Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival brings music education to the next level |

Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival brings music education to the next level

Daily Staff Report
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

VAIL ” Through generous grants from the Bravo Volunteer Guild and the Colorado Council on the Arts along with a substantial instrument donation from the Guitar Center, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival continues to develop and enhance in-school and after-school music programs for Eagle and Lake County students.

Lake County High School in Leadville, Gypsum Creek Middle School, Gypsum Elementary, Red Sandstone Elementary, Eagle Valley High, and Stone Creek School will benefit tremendously from the combined efforts of public and private interests to support music education for area youth.

Lake County High School will complete four music workstations, allowing students to develop creative abilities through music composition, arranging and sequencing.

Keyboards were donated by The Guitar Center in Denver and Bravo! will purchase music notation software, headphones and other supplies. “National standards for arts education call for emphasis on creativity in music education. The donated equipment and our hard work will help to reach this objective,” said Lake County High School music director Mark Garberich. Student compositions will be performed by Bravo! musicians as part of its community outreach programming next summer.

Gypsum Creek Middle School band will purchase new instruments for students who cannot afford one on their own with a restricted cash contribution to their music program.

“Our goal is for every student in the Gypsum community to have the opportunity to play in band despite their economic status,” said Ms. Fritzshce, the school’s music teacher. The band program currently has over 105 students, roughly one third of the school’s population. Roughly 65 percent of the student body is minority and 41 percent are on the free or reduced lunch program. “We would like to provide a quality instrument to each student in need so they may successfully learn to perform and succeed in band,” she said.

Gypsum Elementary will purchase instruments and music supplies for the after school Suzuki violin program with help from the Festival. Since 2002, Bravo and The Youth Foundation have collaborated to launch and sustain this very successful after-school alternative. Cindy Allard and Janie Bionaz have been the driving force behind the community project providing music instruction three times per week throughout the school year for up to 40 students.

Gypsum Elementary will also purchase recorders for the 3rd grade class. “We currently teach recorder to 4th and 5th graders. Now, with the help of the Festival, every 3rd grader in our school will learn how to play the recorder. We will also replace some older recorders that are no longer playable,” said Janie Bionaz, the school’s elementary music teacher.

Red Sandstone Elementary and Eagle Valley High School will both benefit with the addition of eight keyboards to the school’s roster. The keyboards were supplied by The Guitar Center complete with software and headphone “survival kits.”

Eagle Valley High School will use the new keyboards during the first trimester piano lab. “I don’t have enough keyboards for the class,” said Pat Sheehy, Eagle Valley High’s band director. “Students must share the keyboards diminishing the teacher contact time.”

Beginning in January, Red Sandstone Elementary School (RSES) will use the equipment to start an introduction to keyboarding class offered during the lunch hour and taught by Tony Gulizia. “Cool Keyboarding with Master Tony “G” is the brainchild of RSES music teacher Nancy Sandberg. The class will be offered for 4th and 5th graders interested in learning piano instruction. The six-week session will meet twice a week with follow up activity provided by Ms. Sandberg. Additional support for the program, including instructor wages and music supplies, is provided by Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.

Stone Creek School will be marching to the beat of their own drum with the addition of two bongos and two congas. “We are pleased to provide Stone Creek with resources to help supplement their music program,” said Liz Campbell, Bravo’s education director. “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. This ability will continue throughout the students’ life. It truly is a gift that lasts a lifetime.”

The Lake County String Program (LCSP) will also continue to flourish with help from Bravo! Now in its sixth year, the LCSP offers both beginning and intermediate string class and group guitar as an after school alternative at West Park Elementary in Leadville, Colorado. Music teacher Susan Crum has been the cornerstone of the very successful project. Ms. Crum donates her time and repair services to keep the program going and the Festival provides instruments, sheet music and unrestricted funds.

The Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival will present its 21st Anniversary Season during the summer of 2008, June 25 ” Aug. 2. During its 21st season, Bravo brings to the Vail Valley over 40 acclaimed soloists, ensembles and three world class resident orchestras ” the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. For complete artist roster, program details, and ticketing information please call 827-5700 or visit

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