Festival's apprentice<br>program off the ground
GC VILLAGE — Native American high-school students interested in music composition are getting a grade-A education through the Grand Canyon Music Festival.
Michael Begay, who attends Greyhills Academy, is among those who participates in the Native American Apprenticeship Program.
The Native American Composer Apprentice Program is being introduced this season to teach the process of music composition to the Native American students.
The students learn how to create ideas and compose those ideas for various musical instruments, music notation, beginning orchestration and presenting music to others professionally.
"This year, the students will be formally introduced on the nights of Sept. 21 and 22 during the festival," said Clare Hoffman, one of the founders of the program. "They will also attend rehearsals with members of the Miro Quartet. Next year, we hope to have a pre-concert recital featuring the students' works."
Participating students include:
o Charo Austin, guitar, Monument Valley High School.
o Eileen Baca, cello, Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy.
o Michael Begay, guitar, Greyhills Academy.
o Alvin Belagody, guitar, Tuba City High School.
o Eugene V. Henry, guitar, trombone and voice, Kayenta High School.
o Ashely Tewa, piano and trombone, Tuba City High School.
On Sept. 21-22, the students will be introduced in the Shrine of the Ages lobby.
The result of their studies, short pieces written by the students for the string quartet, will be the focus of this year's outreach programs to schools in September at eight Navajo and Hopi schools as well as Grand Canyon School.
The students have been studying with resident composer Brent Michael Davids. His recent composition, "The Last of James Fenimore Cooper," was commissioned for the Miro Quartet by the Caramoor International Music Festival and will make its Arizona premiere during the Grand Canyon Music Festival on the night of Sept. 22.
Performed by the Miro Quartet, the piece is a tribute to Davids' Native American heritage and is dedicated to his tribe, the surviving Mohicans, the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal community and to persevering, longevity, humor and their unique way of life.
Last year, Davids worked with Native American students during a five-month period of residency.
The festival administers the Native American Composer Apprentice Program through various sources of support, including the National Endowment for the Arts and the Arizona Commission of the Arts with funding from the State of Arizona.
The festival was awarded a $7,500 grant from the NEA to support the pilot year of the program.
"Support from the NEA is an honor and although the festival has received many awards from the NEA in the past, this is the first time that the festival has designed a project like the NACAP that will be ongoing," Robert Bonfiglio said.
The 18th annual Grand Canyon Music Festival will run from Sept. 7-22 at the Shrine of the Ages in Grand Canyon National Park.
This year's festival will feature baritone Jubilant Sykes in solo recital and chamber music concerts featuring spirituals and contemporary music.
The Miro Quartet and the Miami String Quartet will perform as well as pianist Alan Chow, Maria Bachman on violin, Jon Klibonoff on piano and festival founders Clare Hoffman on flute and Robert Bonfiglio on harmonica.
On the first few nights, virtuosity and personality combine Sept. 7-8 with a world premiere of Rodrigo's Rhapsody for Harmonica.
There will be performances by Bachman, Klibonoff, Bonfiglio and Hoffman, who will play Debussy's "Prelude to Afternoon of a Faun," Brahams Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 3 in D Minor, songs by George Gershwin and music by Franck, Milhaud, Piazolla and Ravel.
All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults and $8 for children.
For more information:
o Call 638-9215 or toll-free at 1-800-997-8285.
o Go online to the festival's Web site at: www.grandcanyonmusicfest.org.