As we begin the celebrations of our 25th Season, we are receiving words of support from former Apprentices and Associates.
Eighth Blackbird, the Grammy -winning ensemble, sent this:
In 1998 we were six kids driving across the country. We’d started a summer earlier, participating in five different summer festivals over eight weeks, road tripping from Ohio to Virginia, Arkansas, Michigan, Connecticut, back to Virginia, and finally Pennsylvania. Aside from being music festivals, those five destinations all had something else in common. They were all organizations that decided to take a chance on a very young group of kids who were too naive to know that what they were trying to do was audacious. At the time, we didn’t understand how crucial these early-adopters were to our growth. They gifted us with rehearsal goals and performance opportunities, but they also gifted us with challenges that taught us to learn by doing: production questions, administrative matters, speaking professionally to an audience, or changing a flat tire at 5am just north of Nashville.
The Hot Springs Music Festival even had the audacity to ask us back a year later. Giving those six kids a chance is the exact thing that gave Eighth Blackbird the boost needed to earn four GRAMMY Awards and a MacArthur over the following two decades. But more importantly now, we’ve earned perspective, paid for in miles, and know that we, too, rarely take the time to look back and appreciate the people and places that made it possible to live a life in the arts. An extraordinary gift indeed, deserving of extraordinary appreciation.
To the Hot Springs Music Festival, we offer our very deepest thanks for this gift that we can never fully reciprocate. Congratulations, to you, for 25 remarkable years.
Michael Duvall, Eighth Blackbird founder, co-artistic director, and percussionist
Hot Springs Music Festival is a joyful and inspiring musical experience which has directly impacted my professional life!
In a happy holler of the Ouachita Mountains, I was privileged to work with world- class musicians and teachers.
My experiences with the conductors, instrumental mentors, administrators, and fellow apprentices at Hot Springs were full of generosity, playfulness, and optimism.
This festival’s combination of private lessons, masterclasses, chamber music, and orchestra concerts provides an intensive environment in which to study all aspects of music performance and to share this with the local community. The day after I left Hot Springs Music Festival in 2017, I advanced to the finals of a professional orchestra audition for the first time.
Within the next few months, I had won two positions which I maintain to this day, while currently on trial for a third orchestral position.
I tie this success to some of the lessons I learned at Hot Springs, in particular from the flute mentor, Dr. Virginia Broffitt Kunzer. Her genuine enthusiasm and humor have also impacted my own college teaching.
I am so grateful for this time in my life as well as its continuing relationships.
Thank you, Hot Springs Music Festival!
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Kathryne Salo, DMA
Principal Flute, Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra
Third Flute/Piccolo, Lansing Symphony Orchestra
Instructor of Flute, Kellogg Community College
Faculty, Ada Conservatory of Music
Miyazawa Emerging Artist