Symphony celebrates 10th

Marice Doll

As Symphony in the Valley celebrates its 10th anniversary at its Mother’s Day concert, the 60 musicians that make up the all-volunteer orchestra reminisced about their favorite concerts over the years.

The Mother’s Day concert is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 10, at 7:30 at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 11, at the Glenwood Springs High School auditorium.

Tubby Tuba was assistant conductor John Bokram’s favorite concert.

“Anything with Brahms or Beethoven – the big symphony sound” is cellist Lorraine Curry’s favorite.

Flautist Nancy Wright loved the symphony’s second performance because it was at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen because her “grandparents were born and lived in Aspen and sang opera at the Wheeler,” she said.

Karin White, who plays flute and piccolo, and who is co-founder of the orchestra with Chick Overington, remembers “a musical history commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II” which the orchestra performed in 1995.

“It was so sentimental,” White recalled. “Chick gave World War II medals that were especially cast for the 50th anniversary by the U.S. Department of Defense to the 100 veterans in the audience. We played every patriotic song ever written. Everyone in the audience was standing and crying. It was really hard to play because I was crying and couldn’t see my music.”

Cellist Pat Girardot said playing with the orchestra is therapy.

“You’re not in the orchestra for the money or the fame. You’re in it because you love it,” said Loren Couch, trumpet.

The players come to the orchestra from different backgrounds and for different reasons.

Karen Tafejian, keyboard, has been a volunteer firefighter with the Carbondale Fire Department for 22 years and assistant safety officer.

Craig Heydenberk, trombone, is an environmental scientist with Wright Water Engineers. Pat Fitzgerald, clarinet, is owner of Glenwood Brokers Realty.

Violinist Heather McGregor joined the orchestra because “a friend said it was a good way for us to spend time together. By the end of the year, the friend had to leave because she had other demands on her time. So it wasn’t a good friendship builder.”

Of the 60 musicians, 27 have been with the symphony since the beginning.

“I value it because the concerts are geared toward all generations,” Tafejian observed. “The music brings everyone together.”

Rich Orton, trumpet, believes that “more than the applause of the audience, a good rehearsal says it all.”

“We have a diverse background, but we’re brought together with a common love,” said Troy Golden, drums. “We continually try to improve the mix of music for everybody, the musicians and the audience.”

“I remember a piano concerto at the Vilar,” says Judy Ingelhart, violin. “It was so beautiful, it was hard to concentrate. Certain moments just gave me chills.”

Many of the musicians joined because they got the call.

“(Conductor) Wendy (Larson) called me the second month we were here,” said concert mistress Lori Andrews, who teaches mentally and physically impaired children how to play musical instruments.

“I just arrived in Aspen and Wendy gave me a call. There I was, playing again,” said flautist Susan McKinney.

Many of the musicians got into the orchestra in unconventional ways. Heydenberk says he joined after Overington spotted him “walking down the road with a trombone in my hand.”

No one wanted to play the French horn in Jerry Gasau’s elementary school, so the band director gave it to him. Years later, Gasau was majoring in music at the University of Missouri, but by graduate school, Gasau was working toward a degree in learning disabilities at Kansas State University.

At violinist Vickie Clark’s school, “Music got me through school. I lived for music because school was so hard. I even learned how to type to music.”

Not everyone was so positively influence by their school music teacher. Mark Gray, double bass, said his first music teacher predicted, “You’ll never do anything with music,” but he now admits “he was my best mentor.”

Monique Merritt, bassoon, joined the orchestra during its first season, and the first concert coincided with her 13th birthday.

“I grew up with the symphony,” said the college junior, who is majoring in social work at Metro State in Denver. “They’re my extended family.”

It’s the spirit of the orchestra members that Caley Gredig, bass and alto clarinet, thinks makes the orchestra strong. “I think it’s the level of commitment of the players and conductors. These people really love their music, to show up week after week, without being paid. More than a third of us have been here since the beginning.”

