Bravo! helps music education thrive in Eagle County |

Bravo! helps music education thrive in Eagle County

Daily staff report
Eagle County CO, Colorado
Daily File Photo/Rebecca Moidel

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Eagle County schools recently received the gift of music from the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.

Bravo joined forces with The Youth Foundation and the Guitar Center to help maintain and improve music education at local schools by providing instruments and music supplies, and coordinating after-school and in-school music programs. Several area schools will benefit from the combined efforts of these organizations.

The Guitar Center in Denver, a partner of the Festival since 2001, donated 13 keyboards and stands, a variety of percussion instruments, guitar racks and a metronome to the schools.

“We are pleased to provide schools with resources to help grow their music programs,” says Liz Campbell, Bravo’s director of education. “Research has shown that playing an instrument at an early age increases the ability of the left and right hemispheres of the brain to work together. The earlier you help create that connection, the better.”

Gypsum Elementary’s string program will benefit from a recent donation of music supplies and new string instruments. Since 2002, Bravo and The Youth Foundation have worked together to sustain the string program, which now has 36 students. Gypsum music teachers Cindy Allard and Janie Bionaz said the string program is a successful after-school alternative for many students.

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“The Town of Gypsum is very generous in their support of the festival and their investment is paying off,” Bravo’s Director of Development Jeanne Reid said. “We are proud to support and nurture the school and student accomplishments.”

Gypsum Elementary and Gypsum Middle School received new instruments from Bravo, including new recorders and a variety of percussion instruments for the middle school band. About 30 percent of the Gypsum Middle School students are enrolled in music, and Bravo hopes this number will increase with the availability of these new instruments.

Meadow Mountain began its after-school piano program in January under the direction of the school’s music teacher, Holly Trantor. Trantor teaches 30 students in grades three through five the fundamentals of the piano. Bravo donated the stands and instruction books.

Red Sandstone Elementary School will continue its beginner keyboard class, which was initiated last year under the direction of music teacher Nancy Sandberg. Local pianist Tony Gulizia teaches the class during the students’ lunch hour twice per week for a month. New this year is a program for advanced piano students.

Battle Mountain High School’s music class will benefit from new guitar racks, recently donated by Bravo, for the 25 guitars in the classroom. Music teacher Aaron Wacker says the racks will help keep the room organized and clear up some classroom space.

“Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference,” Wacker said.

Celebrating 22 years in the Vail Valley in 2009, the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival is a hallmark cultural attraction in Colorado. Bringing in three venerable ensembles ” the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic ” the Bravo festival has established Vail as one of today’s leading musical landmarks. More than 40 internationally renowned soloists and chamber musicians will perform throughout the season. Festival highlights include Jaap van Zweden as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s newly appointed music director and conductor, along with world renowned cellist Alisa Weilerstein, violinist Gil Shaham, and pianists Yuja Wang, Orli Shaham, and Garick Ohlsson.

Enjoy the artistic excellence of the festival and its many musicians in the reserved seating sections or relax on the lawn with friends, family, a picnic basket and wine at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. Experience the inspiring sounds of chamber music at the Vail Mountain School, Vilar Performing Arts Center and other festival venues throughout the Vail Valley. For a complete festival lineup and to purchase tickets visit or call 877-812-5700.

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