Musicians supporting their school with song

March 18, 2007|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.-One hand firmly cradling the bow and the other moving in rhythm to the black dots, Monica Miller, 13, encourages sound from a small violin.

For months she has been practicing the runs of Veracini's "Gigue Sonata in D Minor" doing her best to make the classic music like second nature.

Pulling the bow across the final string, Monica sighs with relief.

"I was nervous so I tried to concentrate on the song as best I could," she said.

Dozens of young musicians like Monica fought their nerves on Saturday to raise money for the Cumberland Valley School of Music (CVSM) at the 16th annual Performathon.

"The Performathon is the one event I feel reflects what the school is about," said Andrew Sussman, executive director of CVSM.


Since 1990 the school has been educating area musicians and vocalists of all ages. Today, Sussman said the school has more than 500 students and 50 faculty members.

Educating students is the easy part for Sussman, raising money and finding teachers for the small nonprofit school is the challenge.

"Our goal is to raise $11,000," he said. "Tuition only goes so far and each student is subsidized so this is one of our big fundraisers."

Every student who performed raised some amount of money, Sussman said, but he emphasized that there was not a minimum amount needed to perform.

Framed against the gilded backdrop of Wilson College's Thomson Chapel, students of all ages performed jazz, classical and modern sounds.

Penn State Mont Alto professor Alfred Mueller "got people moving" at the event with some rock 'n' roll with his guitar.

Mueller said he has spent the last two years taking lessons from CVSM instructor Geoffrey Weeks and getting to know his guitar for the second time.

"I started playing when I was 5," Mueller said. "I didn't play while I was in college or grad school so when I picked it up again, I only remembered bits and pieces."

While Mueller plays his guitar to have fun and relieve stress, he also sets an example for his 8-year-old daughter, Helena, who studies piano at CVSM.

"She is better than I am, she hit every note today," he said. "I fully encourage her with her music."

Sussman said CVSM hosts many performances and recitals throughout the year.

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