HENDERSON, Nev. (KVVU) - An 18-year-old student is using her skills as a violinist to raise money for college, taking to the Nevada streets for parking lot performances.
Maria Bassil, 18, is attending the University of Nevada Las Vegas as she purses her dream to become a veterinarian. She grew up in Lebanon, but recent turbulence in the country pushed her to come to the United States to attend school.
“The economic situation, the inflation, the revolution, everything in Lebanon is going from bad to worse. So, I was kind of pushed to come here and to pursue my studies here,” Bassil said.
In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, she got on plane bound for the U.S., where she planned to stay with relatives in Las Vegas.
With money tight, Bassil is now using her skills as a violinist to help make ends meet and pay her college fees. She has been playing the violin for more than 12 years and graduated from a conservatory in her home country. She has performed at church and on outdoor stages.
“I’m playing here on the corner, and whatever people can do, I’m so appreciative. If they only say good job, I appreciate it. If they put in a coin, I appreciate that also,” Bassil said.
When asked how much money she hopes to raise, Bassil didn’t have an exact figure. She says she plays music for strangers because she loves doing it.
“Whatever I raise is for college. I am doing my best,” she said. “Honestly, it’s my passion. It’s something that I dreamed of when I was a kid. So, I don’t play here only to make money. I play here because I love it. I love to see people happy.”
For Bassil, playing her music and having the opportunity to pursue her goal of becoming a veterinarian is a dream come true.
“I have not in my life imagined that I would be here standing and playing. It was a big dream for me,” she said.