To: Albuquerque Youth Orchestra Students and parents
From: Kathleen Hill, Conductor, Albuquerque Youth Orchestra
Dear AYO students and parents,
In recent weeks, as I reflected on the 2016-2017 Youth Orchestra season, I have thought about the amazing journey I experienced with our wonderful students. I thought about the challenges, successes and amazing rewards of leading and mentoring such a wonderful group of young adults. The musical growth, personal growth and incredible response to unspeakable tragedy by YO students reminded me of the importance of who we are and what we do. It also led me to consider my personal priorities and focus on ways I can impact my own community of Las Cruces through music, while continuing to serve the students in AYSP, an organization that impacted my life for four years as a student and 22 years as viola coach.
Soon after we started our season in August, I was offered a teaching position at an arts charter high school in Las Cruces. I was excited to become part of their team and accepted the position. I was also approached by a local private school with the opportunity to teach a fourth-grade violin class as a tuition exchange, helping two of my grandchildren to attend school. It has become impossible to serve my community and serve YO students and parents with 100% of my attention.
For these reasons, and after much prayer and soul-searching, I’ve made the difficult decision to step down from the position of YO conductor effective after the November 9th performance.
It has been an incredible honor to have had the opportunity to work with each of you in the organization that had such a profound impact on my life, both as a student and as a music educator in Albuquerque. Dale Kempter not only saved my life, but became a lifelong mentor, confidant, and friend and I am humbled to have been a part of his indelible legacy. This decision was a very difficult one, and one I have not taken lightly.
I am looking forward to the next two and a half months as we prepare an awesome concert that we will perform on Nov. 2 and Nov. 9. Our hard work together and the musical success it will bring is one of the things that makes being musicians so much fun.
I encourage all of you to continue in your growth as musicians and as members of AYSP. As I stated above, this organization is capable of changing lives, not only musically, but in every aspect. Your choice to participate in AYSP speaks volumes about you as students and individuals. I will follow your progress from afar.
We rely on donations from generous individuals and businesses like you to provide symphonic performance experiences to Albuquerque’s talented young musicians and access to music education for students in need.