Life after 'retirement'

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Now in his 70s, John Sant 'Ambrogio feels his life is just beginning.

He retired a month ago after 37 years as Principal Cellist with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and moved to Steamboat Springs full time.

¤ Panel on Creativity with five faculty members When: 6 p.m. Monday Where: Steamboat Smokehouse, 912 Lincoln Ave. Cost: Price of a meal Call: 879-7427 for reservations ¤ "Unraveling Ravel" by the Arts for the Soul String Quartet When: 6 p.m. Tuesday Where: Outlaws in the Thunderhead Lodge in Ski Time Square Cost: Price of a meal Call: 879-6348 for reservations ¤ Arts for the Soul Quartet will perform while artist Richard Galusha makes a painting of the musicians When: 7:45 p.m. Wednesday Where: Wild Horse Gallery in the lobby of the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Cost: Free Call: 879-7660 ¤ "Rameau to Ragtime" by the Generation Gap Trio When: 7:45 p.m. Thursday Where: United Methodist Church, corner of Eight and Oak streets Cost: Free Call: 879-9381 ¤ "Beethoven Story Part III" by the Arts for the Soul String Quartet When: 6 p.m. Friday Where: Ore House at the Pine Grove Restaurant, 1465 Pine Grove Road Cost: Price of a meal Call: 879-1190 for reservations ¤ Three Arts for the Soul summer retreat sessions will be held Aug. 21 to 28, Aug. 28 to Sept. 4 and Sept. 4 to 11. For more information about the retreats call 879-9381.

As he talks about filling his life with hikes and art, Sant 'Ambrogio glows. His goal during "retirement" is to introduce others, no matter their age, to the new life they can find by picking up a paintbrush or a pen.

"The arts keep you young, joyful and full of life," he said. "They give you mental stimulation, community and a feeling of purpose."

This will be the second year for his Arts for the Soul summer retreat that offers weeklong art, writing and music classes, pairing students with teachers from across the country.

Sant 'Ambrogio has dreams for a nationally known arts retreat, and he already has seen growth since the first year.

Last year, 21 students attended. This year, 55 people have registered, he said.

"I dream of people pouring in here," he said. "We found something that really attracts people." He noticed the classes for art and music appreciation filled just as fast as hands-on classes.

"These are people who want to be immersed in art but aren't quite ready to take that step to do it themselves," he said. "These are people who want to have a vacation where they are surrounded by art."

Each day of hikes and classes ends with a dinner at a local restaurant where guests are entertained by an art or musical presentation.

Before people arrive at Arts for the Soul, Sant 'Ambrogio asks them to read the book "My Time: Making the Most of the Bonus Decades After 50" by Abigail Trafford.

"People live to be 60 and 70, and they're just beginning," he said. "If you present the arts to people in the right way, it can be the best thing that ever happened to them."

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