Sally Gracie TwispBy Sally Gracie

There was so much going on the weekend before last (April 25 – 27) that I couldn’t fit everything into last week’s column, and I just have to write about Pam Hunt’s studio recital at the Community Center on the afternoon on April 26. I was so impressed with Pam’s violin students’ performances. And with Pam herself.

Although I could only stay for the younger students’ performances in the first half of Saturday’s program, I had by happenstance listened to a few of Pam’s most accomplished students as they rehearsed on Friday. Coming down the stairway to the gym, I thought I was hearing a professional CD playing. When I walked into the gym, I was astounded to find young Gedi Weidig confidently playing “Concerto in A Minor” by Vivaldi.

As I sorted books in the back room, I was entertained by Keeley Brooks rehearsing “Variations on La Folia” by Corelli and Justice Owens playing “Tambourin” by Gretry.

I guess I may have expected lots of squeaks and squawks from such young musicians — all still in elementary school — but heard not one. Such poise.

Saturday’s recital began with Lily White performing from “Concerto No. 5” by Seitz. Lily is an accomplished teenage musician who has played her instrument since third grade. Then the 12 younger or less-experienced students began their performances (Lily had gone first so she could go to her job).

They had to be nervous, but Pam was right there to encourage each one. For many, this was their first recital in front of a large audience, but after Pam tuned their violins for them, they seemed poised and ready to play. Emmet Bondi played two pieces, “Long, Long Ago” and “Allegro” by Suzuki, with amazing confidence for a 6-year-old. Those who approached the podium reluctantly to perform ran back to their parents with big smiles on their faces when they finished.

Sarah Brooks, Keeley’s mother, calls Pam an “amazing teacher who “pulls music out of the kids so that they’re feeling it and not just playing the notes.” During the recital it was apparent that Pam was nurturing each musician, the strugglers and the exceptional alike.

Pam and her violinists are also fortunate to have two exceptional piano accompanists, Linda Mendro and Nancy Acheson. Linda, who donates her time for the students, played for the first part of the program. She was so closely in tune with the student performers she quickly adapted to any changes in tempo or to the composition itself.

Now that the weather has changed for the better, old friends are coming back to visit the valley. I ran into Ellen Hunter at the Bee-Cause sale at the Community Center on Saturday. Not only does she look happy and healthy, but she’s also found a good life in her retirement community in Mount Vernon. She’s found new friends and ways to serve her church and community on the west side. Of course, she says she “misses the valley.”

Former Twisp residents Gretchen Gibford and her daughter Ann Bergman will be in town on Monday. They plan to go for lunch at the Senior Center and stop in to visit with Terry Dixon at the ‘new’ Twisp Library. Now 97 years old, Mrs. Gibford was one of the founders of the original town library. She lives in Spokane, and would love to see some of her old friends while she is here.

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