Young Artists Music Academy fundraiser features unique works of musical art

A cello that’s now a clock. A violin transformed into a beautiful painting. A variety of styles and inspirations that create show-stopping centerpieces to feature in your home. One of a kind, once unplayable-violins painted and repurposed by renowned artists are the feature items at Piano by Request, a fundraiser supporting young musicians, May 11, 6:30 p.m. at Casa.

Crowsnest Pass artist Kari Lehr's violin features a black bear in a prairie wilderness setting.

Hosted by the University of Lethbridge Conservatory of Music, 100 per cent of funds raised will support subsidies for young musicians to participate in the Young Artists Music Academy, an intensive performance-based program for teen-aged musicians. This one-time fundraising event is centred around a live auction of beautifully crafted stringed instruments found in the depths of the Conservatory’s collection.

“We wanted to find a way to repurpose some of our older violins, rather than just throw them out, so I approached some local artists to transform them into art and it kind of snow-balled from there. The pieces are more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. They are simply stunning works of art,” says Conservatory Director, Breeanne Fuller. “We started with an artist in the Crowsnest Pass, Tony Partridge, and after he mentioned it to his friends we soon had artists like Kari Lehr offering to contribute. It has been amazing to see how generous these artists have been. I’m sure the pieces took an incredible amount of time to create.”

Kari Lehr, an artist based in the Crowsnest Pass, works primarily in acrylic, often incorporating mixed media. Her violin features a black bear in a prairie wilderness setting. Prints of Lehr’s work is sold at over 100 retail locations across Canada and the US, so this is a unique chance to get your hands on an original work.

Artist Tony Partridge is also from the Crowsnest Pass.

Tamminga-Paton’s piece features a teal centre and gorgeous birds in action. She titles it Morning Choir (Lark Ascending), with the text of the poem beautifully scribed on the back of the violin. Tony Partridge’s classic style features a floral front and angelic back providing two unique display options. Mark Robinson’s violin is marbled in tones of blue. Diana Zasadny’s artwork is inspired by excursions in the deserts, prairies and mountains. And there’s more. All of the original artworks are currently on display at Casa for advance viewing and bidding.

Launched in 2017, the Young Artists Music Academy is open to teenaged classical strings players, percussionists, pianists and vocalists looking for intensive performance-based training. It includes several activities per week that aim to expand the awareness, skills and experiences of the classical musician optimizing the success of the most dedicated and gifted young musicians.

“Because of the intensive nature of this program, the costs to the students could become very expensive,” says Fuller. “We felt strongly that cost should not hinder a student’s ability to be part of this program, so a model was devised that subsidizes the costs to the students by 70 percent.  All funds raised at Piano by Request will go to benefiting the youth in this program. We are proud to say that because of these subsidies, our music academy is within reach for any committed young musician in this community.”

Piano by Request includes appetizers, drinks, live and silent auction, and live music in a piano-bar style with Anna McBryan. Tickets are $40 each or $360 for a table, which includes wine and reserved seating. Tickets are available at the Conservatory of Music front desk, located at Casa (230 8 St S) or by phone at 403-329-2304. Advanced bidding on the live auction will be accepted until May 10.