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Albuquerque Youth Symphony to perform in Pagosa

Kristine Kleckner Purrington was raised listening to music. In Pagosa.

Her father, Dennis Kleckner, played the guitar at home from the time she was born. Purrington soaked up that informal education and soon took it a step further. In fourth grade, she started studying piano. By the seventh grade, she’d added French horn to the mix. Purrington played both instruments with enthusiasm. From the moment she started her private lessons with teacher Dave Krueger, she never had to be told to practice.

“I loved it,” she says.

At 16 years old, Purrington became the first student from Pagosa Springs to make Colorado’s All-State Orchestra.

“I’d never heard a live orchestra. It was life-changing,” she says, her eyes gleaming with the memory. “The band in my school was 15-20 kids. Being in a full symphonic orchestra of 90 advanced high school musicians, with full strings, winds and brass ... it was astounding to sit in and make music.”

Now executive director of the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program, Purrington’s love of music has carried into the next generation. Her daughter, Julia Purrington, is a violinist with the Albuquerque Youth Orchestra.

This honor orchestra will play a free concert at Pagosa Springs High School, Friday, March 11 at 7 p.m. The musicians will be under the direction of conductor Sayra Siverson. The program will include music from Bach, Offenbach and living composer Michael Schelle.

“I am so proud to share what I do now with my home town. For the students in our Youth Orchestra, it’s like being in All-State every week.” Kristine Purrington says.

Julia Purrington’s life was full of music from the beginning too. In addition to being a composer, her father, Chris Purrington, played keyboards and percussion. Both parents listened to music all the time. Julia Purrington went to Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program concerts from the time she was in a stroller.

“My grandparents also took me every year to the Four Corners Folk Festival in Pagosa Springs, so I was exposed to the great fiddling in the bluegrass bands.”

Young Julia’s formal studies started with Suzuki violin lessons at the age of four. She began her time with the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program as a fourth grader in the Albuquerque Junior Strings. Now, she’s 14 years old, and Julia Purrington and her mother agree: playing music in an orchestra has been an important part of both of their lives.

“It teaches kids discipline and that if you work hard, you can reach your goals. It really pays off. And I’ve made some really good friends,” says Julia Purrington.

For more information about the concert, call (505) 875-1319 or go to

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