Nightly News | February 26, 2013
>>> finally tonight, most mentions of the city of chicago of late have, sadly, concerned gun violence, but tonight we have a story about two brothers enjoying a lot of success and showing some kids something they never thought possible. the mcgill brothers are among a group of 100 african-americans featured on our nbc news website, thegrio.com, and tonight ron allen has their story.
>> reporter: passion and artistry lift the mcgill brothers to lofty heights. demarre plays lead flute with the seattle symphony . kid brother anthony is the principal clarinettist for the world-renowned new york metropolitan opera . rising stars in the rarefied world of classical music , where just 4% of the musicians in national orchestras are african-american or latino. why classical music ?
>> i was drawn to the stories that i heard as a kid, musical stories, and my imagination would just go wild.
>> when i was listening to an orchestra or i was playing the clarinet, somehow, it got deeper into my soul.
>> reporter: they started on the south side of chicago , known for its urban problems, not the classics.
>> hi, sweetheart!
>> reporter: parents ira, a retired teacher, and demarre sr., a former firefighter, say they mortgaged the house five times to pay for lessons.
>> the pads look good.
>> reporter: they still have demarre's first flute and a little something he scribbled down when he was just 15.
>> "goals for the future, to be the best artist in the world
>> wlfer they perform on stage, it's almost like you forget to breathe.
>> reporter: they attribute their success to a chicago non-profit that's been offering free lessons to inner city kids after school since 1979 , the merit school, where they're now treated like rock stars .
>> they provided us a community of people that look like us doing the same thing.
>> reporter: they won competitions, scholarships to prestigious schools, and at age 14 and 18, performed in a very special neighborhood.
>> bravo, gentlemen.
>> reporter: where's the rivalry? all siblings have rivalries. who got better grades in school?
>> oh, see, well, there you go.
>> you probably did.
>> reporter: now their goal is to inspire. and share their love of music.
>> it brings feelings to you and it helps you express yourself .
>> reporter: while taking their place among the great musicians of their time. ron allen , nbc news,