By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY – Senior Writer
Mountain Top Strings, an affiliate of Arrowhead Arts Association (AAA), delivered a stunning performance at Crestline’s historic San Moritz Lodge on Sunday, June 4, 2023. Nearly 100 spectators witnessed the season’s final performance of the school-based, stringed instrument student orchestra.
Arrowhead Arts Association, a nonprofit organization, was formed in1985 by a group of mountain residents and businesses dedicated to providing a rich cultural life for the area. AAA’s goal from its inception has been to provide a wide spectrum of music and fine arts for the mountain communities by sponsoring special events that involve instruction, public performance and exhibition of visual and fine arts. The artistic studies and endeavors of area students have been supplemented and their talents supported by scholarships from the Association.
Last Sunday’s performance, the first of its kind at the San Moritz Lodge, featured 16 talented, young musicians, ranging in age from 10 to 18. It began shortly after 5 p.m. with the performing of eight classical melodies, some of which included “Rondo from String Quartet in F Major” by Antonin Dvorak, “An American in Paris” by George Gershwin, “A Time for Us” from Romeo & Juliet by Nino Rota and “A Postcard from Tuscany” by Doug Sparta.
Before the 20-minute intermission, AAA President Ken Camarella introduced the organization’s new teacher. “We just hired Sara Schumate, who will be teaching music in Rim schools. Sara is highly qualified and has already taught over 800 children.
“These kids are higher ranking than most others in the school district. Music boosts their intellect and learning skills,” added Camarella.
In agreement was Crestline contractor Mick Hill, who commented, “We want to bring culture to Crestline, and it only took us two years to do so.”
Next, Camarella reminded parents and other spectators that the strings ensemble will be performing with the Riverside Philharmonic Orchestra on Sept. 17.
Following the intermission, the tunes played were more upbeat, featuring mostly American artists with several jazz and rock and roll numbers included: “It’s Only a Paper Moon” by Harold Arlen, “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond, “Fields of Gold” by Sting, “Happy Together” by The Turtles, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith, “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay and, finally, “Moondance” by Van Morrison.
At the conclusion of the concert, Director Sharon Rizzo shared that this had been Neva Hidajat’s final concert appearance, to which Neva got a standing ovation, one of several she received throughout the concert.
Before leaving the lodge building, the Alpine Mountaineer interviewed several of the musicians. Jane Roberts, who is 10 and in the sixth grade at Big Bear Middle School, said, “I’ve been playing the cello since second grade. My brother, Jory, played the guitar and I wanted to do the same thing, but now we both play the cello.” When asked what his future plans are, Jory shared, “I plan to attend college and major in business or art at UCR or UCLA.”
In a candid interview with the Alpine Mountaineer, Neva, who has been chosen as valedictorian at Rim High School’s June 7th graduation ceremony, said her future plans include enrolling at Stanford University. Assuming that she would be majoring in a music-related field, it was surprising to hear her say, “I plan to major in a unique program that is only offered by Stanford: Management, Science and Engineering.”