Chamber music is alive and well in Payson. There has been an orchestra and several chamber groups in Payson over the years.
Now, Ruth Schouten, conductor, and a small group of dedicated musicians will offer a free concert, with the help of students enrolled in a music class at Gila Community College.
The concert will feature both teachers and students presenting their final portfolio for a class they started in August. The concert will be held at the college on Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. in the community room. They are playing diverse music, from classical to fiddle. Joining the chamber are piano students of Virginia Harris who will perform individually.
Schouten taught school music programs in Utah and has a degree in Music Education from Brigham Young University. “I heard about the orchestra 10 years ago when we moved here, and started out just coming and playing,” said Schouten.
She had conducting experience in schools and was approached to restart the chamber ensemble.
The current group includes Evelyn Dimbat on cello, Beverly Still Savage, Leonard Garside and Alyssa Still on violin, Barbara Dancho and Janice Coombs on flute, with Katie Scouten, piano accompanist.
“Evelyn has been playing for a long time in community groups. Beverly has been a staunch supporter trying to keep strings in the schools and community,” said Schouten.
Allysa Still and Katie Schouten are both from Rim Country Middle School. Apparently, there is not a lot going on for strings in the schools right now. “They have, in the past, had trouble finding teachers and funding. This is a for-credit community college course and all ages are involved,” said Schouten.
The individual piano pieces will be played by Jesse Snively, Katie and Lucy Schouten and Shannon Howard. Their teacher, Harris was chair of the Music Department at Mount Union College in Ohio.
She is the director of music at Mount Cross Lutheran Church, pianist for the Payson Choral Society, and the director of Harris Music Studio in Payson.
The chamber group is growing. “We have a lot of people in the community who play music and we welcome them to come to the class this spring semester and play the music they enjoy,” said Ruth Schouten.
The class will start anew with a fresh batch of students on Jan. 7, with rehearsals at Payson High School band room.
To register, go directly to the Gila Community College Payson Campus at 201 N. Mud Springs Road, or log on to www.GilaCCC.org.
Come start your holiday season at the free chamber concert on Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. in the community room at Gila County Community College.