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CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia Youth Symphony leaders encourage art and music lovers alike to place bids today for the 11 donated violins and one small cello that have been transformed by local artists for a fundraiser for the non-profit group.
The painted instruments are available through an online auction through 2:45 p.m. on Sunday , just before the symphony's 3 p.m. "Winter Concert" at the Scottish Rite Temple, 406 Capitol St. The bidding site is www.biddingforgood.com/WVYS.
The organization provides professional instrumental instruction and performance opportunities to more than 115 young musicians from the region, and supports five music ensembles and nine chamber groups. It is funded through nominal tuition, grants and individual and corporate donors.
"Music is a wonderful language," said Marlies Charbonniez, a youth symphony board member heading the fundraiser, in describing what drives her passion for providing musical education to young West Virginians. She said that giving a young musician the opportunity to play live music with others positively changes their lives.
"Being in the youth symphony is transforming. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It will affect a youngster in a life changing way so I am so glad to give children this opportunity. Of course, providing this costs money so I wish for many people to bid on the violins and to come and see these young people perform," Charbonniez said.
Marjorie Cooke, general manager of the youth symphony, said: "Auction proceeds will support professional musician and staff salaries, music expenses, printing and marketing expenses and the winter, spring and chamber concerts that are the heart of the WVYS mission. Each gift helps us to sustain a professional orchestra of the highest quality that entertains, educates and enhances the musical life of our community."
"I think people would be surprised at the caliber of the performances of these young people. Their persistence and discipline is most often rewarded with a beautiful performance. I encourage anyone who has not heard them to come hear them play on Sunday. We are hopeful this auction will draw a wider audience to appreciate and enjoy the talent of these kids," Cooke said.
Charbonniez said that fundraising is essential for the group's existence. "As you know, money is tight for music and art education. For our fundraiser, we had 12 local artists paint donated instruments. They turned them into stunning art pieces."
Helen Lodge, a board member, suggested the fundraiser because a similar one was successful for the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra about 10 years ago.
The artists are John Auge, Kathy Boland, Helen Chilton, Kathi Whelan Dery, Traci Higginbotham, Roger Lucas, Susan Poffenbarger, Emily Roles, Jennifer and George Snyder, Betti Bland Volkers, Betty Warner and Barbara Marsh Wilson.
"Sandra Groce has dealt with The Loft Violin Shop in Columbus which donated seven instruments and local people donated the other violins and one three-fourths-size cello. Then we got sponsors and approached the artists who donated their talent. All of the artists were excited to do it. They jumped on the bandwagon because every penny will go to the West Virginia Youth Symphony," Charbonniez said. Last month, the instruments were unveiled at a party hosted at Uncork and Create. They have since been displayed in the windows of several local businesses, including Visions Day Spa, The Consignment Co., Art Emporium, Eggplant, Petit Jewelry and GAP.
Two of the instruments are currently on display at The Greenbrier resort. Nancy Marshall of Walls Fine Art Gallery in Lewisburg worked with the symphony to bring Kathy Boland's violin titled "Greenbrier " and Helen Chilton's "Monarch" to the resort for display. Boland's violin features a painting of the resort on both sides of the instrument. Chilton's violin details three butterflies huddled on foliage.