Thank yous from Summer Sonatina 2014 Scholarship Recipients

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For pianists, it’s high 10s, not 5s!

For the past couple of summers, we have received wonderful support from adult pianists who wanted to give the gift of piano camp to youngsters who live in Bennington, VT or surrounding towns. This year, the scholarship fund swelled to $8700 and allowed 10 students to attend Summer Sonatina International Piano Camp. Due to the success of this program and the wonderful feedback we received from the young recipients (who were all need-based and of various levels and years of piano study) after they attended piano camp, we plan to add to our fund again for the 2015 summer season. Please enjoy these heartfelt and thankful letters from some of the 2014 local recipients, below.

From V.E., age 11: It has been a great summer for my sister and I, but one of the best parts was Camp Summer Sonatina. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this year, I met some new people that became my best friends in just a couple of days, I encountered some of my old friends who I knew from last year and we all bonded in an incredible way, it’s so amazing how music can bring so many different people from different parts of the world together. Sonatina attracts some of the most talented children and teens from all over the world, for example there have been children from Russia, Turkey, Spain, France, Canada and so many more. I keep thinking of what a privilege it is to be able to come to this extraordinary place and meet so many extraordinary people who play their music beautifully and passionately.  I hope that Camp Summer Sonatina goes on for many, many years and every child who comes back home from Sonatina comes back with a smile on their face.

From A.C., age 11: Thank you, I had a really fun time at your camp! After I came back from your camp I could sight read a lot better and I could just pick up a song and learn it in a day.  My piano skills are better as well. I’m a lot quicker on the piano now and I am learning a new song every day. At Summer Sonatina, I met a lot of new friends that I am still in contact with and I talk to them a lot. One of my best friends at Summer Sonatina was my “dorm parent.”  She was really nice and helped me with the songs that I was working on at that time. But, what made her really special was that she was like a friend. I am honored that Summer Sonatina gave me a scholarship and I am really happy that I came to Summer Sonatina. At the end of Summer Sonatina, it was really hard for me to say goodbye to my friends and the house. I can’t wait for next summer because I am definitely coming again. Also, I hope that I get the same roommates and I hope that I get my same dorm parent as last year. I absolutely loved your camp and learning more piano music!

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Two double artist benches with happy pianists

From J.E., age 9: I really enjoyed myself at camp this year. What amazed me the most was that even though the violin is my main instrument, I play the piano really well because your faculty and counselors teach us so well. I also like that you don’t just want us to focus on playing the piano but you also want us to focus on getting outside and running around and bonding with each other, and the field trips are just extraordinary. We get to see all kinds of cool ballets and orchestras. Because I’m a violinist I particularly enjoyed Joshua Bell. Thank you for all you’ve done for me and my sister. Can’t wait to go next year!

From N.R., age 14: Thank you for giving me a scholarship to attend Summer Sonatina this year. It was a lot of fun and it helped me get better at piano. I was able to polish several previously learned pieces and learn some new pieces. The teachers were very nice and helped me a lot and 3 hours of practice daily helped me learn how to organize my practice time. Then I got to perform on the wonderful Fazioli piano at the Bennington Center for the Arts – twice! I even got to play on the radio, on WBTN!  All with plenty of games, sports and some new friends made. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun and my parents noticed the difference in my playing when I got home. Thank you so much for helping me do all this and I hope you continue to help other kids do the same.

From A.K., age 9: Thank you for giving me a scholarship. I really enjoyed learning about all the different tricks you can do with the piano. I made two great friends this year and I can’t wait to make more in the following years. Summer Sonatina taught twice as many songs as I knew when I first started. I had a great experience and can’t wait until next year! Thanks again!

From H.M., age 13: To begin with, I would like to say a huge thank you for giving me a scholarship sot that I could attend to my second year of Sonatina. While being at Sonatina, I was able to improve my skills on piano, met new people interested with music like me. I find myself practicing more at home and I cannot wait to go next year again. Thank you so much.

From A.M., age 11:  Thank you so much for the scholarship. I had a great time improving my piano skills and learned a lot. I probably wouldn’t have gotten in if it weren’t for the scholarship. I hope I can go next year because I want to learn more. It was my first time at sleepaway camp and I liked feeling independent. I also liked making new friends.

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Love the pink crocs for pedaling!

From a parent: Both of my children received a scholarship to attend piano camp this summer. This was a much anticipated second year and a first time sleep away camp for my second child. The enthusiasm for music that manifest in our home as fighting over who gets the piano is a delightful energy! When we got in the car to bring the children home, one remark was: “Ok, only 51 more weeks until Sonatina.” Besides the obvious musical enhancement both children received from your talented instructors, they gained confidence in themselves as young individuals who sometimes find difficulty finding their way socially being “music geeks.” As a parent it has been a struggle to convince them their people are out there and this experience helped prove my suggestion that this is indeed the case. I am impressed by the awareness Polly has of children’s needs well beyond what they need in their musical development. This is remarkable despite the amount of work that must go into running this operation. So, a huge thank you from a very impressed parent who, by the way, enjoyed the first child-free week with her husband in 13 years!

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With 50 fingers, almost all 88 keys are covered!

A big THANK YOU to all who contributed so generously. We couldn’t have all these wonderful pianists without your help! Bennington, VT is lucky to count you all as our piano angels.


About Polly van der Linde

Pianist, teacher, director of International Piano Camps in VT, for adults and children of all levels of ability
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