Teacher's Passion Lives On In The Music


When school music teacher Ileane Gonzales died in March, her friend and fellow music teacher Lois Atkin vowed to carry on the rich teaching tradition Gonzales had established in Payson.

When Gonzales became ill, Atkin filled in for her, and when Gonzales died, Atkin took over some of her school duties.

Gonzales' dedication to music and teaching continues to inspire those who knew her, and they've dedicated Payson's annual Elementary Strings and Band Concert May 16 to her. The summer music camp Gonzales started now bears her name, and beginning July 10, it will provide kindergarten through eighth-grade students with music instruction.

Gonzales started the music camp a year after arriving in Payson, and she ran it for 12 years.

"This is offered to all students in the district and surrounding areas and is open to all public and private school students," said Greg Larkins, a Payson High School librarian, who will be sharing the camp's organizational chores with PHS band instructor Larry Potvin this year.

The fees for the camp went up this year from $15 to $40 per student because the Rim Civic Orchestra, which previously financed the program, couldn't do so this year, Larkins said.

The Rim Civic Orchestra will offer camp scholarships based on need, Larkins said.

"We're trying to enhance what the teachers are doing in the schools, give the beginning students a head start and give the more advanced students a chance to improve on their instruments," he said.

Atkin, who is teaching 66 kindergarten students from Payson, Frontier and Julia Randall elementary schools how to play the violin, said a number of her kindergarten students will attend the camp. Her kindergarten strings students will perform an original piece, "Ode to Mrs. Gonzales," during the May 16 concert.

Atkin's beginning and advanced violin students, and beginning and advanced band students from all three elementary schools also will perform during the concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 16 in the PHS auditorium.

The deadline for pre-registration for the Ileane Gonzales Summer Music Camp is May 24.

Students also can register for the 32 hours of instruction on the first day of camp, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 10 through July 20. For information on the Ileane Gonzales Summer Music Camp, call Larry Potvin or Greg Larkins at 474-2233.

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