Concert field trip inspires young musicians |

Concert field trip inspires young musicians

When Kylee White finished reading her fortune aloud after her birthday dinner April 5, her grandma already knew it was meant to be.

The 9-year-old Grass Valley girl, from a non-musical family, had expressed an interest in music. More specifically, the violin.

Just days later, Kylee took her first lesson and hasn’t put her instrument down for long ever since, on a serendipitous path her grandma refers to as “a beautiful thing.”

Weeks earlier, on March 18, Kylee attended a field trip with her class from Scotten School to hear a live classical music concert by the St. Lawrence String Quartet. The performance, presented by InConcert Sierra, was one of two that day. Through the Third Grade Education Concert program, more than 650 elementary students from around western Nevada County were bussed to InConcert Sierra’s Grass Valley venue to experience the thrill of live classical music.

Ken Hardin, InConcert Sierra artistic director, said the organization provides the concerts at no charge to the schools’ thanks, in part, to generous donors and grants from the community, said Artistic Director Ken Hardin.

For Kylee — who had never been to a classical music concert before — the experience of hearing and seeing live music cemented her passion for violin.

“It’s pretty. I like how you hold it and it’s the perfect size for me,” the exuberant third-grader said about her preference for the violin, as compared with the cello or viola, the instruments that round out a traditional string quartet.

Kylee said she especially liked St. Lawrence violinist Geoff Nuttall. His charismatic personality kept students engaged and fascinated with works by Haydn and Beethoven. He helped guide through the pieces by demonstrating the emotional ranges within the music itself – from mad to sad to happy. The students also learned specific details about the string instruments and the bows the musicians used on stage.

“This is exactly the response we hope to get when introducing students to live classical music,” said Hardin. “Our goal is to create the spark that will light a lifelong love of classical music for new generations. Knowing that it encourages children to sign up for lessons – or even increase their practice time on current instruments – brings an incredible feeling of joy to all involved with these Third Grade Concerts, from the InConcert Sierra staff to volunteers to our board of directors.”

This year, the program expanded to include four new schools.

After the concert, Kylee told her grandma that she loved it and wanted lessons. Kylee’s grandma, Samie White, said this newfound passion of Kylee’s came together auspiciously, starting with her fortune. Almost immediately after she asked for lessons White found a violin teacher.

“Music is such a good thing. It’s good for the soul, it’s good for the heart,” White said.

Kylee had her first lesson April 10. She has been practicing daily ever since.

“She goes to bed wanting to play the violin, she wakes up wanting to play it,” White said with a broad smile.

“I love violins!” Kylee stated emphatically.

In addition to the Third Grade Education Concerts, InConcert Sierra offers free or reduced priced youth tickets to their Third Sunday Series performances with the purchase of a general admission ticket. They also have grants for young musicians 12-23 and award scholarships each year to local high school seniors seeking to pursue degrees in music at higher education institutions. In addition, InConcert Sierra partners with the Nevada County Library to present free mini-concerts for seven weeks during the Summer Reading Program. The nonprofit is currently working on new music-related initiatives for youth and seniors in our community for the 2019-2020 season.

For more information about InConcert Sierra Education opportunities, please visit

Source: InConcert Sierra

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