When Cole Warren entered kindergarten, his teachers knew he had some learning differences, and it wasn’t long before an RISD specialist saw the common signs and diagnosed Cole with autism.
Six years later, Cole is in fifth grade and his mom, Erika Warren, knows a lot more about living with autism and succeeding socially and emotionally.
For two years Cole begged his mom to start a band for him. As a former music teacher this was right up
Since May, Cole and his band, the MPE Jersey Boys, have performed at several venues where Cole and his friends entertain the audiences.
Along with Cole, the four other band members are Gabe Rosen, Archer Fuqua, Tyler Etri, and Luke Martin.
All of the boys attend Merriman Park Elementary, hence the MPE Jersey Boys, and students and staff alike have been supportive of Cole since the very beginning.
Cole is in special education but is mainstreamed into the regular classroom every day, and his friends are a huge support system for him.
He and his best friend, Gabe, hang out a lot. “He’s the best buddy a guy could have,” says Gabe.
Cole and Gabe, who plays the keyboard for the band, just performed at the Lake Highlands Oktoberfest and did a phenomenal job.
“He is quite the natural on stage, and I can say I am one very proud mom,” says Erika.
“Cole loves the musical, Jersey Boys, and has over 100 songs memorized. You could say Cole is a bit of a music lover like me!”
The creation of the MPE Jersey Boys has been nothing short of a miracle for Cole. He now initiates conversation with his mom, his friends, and his dad, Charlie.
“We have seen Cole thrive in life and conquer so many things that we were told he would never do,” Erika explains.
“I believe he is thriving simply casino spiele because he has wonderful friends who are very supportive of him and love him.”
So keep your ears and eyes open for the next MPE Jersey Boy performance, so you too can witness the power of music and friends together.
Cole will be performing in San Antonio on Tuesday, April 2nd in “A Celebration of World Autism Awareness Day” in front of the Alamo.
I have known Darien Williams for nearly four years when his mother contacted us for piano lessons shortly after the family moved to San Antonio, TX from Chicago, IL.
During my 50 year career as a specialist in Adaptive Music Education, I have taught many blind students, many students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, many with cognitive challenges, and quite a number who face complex medical issues. Darien Williams lives with not one or two of these challenges, but all four every day of his life! And yet, he has a sparkling, positive attitude that truly compliments his outstanding musical gifts. Darien has participated in many civic and community service performances through our non-profit agency since beginning his formal studies and has accomplished more musically during this time than most students who are typically developing without any special challenges.
In the role of Darien’s private teacher, I have been privileged not only to guide his amazing talent, but also watch him become a leader in the Alamo Angels Accordion Orchestra, where he plays the tenor part. Darien consistently shows the other members of the group the importance of listening skills and being a “team player.”
Each year, he has also participated in solo competitions & festivals through the Texas Federated Music Clubs and the American Accordionists’ Association. It is most significant that the adjudication guidelines for these events are based solely on the demonstrated musicianship skills with no allowance or special consideration for any handicapping condition. In the 5 festivals he has entered with typically developing peers, Darien has received all excellent, superior and 1st place ratings!
Mary Kathryn Archuleta
Artistic/Executive Director, DFTM
Private Teacher of Darien Williams
Diane Farias - My Dream...
As an individual challenged with Asperger's Syndrome, and other medical disabilities, I had always dreamed of playing the piano, but until I found Dreams Fulfilled Through Music, I had thought it was only a dream.
During the past four years that dream has become reality. Previous attempts had resulted in stress, anxiety and the struggle never seemed to be quite worth all the effort. I had even "given up" for over 25 years! But now, with a program designed to meet my needs, I've come to not only read the music, but have also gained the confidence to perform in public, to share my God-Given talents with others and feel a true sense of joy and accomplishment. I am excited at the possibilities and have hope as never before as I fulfill my life-long dream of being able to play the piano.