Eleven students received gracious financial gifts in the form of full scholarships to attend Conservatory Music in the Mountains this July.
The scholarships, awarded by Music in the Mountains, have once again been generously funded by Citizens Bank Pagosa Springs. Owner Jim Fitzgerald and bank president Dan Aupperle are always delighted to make this substantial donation that affords the music students a unique summer conservatory experience.
In addition, those who attend the annual benefit concerts contribute a large part of the needed money. This year’s upcoming benefit features classical guitarist Sir Angel Romero. It will be held at Moomaw Ranch on Friday evening, July 12 and tickets are available now.
Seven of the 11 winners have attended the conservatory in previous years, also having received scholarships funded by other local donors whose desire is to further the training of young musicians here in Pagosa Springs.
The scholarship winners, ten of whom are present or former students of stringed instrument instructor Kate Kelley, will participate in the conservatory which is held each July at Fort Lewis College in Durango.
Bethany Wanket (17) has studied violin for nearly seven years and this year will participate in the three-week Chamber Orchestra division of the Conservatory String Program. She has been a Conservatory Music in the Mountains scholarship recipient for three previous years. Bethany, who is the daughter of Craig and Brenda Wanket, will also be competing for the first time in the prestigious Conservatory Young Artists Competition to vie for the opportunity to appear as a soloist with either the Chamber orchestra or the Full Festival Orchestra. Her instructor this year was Dr. Kasia Sokol, a member of the Fort Lewis College music faculty.
A four—year student of the violin, Zoe Rohrich (14) is the daughter of Matt and Tamsin Rohrich. Zoe also studied this past year with Dr. Sokol. Zoe’s sister, Hannah, who is 13 and the only cellist in the group, has studied for two-and-a-half years. Her instructor this year was Dr. Katherine Jetter, also a part of the Fort Lewis College music faculty. Both girls received scholarships last year for the Concert Orchestra and will be performing with that group once again this year.
Participating as a first-timer in the Concert Orchestra this year is Madelyn Davey (13), daughter of Tom and Julie Davey. Maddy has studied violin for almost two years and received a scholarship last summer as well.
Ahia Stuck, who began her studies on the violin only last September, will be entering the conservatory as part of the Concert Orchestra. She is the daughter of Jason and Corrie Stuck.
Rounding out the group of young violinists are four brothers — Daniel (13), Josiah (10), Levi (8) and Ezekiel (6) Cabrera. They are the four oldest sons of Ralph and Aimee Cabrera. Daniel and Josiah will be part of the Concert Orchestra, while Levi and Ezekiel will attend the Kids With Strings Attached program.
Kids With Strings Attached will also have another first-year violinist from Pagosa: 6-year-old Lydia Hines, daughter of Bill and Joyce Hines. This program seeks to develop students’ basic skills including beginning music theory and performance opportunities.
Peter Morey (14) is the son of John Morey and the grandson of Jan and Philip Morey. While Peter has studied piano less than two years (with instructor Venita Burch), he has shown extraordinary talent as a pianist and was welcomed as a participant in the Conservatory Piano Program which has exceptionally high standards for accepting students.
These Pagosa student musicians will join more than 150 students from various places in the United States and around the world to study in the recital rooms at Fort Lewis College with exceptionally fine music educators who also perform with the Music in the Mountains Festival orchestra. Along with excellent private and small group instruction, the students are given opportunities to perform as soloists and in ensembles.
Music in the Mountains is best known for its summer classical music concerts. But as these scholarships make it clear, a vital part of the mission of the Pagosa festival is to enhance the Pagosa music community by providing financial support for its music students so they may take advantage of unique learning opportunities such as Conservatory Music in the Mountains.
“We build our musicians one note at a time and one performance after another so that their appreciation for classical music becomes deeply instilled in them for a lifetime,” said Arkady Fomin, founder and artistic director of the conservatory.
Volunteer co-chairs of the scholarship committee, Teresa Huft and Janis Moomaw, are delighted at the prospect of seeing these students advance in their music experience. Last year’s conservatory students, their parents and their teacher were all very enthusiastic about their experience and are looking forward to returning; all reported the progress made in their class was “phenomenal” and their skill levels and enthusiasm for music improved.”
Many people assume that Music in the Mountains exists solely to present their excellent summer concert series, but their foremost goal is to promote education for young musicians and for school students. Congratulations are due to the scholarship winners, but also to the donors for making these awards possible.