ENCINITAS — Young musician Cordelia Degher was named by the California PTA Reflections Committee to represent the fifth grade in the National PTA Reflections Program. Degher composed her own song, “Help from a Friend.”
Each year, the PTA Reflections Program challenges students to create art inspired by a specific theme. The 2010–2011 theme is “Together we can …” Students participate in the Reflections Program by submitting entries to a local PTA. Nationally, the program has six arts areas — dance choreography, film production, literature, musical composition, photography and visual arts — and four grade divisions
The 11-year-old has been playing guitar and keyboards for about three years. She started writing her own songs when she was 9 and, at present, has about 10 songs that she’d like to record. She wrote “Help from a Friend” on the keyboard in less than an hour. Sometimes she has fun writing entire songs on the spot, with titles cued by her friends. And music isn’t her only interest: she is also an avid soccer player and plays for the Encinitas Express competitive team.
She has only had about a year of guitar lessons, and not much other formal musical training, but she comes from a musical family, so she’s grown up with music in her ears constantly. Her sister sings back-up on “Help from a Friend.”
Degher was born and raised in Malmo, Sweden. She just moved to Encinitas last July with her family, so this is her first year in a California school. Her mom is Swedish and her dad is a Californian, so she’s bilingual, having spoken English at home in Sweden while speaking Swedish in school. In other words, she’s a child of the future, a comfortable mix of cultures. On her American side, her grandparents were the children of immigrants from Italy and Lebanon.