Two years ago, a group of Yampa Valley music teachers put their heads together to create a new performance opportunity for their hundreds of students. The music teachers were looking for a different kind of exposure for their young artists -- something bigger than the separate recitals they were holding.
"Violins need to listen to cellists, cellists to pianists, and so forth," violin teacher Teresa Steffen Greenlee said. With that thought in mind, music teachers developed the Young Artists' Excellence in Musicianship competition and recital, now in its second year.
What: Young Artists' Excellence in Musicianship Recital When: 7 tonight Where: St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Ninth and Oak streets Tickets: Free
Tonight, 10 young musicians who topped this year's competition will get some well-deserved stage time and the chance to show off their talents during the Excellence in Musicianship recital to be held at 7 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Steamboat Springs. The featured performers are Kelsey Butler, Avery Globe, Danielle Heath, Tanner Morrison, Cameron Osteen, Cody Poirot, Cassidy Sisto, Renee Spady, Charlie Stoddard and Kristy Stodola. The show is free and open to the public.
"We really wanted to honor the kids that go that extra step in their musical lives," said Christel Houston, a piano, voice and guitar teacher who has been instrumental in coordinating the program.
This year's finalists, who range in age from 6 to 15 and comprise five violinists, three pianists, a cellist and a singer, were selected from 23 students who auditioned last weekend. The contestants, who were nominated by their teachers, were evaluated based on their interpretation, rhythm, tone and technical skills, Greenlee said.
"It wasn't about who's most advanced. It's about who's most refined," Greenlee said. And that includes beginners, she said.
The students performing tonight have demonstrated finesse in their musicianship, regardless of their level of training, flute teacher Mary Beth Norris said. She said this is an opportunity to get on stage, something that can't be simulated.
"Performing in front of judges is something you can't have in your living room," Norris said. "Some kids rise to that occasion beautifully."
Norris said her students had no choice but to travel out of town for competitions in the past. Now, the Excellence in Musicianship program gives them an opportunity to receive feedback and be judged by someone other than their teachers.
"There's a real possibility for this to grow," Norris said. "With the duties spread among a broader sweep of teachers, we'll probably be able to grow something really wonderful."