Foothill trio in tune with their musical talents

By: Kirsten Read Journal Correspondent
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Music has intrigued and inspired many youth in the area, and has led them to discover who they are and what they can accomplish by doing what they love. Jazzed about music Chad Deacon, 18, a recent graduate of Bear River High School, will attend University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music in the fall on scholarship, where he will major in Jazz Studies. Deacon was selected as the 1st chair Tenor Saxophone at University of the Pacific’s Summer Jazz Camp in 2010. He plays all four of the common saxophones, but specializes in tenor and alto. As a member of the marching and jazz bands at his high school, he won the band’s Outstanding Soloist Award all four years. Deacon has also been involved in the Auburn Youth Symphony, Sierra College Jazz Band, Nevada County Community Band, Western International Band Clinic Honor Band, and the California Band Directors Association All State band. Recently, he played with Sacramento Symphonic Winds, where he played an abridged version of a Glazunov Concerto for Alto Saxophone. Deacon originally played the clarinet, but liked the versatility of the saxophone and the ability to play both classical and jazz music. “Music is totally different than schoolwork,” Deacon said. “It has become more enjoyable the better I get.” Deacon’s passion for music stems from its ability to express emotion, tell a story, or create a memorable moment. His favorite song to play is “Know You By Heart” by Dave Koz, which he played for his dad one Christmas. “You can connect to a lot of people playing music,” Deacon said. “It’s kind of like a universal language.” Music time is family time Annie Begin, 16, is a homeschool student living in Colfax whose passion for music stems from her strong relationship with her family. “My mom was my piano teacher, and I started playing at age 4,” Begin said. “I started playing the violin at 7, and it is now my favorite and most trained instrument.” Begin practices the violin three to four hours a day, and takes lessons from her teacher, Gayaneh Kumar, in Los Angeles on e to three times a month. “I’ve been teaching Annie for many years, and I am very proud of her,” Kumar said. “She has a great ability to improve, is hardworking, always likes to be challenged, and is very technically advanced.” Her dedication to music marries with her family ties in the band she has formed with her mom, brother, and sister. They play a mix of rock, bluegrass, and country. “We kind of do what people want,” Begin said. The family band mostly plays at senior homes and parties, but Begin hopes to play “bigger gigs” in the upcoming years. Her favorite song to play is “Rock This Town” by the Stray Cats. “I love entertaining people and making them happy with music,” Begin said. Her family has made a tradition of doing this together. “We have a lot of fun doing it. We would be spending time together 24/7 anyway, but music’s kind of what we do.” Begin said. “It is the most important part of human life. That’s what I think.” Violinist in the making Alexis Keller, 11, of Loomis, has a different story to tell. Keller was this year’s Grand Prize Winner of the Auburn Symphony Annual Young Artist Competition, in which she played Accolay Concerto No. 1 in A minor. According to Rob Haswell, Business Manager of the Auburn Symphony, the competition gives serious musicians ages 8 to 20 throughout the Nevada, Placer, and El Dorado counties the opportunity to compete for cash prizes. Keller began playing the violin at age 3 at Sierra Christian Academy where each student was required to learn to play the violin. Her mother has also acted as her violin teacher, and the two have played together as a duo. Keller’s favorite piece they have done is a Bach Doubles Concerto for two violins. She currently attends Rocklin Academy, and has been a member of the Sacramento Youth Symphony for almost five years, which has provided her great opportunities and her favorite trips to Disneyland. Keller recently auditioned for and was accepted to take lessons with Anna Presler, who lives in Berkeley but teaches at Sacramento State twice a week. She has learned a lot on her musical journey thus far, and is moving on to new opportunities. “Ben Dominitz [her previous teacher] has been a good teacher to me and has gotten me very far,” Keller said. Keller’s success has been great, but her passion for music lies simply in using it as a creative outlet. “I like how you get to express yourself in the music and not just play the notes,” Keller said. “I will definitely keep playing the violin in the future.”