Youth music program grows in its second year |

Youth music program grows in its second year

Fifth-grader Natalya Jones is no longer a rookie when it comes to playing the clarinet.

She’s back for her second year with the Truckee Youth Music Program and is ready to master the next level of playing her instrument.

“I want to get to higher-level songs,” Jones said. “I want to learn new notes and stuff.”

On the first day of the Truckee Youth Music Program Wednesday, Jones met her new teacher, Kelsey Bolstad.

Bolstad, a sophomore at Tahoe Truckee High School, is one of eight volunteers for the growing music program, which has 35 students this year. The program also added violin and percussion lessons for students. Last year the program had 20 students, with four volunteers teaching piano, clarinet, flute and trumpet.

Sophomore Kate MacKenzie returned to teach trumpet and piano. There are still only two people leading the program: high school senior Laurel Barchas and her mother, Karen.

Laurel began the program last year, with the goal to make music lessons available to low-income Truckee Elementary School students. She found donors in the community – through local service clubs, businesses, individuals and the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation – to pay for instruments and supplies.

“It’s hard for some of these kids who can’t afford to rent or buy instruments,” Laurel told the Sierra Sun earlier this year.

Laurel wanted everyone to have the option to learn music, something she has enjoyed since her childhood.

For her work with the program, Laurel has received both local and national recognition. Most recently she was named one of the coolest girls in America by YM magazine. She will appear in the November issue.

Meet the new teachers

— Sophomore Karen Maass will teach flute. She plays clarinet in the high school symphonic band and saxophone in jazz band. Maass began playing music in fifth grade with the Truckee Elementary summer school band.

— Sophomore Kelsey Bolstad has been playing music since sixth grade and continues to play clarinet in the symphonic band and plays saxophone in jazz band. She will teach her students the clarinet.

— Sophomore Aaron Martin will teach percussion. Martin has five years of experience and plays percussion in the symphonic and jazz bands at Tahoe Truckee High School.

— Junior Leah Chase has been playing music for six years. She will join Martin in teaching percussion. Chase plays percussion, piano and bass in the symphonic and jazz bands.

— Freshman Sara Grossman will begin teaching flute once soccer season is over in mid-November. Grossman began taking piano lessons at age 6 and switched to flute four years ago.

— Junior Camille Gannam, also playing soccer until mid-November, will be the Truckee Youth Music Program’s first violin teacher. She was first violinist in the Reno Concert Orchestra in seventh and eighth grades. Now she plays in a string trio at University of Nevada, Reno.

-Teacher bios courtesy of Truckee Youth Music program.

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