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o t t So The Newsletter of the Denver Young Artists Orchestra

e c o V SPRING 2018

Denver Young Artists Orchestra Celebrates with 40th Anniversary Concert and Gala

Alums, musicians, and longtime supporters were all on-hand March 18th to celebrate DYAO’s 40 years of excellence, providing the finest professional musical training to thousands of Colorado’s talented musicians.  Gala chair, Fran Trujillo and DYAO staff, Kelly Waltrip and Rachel Mullen, created a festive evening at the Wellshire Event Center, filled with music by young musicians from all three ensembles.  Thanks to Lily Primus, harp; Christina Johnson, YAO concertmaster and concerto competition winner; Michael Young and Lauren Bensaid, violin; Elissa Volling and Makenna Oest, viola; Sam Bensaid, Matthew Wiest, Reid Kinzie, and Grant Kinzie, cello. Brass players Dylan Perez, trombone, and Kyterra Waters, trumpet, also entertained guests. The evening closed with a joyous  performance by YAO alums Andrew Briggs, cello, and  Michael Williams, flute, who are both part of the Colorado Symphony this season. Conservatory Orchestras conductor, Nicholas Gilmore, was dynamic as our MC for the evening, and String Ensembles conductor, Carmen Wiest, proudly presented the “Music Educator of the Year” award to violinist Margaret Gutierrez,  a dedicated teacher of DYAO students and active performer in the Denver metro area.   Thanks to Lynn Slouka and Suzanne Ryan for their display of historic panels with highlights and pictures from each decade - showcasing conductors and memorable tours through the years, as well as special performances and awards received. Tables were elegantly designed by Eileen Griffin, featuring red roses and handsome handmade wooden

Upcoming Events Transformations: Young Artists Orchestra Sunday, April 29th, 2:30pm Boettcher Concert Hall

Mile High Drum & Percussion Festival Saturday, May 5th, 9:00am-7:00pm Englewood High School

Spring Preludes: String Ensembles and Conservatory Orchestras Sunday, May 6th, 4:00pm Central Presbyterian Church

Chamber Music Workshop Monday, June 4th- Friday, June 8th First Plymouth Congregational Church For more information, visit

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40th Anniversary Concert and Gala cont.

Painted Violins for Sale

works by John Waltrip.

For 14 years, DYAO has uniquely combined visual art with performance through the Painted Violins. There are still several beautiful pieces available. To view them all, like Ed McCarthy Allen’s, Music by Candle Light, and for more information, visit paintedviolins.

With the support of friends like you, we raised over $40,000 for DYAO programs and scholarships. A special thanks to businesses, individuals, and organizations who provided an enticing array of items for the silent auction, to Carboy Winery for  generously donating the wine, and all the volunteers, musicians, board members who made this 40th such a success. The event began on a warm, spring afternoon and ended on a chilly, snowy evening, with temperatures dropping  nearly 30 degrees…none of which dampened the good feelings of this warm, celebratory gathering! DYAO was also featured in the Denver Post for the 40th Anniversary Spectacular Concert. An excerpt from one of our current DYAO members read: “The magnitude of this concert is the biggest of my life,” Owen Eichenseer, 15, said. “I’m playing with high-quality people.” Program highlights included excerpts from Stravinsky’s Firebird and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. Special thanks to Jim Medford and Paul Docktor ( for photos from the 40th Anniversary Gala. All can be viewed on DYAO’s Facebook page.

Check It Out DYAO Alumni! Where would DYAO be without all of the people who have been connected to us for the past 40 years? We are eager to hear and share the latest with you, DYAO alumni! With thousands of individuals who have been a part of the DYAO family, we know there are stories to share. We spent time compiling information about our alumni for our 40th Anniversary and are excited about our refreshed alumni page on our website. Check it out at We know our information there isn’t complete, and are hopeful you can connect with us to share more. Fill out the form on the website, or detatch this section and mail it to DYAO (address at bottom of newsletter). We can’t wait to hear from you! Name:_________________________________________ Email:_________________________________________ Mailing Address:________________________________ Phone Number:_________________________________ Years in DYAO (19xx, 20xx, ie):____________________

DYAO Memory: ________________________________ ______________________________________________ ______________________________________________ ______________________________________________ ______________________________________________

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Congratulations to Concerto and Composition Competition Winners Christina Johnson, violin, Young Artists Orchestra

Christina Johnson is a sixteen-year-old Colorado native. Joining the Denver Young Artists’ Orchestra in 2014, she has performed as concertmaster during the past three seasons. Christina has soloed with the Littleton Symphony on two occasions and has played as a substitute section leader with the Arapahoe Philharmonic Orchestra. As a home-schooled high school junior, she enjoys sharing music in the community with her string quartet of musicians from DYAO. Christina began violin lessons at age two and is the youngest of eight siblings who all play stringed instruments. A student of James Maurer for the past 6 years, she has previously studied with Mary Ann Mears, Joanna (Johnson) Malm, and Jacqueline Maurer. Christina also plays piano and was the 2017 FMTA Sonatina Festival Winner. Christina plays the Barber Violin Concerto, April 29th at Boettcher Concert Hall.

