like, ‘Is it really over? Can’t we just do this all the time?’” Amador said.

We asked Amador to explain what a favorite moment of hers was during the recording process.

Amador said, “After we finished laying down the final track, none of us wanted to leave. Joe Ziemba, the engineer, said, ‘come check this out,’ and brought us to the back stairwell with a guitar. The natural resonance and eco of the stairwell was just fantastic, and we jammed out there and improvised a song all together. It was a really sweet moment.”

Recording in the ZUMIX studio was just the first step in the next chapter of Amador’s music. It was a joy having her use the space and we can’t wait to see where she goes from here!

Stay Updated! 

The release of Amador’s EP has yet to be announced but you can stay in the know through her Facebook here and through her GoFundMe page here!

listen to previous singles Amador has released off her band camp here!


Staff Picks: Top Albums of 2016 Pt. II

This is Pt. II of this year end list. If you missed Pt. I – check it out here!


At ZUMIX, all of the staff have one thing in common: music moves us. In our space, all tastes are welcomed and that is truly something to be celebrated. As a student, you are encouraged to bring the music you love to the classroom whether that be a video game theme song, the latest from Bruno Mars, an old favorite from Nirvana, or anything in-between. As staff, we like to share whenever we get a chance. With this year coming to a close, we thought we’d take this opportunity to share with you.

Enjoy Part II of our picks from this year and perhaps find something new to love on both a national and local scale. Cheers to more great music in 2017!

A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service

Like every classic Tribe album, this one defies simple descriptions. Jazz feels funk with clever vocals coming from familiar voices. Old school nostalgic feel with modern day themes. Even the title states to sit back and relax, they got it. – Corey DePina, Staff

Ali McGuirk – Ali McGuirk

Ali McGuirk packs a punch! Her sound combines deep 60’s soul/funk with a decidedly modern twist, simultaneously catchy and deep. Off the charts, raw talent, Ali surrounds herself with the most soulful players in town. Her 4-song debut EP is one of my go-to favorites of 2016. – Madeleine Stecynski, Staff

Lady Lamb – Tender Warriors Club

I love the bare bones vocals and guitar. No autotune. A little rough around the edges, which I like because it adds to the emotional content of the songs. – Jenny Shulman

Bruno Mars – 24K Magic

No question. It’s everything I love and miss about 80’s and 90’s R&B in one album. – Brandon Allen, Staff

It’s hip, funk…retro…takes me back to my kid years …the album is ageless… – Gaby Perry, Board Member

Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial

Teens Of Denial is largely a collection of the quiet thoughts from the dark spaces within ourselves. Will Toledo puts the spotlight on them, narrates them, and creates dynamic musical beds for them to rest upon. Throughout this record you will be up, down, angry, and exhausted; sounds just about right for 2016. – Jeeyoon Kim, Staff

Aoife O’Donovan – In The Magic Hour

Aoife O’Donovan’s takeaways from her eclectic background in genres ranging from jazz, to bluegrass, to classical all show up with bells on in her second full-length solo release. With a collection of songs grappling with the tensions between wanderlust and loneliness, loss and connection, all elevated by her always buttery-warm vocals, this album has stayed on repeat from top to bottom all year long. – Anni Leff, Staff

Krill – Krill

A collection of songs Krill was putting together before their sudden break-up. The EP kicks off on an unexpected light and upbeat tone, a stark contrast from their previous record’s brooding mood, that makes listening to these songs post-break up so bittersweet. – Ramsel Gonzalez, Staff

Xenia Rubinos – Black Terry Cat

I’ve had this album on repeat for the past 72 hours. Xenia Rubinos draws on indie rock, hip-hop, jazz, Afro-Carribean beats and and funky rhythms to create her own inventive sound. Her lyrics are smart, funny, biting, and political, and she delivers them all with an incredible voice. – Sarah Saydun

Beyoncé – Lemonade

We tried to pick the under-appreciated and less well known albums of 2016, but we would be remiss to leave Lemonade off the list just because of its well-deserved hype. An admin-office favorite, Lemonade was exactly the pro-feminist, black lives-affirming, anthem-packed album we needed to lend some sparkle to a crazy year. – Anni Leff