They've had to tighten their purse strings, but a musical Brooklyn family has not let hard times throw their heartstrings out of tune.
Despite both being out of work, Sherri and Sean DeBarry have kept harmony in their Bedford-Stuyvesant home by supporting their children's love for string instruments.
"There are sleepless nights ... nights holding your head and saying how can I get this together," said Sean DeBarry, 41, a laid-off hospital administrator. "And when I listen to my kids; it's like a getaway."
Brian, 12, plays the cello, and his sisters, Meghan, 16, Priya, 14, Taylor, 10, and Morgan, 9, are aspiring violin virtuosos.
The DeBarry children have formed their own chamber orchestra, practicing for hours daily on the top floor off the family's home.
"When they start playing ... we can just sit down and chitchat like we're in high society," said their father.
Sherri DeBarry, 46, who lost her part-time job at a document printing company, concedes it's been a financial struggle, but says it is worth it to keep her kids in rhythm.
She confessed to putting off paying the electric bill to spend about $1,000 on a new violin for Meghan and a cello for Brian this year.
Eating out and summer trips have gone by the wayside so their kids can keep up with their Bach and Beethoven, the couple said.
"They've really flourished mainly because they've had so much parental support, as well as talent to begin with," said their music teacher, Michele Joo.
The sacrifices of the parents have paid off for their progeny. The DeBarry ensemble has become a hit at their house of worship, uplifting the congregation of the America Come Back to God Evangelistic Church with Sunday recitals.
The three oldest children have even performed at Madison Square Garden as part of the Phantazia String Players.
Sherri and Sean DeBarry said they're thankful they haven't had to foster their children's shared dream of becoming professional musicians alone.
The five siblings take advantage of free music lessons given by teachers of the Noel Pointer Foundation. Funded by the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the organization teaches strings to about 850 public school students.
Meghan, who began studying violin six years ago, insists that the tough times her family have been dealt by the sagging economy has only made them stronger.
"It has brought us closer together because we have this communication while we're playing," said Meghan, the group's de facto leader.
Audiences have been awed by the talent displayed by the family quintet. "People are like, 'All of them?!'" Meghan relayed with a smile.
But her parents' belief in her and her siblings has been their key catalyst.
"The possibility of where we could be years from now - I think that's what our motivation is," Meghan said.