MYSO: All in the Family

by Ron Oshima

Photo: Ron Oshima

David Ibitoye plays viola in Senior Symphony and is graduating after ten years with MYSO. He started as a third grader in Progressions when his teacher nominated him. His parents were so pleased with David’s MYSO experience that they quickly signed up David’s older sister, who played the violin.

He goes by David, but his formal first name is Olowaseleriayo, a Yoruba name from Nigeria, where both his parents are from. David said he has seven middle names, of which only one of them is American. His dad, Femi, moved to Milwaukee because he had an uncle who lived here at that time. Femi is currently one of the pastors at Eastbrook Church in Milwaukee.

Ten years demonstrates remarkable discipline and commitment to music and MYSO. David really enjoyed his beginning and ending years at MYSO, but there was a period in the middle (eighth and ninth grade) when he started to struggle as outside sports activities beckoned. His private viola teacher, Marvin Suson, a MYSO alum, drilled into him that if he wanted to improve, he had to practice. He pushed him to practice more during that middle period. David credits Mr. Suson for keeping him in MYSO, motivating him, and nudging him to improve.

Looking back on his time at MYSO, David says that he enjoys making people happy through playing music, and he enjoys the members of his viola section. When the section works hard to nail down a piece, it motivates him to work just as hard. He said, “you don’t want to let your section down.”

Femi appreciates what MYSO has done for his son. He said, “MYSO instilled discipline in him. It helped him be a better team player. I think David is learning the value of hard work. The rehearsals can be long, and the private lessons demanding, but the result is this beautiful, captivating music that MYSO students make when they come together. I also believe he is learning the importance of volunteering and giving back to the community.”

David will be joining his sister Lizzy at Marquette University in the fall, where he plans to major in Public Relations. Lizzy is currently on a pre-med track there. May the lessons David learned at MYSO about hard work and collaboration serve him well in his next stage of his life.

Give more young musicians like David opportunities to experience the beauty and joy of music! Give at

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