"I'm the only musician in my family. People will ask me, 'Oh, do you have family that are musicians?' Many of my colleagues at USC, their parents are musicians. But for me it was the opposite where I was the first one. It was more like seeds were planted in me: a jazz seed, a classical seed. The story my parents like to tell me is, every time I went to sleep when I was young, they would play me different kinds of music. So, it was little things here and there. My second grade teacher was and still is a radio disc jockey for KKJZ, a jazz station from CSULB. I've always had a fascination for classical music. I went to the music center when I was young. These little things just grew out of me, they found me.
"I started playing the trombone in the fourth grade. I went to an after-school music program where they taught you music theory for the instrument you chose. People will ask me, 'Why did you choose the trombone?' But I didn't choose the trombone, it chose me.
"Here at the Downey Theater is the first time I played in a stage concert. It was the first time I conducted also. People will also ask me, 'How did you choose conducting' Again, it chose me. It was at an 8th grade concert, the jazz portion of the winter concert. At the time I was the class president. My band director told me he had something for me to do. He said, 'Come direct the band.' I had no clue what to do but I did it and the seed was planted. The bulk of my conducting training was at the Bard Conservatory of Music in New York. Currently, I am working on my master's degree, taking conducting classes, and playing trombone for the USC orchestra."
PS I met Emmanuel after a recent concert of the Downey Symphony at The Downey Theater where he played trombone.