Vail Today: Very Young Composers features music by Vail youth (video)
August 15, 2017
The sweet sounds of creativity could be heard as the Very Young Composers program once again hosted concerts at the Avon and Vail libraries in July. This week-long camp for kids was brought to Vail nine years ago by Jon Deak and Bill Gordh in collaboration with the New York Philharmonic and Bravo! Vail. It is now run by Conrad Kehn of Denver's Playground Ensemble and funded by the Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365.
Jon Deak played bass with the New York Philharmonic for 40 years and was a soloist, associate principal and a composer for the orchestra. He left the bass behind eights years ago to take Very Young Composers worldwide.
"As a composer I wanted to see where the new music was coming from", said Deak. "I just wanted to see what children's music sounded like, because it wasn't "Old McDonald had a Farm" or "Mary had a Little Lamb", those are beautiful tunes, but what is the music inside a child's soul?"
The kids learn music theory and how to compose for different instruments from teaching artists. Then they write their own story and set it to the music they wrote in a step-by-step process. Each composition is as unique as each child.
"The songs are tragic, funny, silly, sad, romantic, just like adult's music, they just have a slightly different language and you have to listen to it a little bit differently but it's like a fountain that never stops producing," said Deak.
Professional musicians play each piece and the public is invited to attend. Very Young Composures also enlists the help of interns and local Alec Mauro, who conducted some of the children's songs at the performances.
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"I think it is great to have a program like this, it's a great way for kids to show their creativity," said Mauro, who recently graduated from Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan and will be heading to Columbia University to continue studying music.
To help raise funds for the Very Young Composers program, Mauro will be hosting a Jazz Jam for a Cause Wednesday, Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Grouse Mountain Grill with a Vail Valley jazz favorite, Tony Gulizia. Reservations are recommended.