Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival awards school grants |

Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival awards school grants

Daily Staff Report

VAIL – The Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival has announced its annual music grants for 2006.These much needed grants provide instruments, music supplies and cash to public and private schools and music projects in Eagle and Lake counties to promote the growth of music education both in and outside of the classroom. During the summer, the instruments are used for the Festival’s Instrument Petting Zoo.The 2005 recipients are Eagle Valley Middle, Minturn Middle, Gypsum Elementary, Avon Elementary and Brush Creek Elementary in Eagle County, as well as Pitts Elementary and West Park Elementary in Leadville. “There are several children who would like to get involved with music but cannot afford to purchase or rent the instrument,” said Tommy Dodge, Eagle Valley Middle School (EVMS) music teacher. “The grant that Bravo awarded to EVMS will be used to purchase a flute and trumpet for economically disadvantaged students.” Minturn Middle School music teacher Symon Hayes will use newly acquired percussion instruments to supplement its performing arts elective. The class combines music and language arts.”Drum circles and percussion are an integral part of the course,” said Hayes. “The students will be learning about rhythm in conjunction with reading and poetry.”Gypsum Elementary will expand their after school Suzuki violin program with the addition of the school’s new music teacher, Janie Bionaz. Allard, the school’s student counselor, directs the after-school program, now in its third year at Gypsum Elementary. The program will be offered for both beginner and intermediate groups. Bionaz has an extensive string background and has been playing the violin since she was 10. “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,” said Bionaz. “This ability will continue throughout the students’ life. It truly is a gift that lasts a lifetime.”The festival provides student-sized violins, Suzuki sheet music and non-restrictive funds to support the arts enrichment program. The Youth Foundation is also is an integral supporter of the project and provides funding to help pay for instruction fees.Avon Elementary will offer a free, after-school percussion program thanks to the efforts of the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. The festival supplies instruments and instruction for approximately 25 students each week. Many of the instruments used for the program were donated by The Guitar Center in Denver.The Guitar Center also donated a unique variety of percussion instruments including a steel drum, ching chok and washboard that will be used by music teacher Heather Marner at Brush Creek Elementary. In addition to the instruments, the festival provided funding to purchase music stands.Ý”We were learning the recorder but had no music stands to hold the sheet music which presented early impossible challenges,” said Marner. “We are thrilled to have the resources needed to offer a quality music program.”The Lake County String Program (LCSP) will also continue to prosper with help from Bravo! Now in its fourth year, the LCSP offers both beginning and intermediate strings class and group guitar as an after-school alternative at Pitts Elementary in Leadville. Susan Crum has been the cornerstone of the project, and she has high expectations.”I am hopeful this on-going program will grow to be a string orchestra at the high school level four years from now,” said Crum. “Crum donates her time and repair services to keep the program going and the festival provides instruments, sheet music and unrestricted funds.”Music teacher Christine Horning will introduce the Boom Whacker curriculum to grades K-5 at West Park Elementary this year thanks to the support from the Bravo! festival. West Park Elementary, located in Leadville, serves a predominately Hispanic community. Horning remarked “The Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival has been an amazing supporter of the music program at West Park Elementary in Leadville,” said Horning. “The arts are tremendously important to education and the extra financial support Bravo has provided to us will truly help the music program excel.”In the 19th year, Bravo! brings 40 soloists, ensembles and three resident orchestras to the Vail Valley June 28 through Aug. 3. For program details, visit, Colorado

Support Local Journalism