For the orchestra members, the main idea is to have fun.

“We cut ourselves some slack. We let everybody in, have some fun. Flat keys on Tuesdays and sharp keys on Wednesdays,” said Gray.

The Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts is proud to host the Glenwood Springs Art Guild Exhibit, on display through June 1 in our gallery. The opening reception is at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 3.

I love this group! They are dynamic, interesting and talented. They meet every Thursday for paint day to encourage, mentor, and support each other’s work. I’m sure they even get a little gossip time in there! It doesn’t get much better than that!

They meet monthly to provide members with educational programs, demonstrations and critique sessions. Members of the Art Guild sponsor continuous exhibits at the Flower Mart, John Glossa Jewelry Studio, VitaMart, Department of Motor Vehicles, and the Chamber.

Each year the Glenwood Springs Art Guild awards the $2,000 Nancy Piper Memorial Art Grant to a worthy high school senior who intends to study art. Jessica Walters is the 2003 recipient. The Art Guild also awards the Jan Worden Memorial Grants to two seniors every year. They support art-related activities from Basalt to Parachute and provide art supplies for children’s classes at the Center for the Arts.

The Glenwood Springs Art Guild’s membership includes many seasoned professionals. Many guild members have works published in books and other print media, many have work on display throughout the state on a continuing basis, and many are represented in galleries around the state. The guild has over 200 members.

The Guild’s Fall Arts Festival at the Ramada is one of the most popular shows and sales in the state. It practically becomes an art buying frenzy on Patron’s Night. They sell thousands of dollars in art and support the community with the proceeds. So you can understand why I love them.

What’s the buzz about this exhibit at the Center for the Arts? There are always new people and old favorites who will be exhibiting their art. There will be bargain bin pieces which are very affordable. The variety of art is always exciting.

“This show is a tremendous opportunity for art lovers to view many of the Guild members’ artwork, and spend a little time getting to meet the artists at the reception,” said guild member Ruth Mollman. “You never know what treasures you may find for your collection.”

Littlest Ballerinas

Our littlest ballerinas never fail to charm us with their fluffy tutus, their sweet stubbiness of gam and their heartbreaking beauty. As they grow and become more accomplished, the beauty of a young dancer can take your breath away.

A big recital is a sweet moment in childhood, a serious rite of passage for young girls and boys, and an opportunity for older and more serious dancers to showcase their talent. We ask that you support this moment for the children and young people of this community. Glenwood Springs’ biggest and best annual dance event, “Dancers Dancing,” features more than 150 dedicated, talented kids from Center for the Arts classes. They will dance their hearts out for you next Friday and Saturday, May 9 and 10, at the Glenwood Springs High School Auditorium.

An evening performance at 7 p.m. will feature the dance students age 6 to the advanced students. At 1 p.m. Saturday, May 10, we present a special matinee featuring our tiniest dancers, age 3 and up, with special selected pieces from the evening performances including hip hop, tap, jazz and ballet. All the performances will showcase the talent and beauty of the girls from the Choreography and Repertoire Project.

“Expose your children to the magic of dance,” said Melanie Huskey, who teaches and choreographs our ballerinas. Bring the kids to Dancers Dancing so they can see what dance and movement are all about. This production is live theater at its best: You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll be glad you came.

A $250 sponsorship receives recognition and six tickets; a $100 sponsorship receives recognition and four tickets; sponsors donating $50 receive recognition and two tickets (and of course in every case, our love).

We are grateful for the support we have received so far this year from Donna and Jeff Yost, Sherry Caloia and Gerard Tomasso, Brenda and Tom Grange, Jay and Roz Fowler, Dr. Jeff and Kim Fegan, and Sarah and Tito Liotta. Support Dancers Dancing. Call us today at 945-2414. We’ll take your money right over the phone.

Tickets are now available for all the performances. Cost is $12 for adults and $6 for students.

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