Simon Boyar and Jim Knapp during Rehearsal

During the first week of May, Strings Music Festival brought marimba player Simon Boyar to Steamboat Springs to perform with eight local school groups. Over the course of the week, Simon rehearsed with each group at the schools and at the Strings Pavilion, where students took field trips to watch their peers perform. The program concluded with two nights of performances, just about filling the house with friends, family members, teachers and other supporters of young musicians.

Students Arriving at the Pavilion for Field Trips

But Strings School Days is more than just a weeklong event. In May of 2010, Simon met with all the groups. After getting a feel for each group, he decided to write original pieces specifically for the Christian Heritage Choir, the Lowell Whiteman Primary School String Orchestra, the 7th Grade Percussion Ensemble and the Yampa Valley Select Band. Simon visited Steamboat Springs again in January to see how the ensembles sounded and to give them notes for the May concerts.
At the shows, Simon expressed his gratitude that Steamboat Springs recently voted to keep the fifth grade band program, advocating that the arts are important for students’ development and experiences. Programs such as Strings School Days excite students about the arts, bonding them with a group of peers, motivating them to practice music for a World Premiere and giving them the chance to perform with a professional.
The students spoke positively about the experience, describing it as “special,” “cool” and “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
“The students are inspired and boy has it transformed my percussionists! I know that you were really only here a short time but you made an incredible and lasting impact on our school!” –Band Director Jim Knapp to Simon Boyar
“What an opportunity for my students!   You brought an element to their performance that they have never experienced.   It was exciting for me and I can only imagine the impact on them!  They are still talking about it- of course.” – Strings Director Mary Anne Fairlie to Simon Boyar
Check out our links section on the side bar for photos and videos of Strings School Days.

Posted on May 17, 2011
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