Sophie Kargarzadeh, cello, Conservatory Orchestras

Sophie Kargarzadeh lives in Castle Rock, CO with her parents and her sister. She is 13-years-old and a 7th grader at Castle Rock Middle School. Sophie’s favorite subjects are French and Science. In her free time, she enjoys doing athletic activities, art, cooking, and having fun with friends and family. Sophie began playing cello and piano at age five with her teacher Elena Kargarzadeh. Sophie’s favorite composer is Bach. She is grateful to be a member of the DYAO and will perform, Kabalevsky, Concerto in g minor, 1st movement May 6th at Central Presbyterian Church.

Rohini Kompella, violin, String Ensembles

Rohini Kompella, a 7th grade honors student at Campus Middle School, started violin lessons at age 5. Since 2016, she has played with the Cherry Creek School District Honor Orchestra and Campus Middle School Chamber Orchestra. Rohini joined the Denver Young Artists Orchestra (DYAO) String Ensembles in 2017. Rohini also had the honor to receive a Masterclass from Dr. Linda Wang in 2017. Rohini is currently training with Yerim Kim. She plays Concerto in G Minor, op. 12, No.1 by Vivaldi, May 6th at Central Presbyterian Church.

Leslie Wilburn, Composer

Leslie Wilburn (age 16) is a Denver composer, pianist, violinist, violist, and actor who began musical studies at the age of 5 on the violin. Leslie is the 2018 cochampion of the Broomfield Symphony Concerto Competition (piano); and has won multiple state awards in piano performance and composition with the National Federation of Music Clubs, a Concerto Competition with DYAO String Ensemble (violin, 2011), honorable mentions (violin) in the DYAO Conservatory Orchestra Concerto Competition (2014) and in the Colorado Young Sinfonia Concerto Competition (2016, 2018); and Solo Honors Recitals at various summer music camps (violin). At the age of 12, Leslie toured Italy, France, and Spain with the DYAO Travel Orchestra, and in 2016 was Co-Principal Violist for the DYAO New York tour, which included two performances at Carnegie Hall. Leslie currently studies piano/composition with Dr. Jeremy Dittus, composition with Deborah De La Torre, viola and violin with Basil Vendryes, and orchestral performance (concertmaster) with Dr. Enrique Lasansky at the Denver School of the Arts. Leslie’s orginal composition, Valse Scherzando, will be performed April 29th at Boettcher Concert Hall.

DYAO Students in the Community Students Perform at Home Depot, Whole Foods, local venues Every year, DYAO students are required to perform at least one free outreach concert in the Front Range community. These performances, called Music Unexpected, bring classical music out of the concert hall to an audience that may not typically experience it. This year, outreach performances took place in schools, retirement facilities and even restaurants. The Home Depot in Belmar was one such unexpected location. On April 7th, next to the lighting aisle, DYAO students performed during the Home Depot kid’s clinic. The unique setting was met with an appreciative audience for our young musicians in the community! D Y A O | 13 8 5 S . C o l o r a d o B l v d . S u i t e A 7 2 2 | D e n v e r, C O 8 0 2 2 2 | w w w . d y a o . o r g | 3 0 3 . 4 3 3 . 24 2 0

We need your help!

Board & Staff

In honor of DYAO’s 40th Anniversary, the first $10,000 of new or increased donations are matched through a generous gift from the Hodges Charitable Foundation.

Board of Directors Arthur Hodges, President Eileen Griffin, Vice-President Susan Oakes, Vice-President Matt Gross, Treasurer Lynn Slouka, Secretary Alberta Buckman Greg Dickson Tom Herrington John Kinzie Ron Lamberson Suzanne Ryan David Schans Maria Eugenia Tapia, DMA Fran Trujillo Kelly Waltrip (Executive Director)

We have until the end of the season to accomplish this goal and WE ARE SO CLOSE! Can you help us reach our goal and in doing so, double your impact? It’s easy and no donation is too small to make a difference. Use the enclosed envelope or visit to contribute today. We’re thankful for you!

DYAO’s Impact Only one-third of DYAO’s annual expenses are met through tuition and fees. The remainder comes from friends like you. Help us support the world’s future professional classical musicians, like Michael, by making a donation today. “DYAO was such a pivotal part of my musical education. The supportive environment and high artistic expectations provided an opportunity to build my confidence as a flutist and to develop my own musical voice. I am so grateful for my four years in YAO. It truly gave me a solid foundation of orchestral playing.” ~ Michael Willams, DYAO Alum and member of the Colorado Symphony

To learn more about making a donation and the history of DYAO, visit and DYAO is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and your donation is tax-deductible.

Parent Representatives Jennifer Bensaid Eric Colsman Student Representative Chloe Schans (YAO) Artistic Staff Wes Kenney - Music Director/ Young Artists Orchestra Conductor Carmen Wiest - String Ensembles Conductor Nicholas Gilmore - Conservatory Orchestras Conductor Adam Torres - Assistant Conductor, Young Artists Orchestra Jeffrey Rubin - Assistant Conductor, Conservatory Orchestra South Megan Rubin - Assistant Conductor, Conservatory Orchestra North Administrative Staff Kelly Waltrip - Executive Director Rachel Mullen - Development & Marketing Director Julie Strom - Orchestra Manager Victoria Vanest - Administrative & Patron Services Coordinator Lynn Slouka - Office Volunteer

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DYAO Spring 2018 Newsletter  
DYAO Spring 2018 Newsletter