Fourteen-year-old Maddie Traverse and 11-year-old Claire Cohen rehearse during the Rocky Mountain Summer Conservatory.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Fourteen-year-old Maddie Traverse and 11-year-old Claire Cohen rehearse during the Rocky Mountain Summer Conservatory.

Inaugural 'Steamboat Connection' offers four days of classical instruction


Past Event

"Steamboat Connection" recital, presented by the Rocky Mountain

  • Saturday, July 26, 2008, 10:30 a.m.
  • St Paul's Episcopal Church, Ninth and Oak streets, Steamboat Springs
  • Not available / Free


When violin teacher Teresa Steffen Greenlee asks her students if they're tired after three days of classical music rehearsals and classes, the response is a scattered round of "Yes."

When she asks if it's a "good tired," the response is the same - more scattered "Yes" - but this time, there's enthusiasm.

Today, 23 local students will perform a recital as part of "Steamboat Connection," a four-day classical music clinic run through the Rocky Mountain Summer Conservatory. The young Steamboat Springs musicians worked four hours a day in master classes, small chamber music ensembles, full orchestra and sectional rehearsals.

"It's kind of like violin school," said rising third-grader Tamara Katthain, taking a short break after an orchestra rehearsal before sitting down for another hour to work exclusively on violin parts.

Catherine Fischer, a rising high school sophomore, said she's enjoyed the opportunity to play with musicians from around town.

"It's cool just having people that you play with normally," Fischer said, adding that she doesn't often get to play in small chamber ensembles. Each "Steamboat Connection" student spent three hours during the clinic in rehearsal with a string quartet or similar small group, led by a faculty member from RMSC.

"I like doing the quartet because I get to work with some people that I don't normally work with," said rising fifth-grader Dominique Katthain. "And I like having our own part, because if you make a mistake it's just you."

Greenlee, program director for "Steamboat Connection," said the idea is the brainchild of RMSC artistic director Ernest Richardson. She said Richardson, who also directs the Steamboat Springs Orchestra, approached her after the final SSO concert of the season about directing a summer clinic for local music students.

Greenlee said she agreed the program should include one-on-one instruction and small ensemble practice. But one of her primary motivations was to give Steamboat students a chance to work with Richardson.

"He has a way of inspiring them to want to be better," she said. "It's not like he's just teaching at them. He's pulling from them really what they have inside, and I think he gets that enthusiasm from them that truly helps the process of learning."

That method came through during a Friday afternoon rehearsal, as Richardson worked through musically rough patches by isolating them, then playing them on his violin.

"It sounds Shrek-like, rather than delicate. Let's go for delicate. Non-Shrek-like," Richardson said, explaining the phrasing on a violin-and-viola back-and-forth section during a Mozart piece. His tone was positive, effective and far from critical.

"This sounds so much better than it did three days ago," Richardson said to the orchestra. "Two days ago we could not even get through it."


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