Reflections on Center Stage Strings’ 1st year!


A big Thank You to Ken Elias for his wonderfully extensive and passionate narrative!  Ken recalls the events leading up to the creation of the camp and reminisces about the week itself.  Click here to read the full story.  An excerpt is listed below.

I. Eleven Weeks

About four months ago I got a call from Bill Haxton.  He was excited about something. He had met a visitor to Three Rivers outside Sierra Subs, an engaging young woman, who told him that some months earlier her parents had moved to Three Rivers, and she was visiting them.  It was her first time seeing our town, and she was interested to learn about it and its people.

At some point in the conversation, quite by chance, she mentioned she played the violin.  “Really!” said Bill.  They then had quite an animated conversation about the Concert on the Grass, and Bill expressed our eagerness to welcome her to our town and have her perhaps participate in our annual Fall outdoor concert.  They exchanged contact information and resolved to stay in touch.

A day or two later Bill sent me an email with an internet link.  It was to a YouTube video of this same woman playing a beautiful violin solo with a symphony orchestra. Bill implored me, “You simply must hear her!”  He was right.  And since then, some of these YouTube links have been making the rounds in Three Rivers, and now, everyone knows her name, she is Danielle Belen.

Subsequently Bill and Anne invited some folks to their house for dinner to meet Danielle’s husband, Ryan Vaughn, and her parents, Rudy and Deniese Nesmith.  The conversation centered on an idea that Danielle had gotten, based in part on her warm welcome by Bill and other people in town.  What if Three Rivers were to host a summer music camp for extraordinary students, the kind of students that she taught at The Colburn School in Los Angeles? What would it look like? What would it take to make it happen? How much would it cost? Where could it take place, what facilities were available? What pianos were available? How many people might attend a concert or two? Lots and lots of questions were thrown about, and possibilities considered………click to read full story

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