Mariah Roberson is a multi-instrumentalist who studies and practices blues, jazz, and popular American music. She started with classical and jazz cello in elementary school, and continued to pursue those passions at Washington Middle School. In 2017, the orchestra director there, Beth Fortune, was impressed by Mariah’s talents and connected her to tRp.
Sponsored by TRP, Mariah and four other students traveled to Port Townsend for the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival. In this week-long festival, she studied piano, guitar and vocals with renowned musicians from across America. Mariah’s great grandmother being from Jonesville, Louisiana - a town 43 miles southwest of Alexandria, LA - enabled her to feel especially connected to the music of Corey Ledet and Sunpie Barnes, two zydeco musicians from the south that attended the festival.
She continued to develop her gifts in cello, vocals, and guitar after entering high school in South Seattle. Mariah began to perform in a guitar and fiddle duo with her friend Edien Nega, a violinist she had become friends with through TRP and going to middle school together. Their duo graced many stages in South Seattle, often community events to fundraise for The Rhapsody Project and Seattle JazzEd to bring more music into Seattle Public Schools.
In addition to The Rhapsody Project, Mariah was involved in many school and extracurricular activities. To match her music ambitions, she is also a multi-sported athlete. She is a passionate track & field and cross country runner, who likes to spend her winters having fun with her school’s gymnastics team. She was also involved in her school’s Black Student Union. On weekends, after school, or days she doesn’t have meets or performances, Mariah likes to keep herself busy skateboarding; a hobby that has turned into a passion in recent years.
Mariah has continued to attend PT Blues Festival with The Rhapsody Project, helping to build the youth programming by supporting and learning from other students in her age bracket. She also helped pilot a TRP program at Wintergrass Festival in Bellevue. At the festival, Mariah performed and began to learn about the breadth and depth of career options in the music industry.
Nowadays, Mariah is an intern helping to develop TRP and its internal systems; always wanting to give perspective and thoughts surrounding cultural equity and how we can make programming more accessible. In the land of social media, Mariah steadily calls out racism and prejudice in both her personal circles and work she does with Rhapsody. However, the pandemic has called for more productive hand work than having twitter wars with neo-nazis, so she has picked up amatuer wood working. One of her most recent projects was replacing the handle of a maul axe.
You can follow @mariahs.roberson on instagram and check in with TRP’s instagram which she also runs (@therhapsodyproject).