Maggie Molloy

Key Changemaker: Keith Thomas

Key Changemaker of the Month:
Highlighting excellence in our community


I grew up playing the cello, which for me has always felt like my passport to a wide and endlessly diverse universe. Looking back, I can see all the ways I was helped along the journey by a community of family and friends, but also by organizations and sponsors that opened new opportunities for me.

Key to Change is the organization I needed as a young musician; it’s not just about learning to play music, it’s about community and connection. Key to Change fosters that connection in so many ways, through field trips to the symphony, group feedback and reflection, mentoring, and more.

By supporting Key to Change, you’re reaching out with a message of connection and care, and joining a community of helpers that every student needs.”
 
– Keith Thomas, Vice President of the Key to Change Board of Directors

Our Key Changemaker of the Month is Keith Thomas! Keith is a cellist, marketing consultant at Lenati, and our new board Vice President. Keith has over a decade of experience in community engagement as a member of the Da Camera Young Artists Program, principal cellist of the Longmont Symphony in Colorado, and most recently through the Teaching Artist program at the Seattle Symphony. Keith is a committed advocate for access and inclusion in classical music and is focused on working with underserved populations and students of color.

Keith joined our board in 2018 because he believes that excellent music instruction and mentorship are the key to transforming lives and communities in South King County.  If you believe in the power of music to inspire positive change in our community, join us now during our Season of Change Campaign as we work to raise $25,000 toward student scholarships.

Gifts of any size will all go toward providing students with the opportunities to pursue a world-class music education with weekly lessons, master classes taught by guest artists, performance opportunities, college preparation seminars, scholarships, new musical instruments, and more.

With drastic funding cuts to arts programs in South King County, your gift today is more critical than ever before to ensure that students in this region have the opportunity to study and grow through music. Join Keith and the rest of the Key to Change community as we work to empower students in South King County.

Together, we create the Key to Change.

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4Culture Awards Capacity-Building Grant to Key to Change

We are thrilled to announce that Community 4Culture has awarded Key to Change a $10,000 capacity-building grant. This funding will be used to expand our violin studio, serve more students, and grow our impact in our community.

Community 4Culture works to address inequities in arts and cultural funding across King County’s diverse population. Key to Change shares the same vision of increasing access to music and arts education in under-resourced communities. We are honored to have the support of Community 4Culture as we continue serving the population in South King County.

As part of this ongoing mission, Key to Change established our own Instrument Library earlier this summer with grant support from the Classics for Kids Foundation and the D’Addario Foundation. Providing free instruments for our students is a critical way in which Key to Change makes classical music instruction affordable and accessible to a broad range of students in our region.

“Classics for Kids Foundation is delighted to support Key to Change with a matching grant to support their need for beautiful new instruments for their students. Their support for young musicians in the Seattle area is inspiring, and our hope is that the offer of matching funds will further inspire local philanthropy in helping these wonderful young people to thrive.”

–  Michael Reynolds, Executive Director, Classics for Kids Foundation

To date, Key to Change has cultivated an instrument library of over 25 violins and violas through a combination of grant awards and community donations. Click here to learn more about our Instrument Library.

For more information, please email at info@keytochangestudio.org.

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2018-2019 Master Classes at Key to Change

Key to Change is thrilled to offer our students master classes with distinguished guest artists from around the world. This school year our students will have the opportunity to work with the following renowned musicians:

Daniel Ching, First Violinist of the Miró Quartet
Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, 10am, Seattle University – Hunthausen Room 060

Daniel Ching, a founding member of the Miró Quartet, began his violin studies at the age of 3 under tutelage of his father. At age 5, he entered the San Francisco Conservatory Preparatory Division on a full twelve‐year scholarship, where he studied violin with Serban Rusu and Zaven Melikian, and chamber music with Susan Bates. At the age of 10, Daniel was first introduced to string quartets. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Daniel studied violin with Kathleen Winkler, Roland and Almita Vamos, and conducting with Robert Spano and Peter Jaffe. He completed his Masters degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with former Cleveland Quartet violinist Donald Weilerstein.

Daniel is on faculty at the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches private violin students and coaches chamber music. He concurrently maintains an active international touring schedule as a member of the Miró Quartet.


Irina Muresanu, Violin Soloist and Professor at University of Maryland – College Park
Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, 5:30pm, Mill Creek Middle School

Romanian violinist Irina Muresanu has won the hearts of audiences and critics alike with her exciting, elegant and heartfelt performances of the classical, romantic, and modern repertoire. Muresanu has performed in renowned concert halls throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Her solo engagements include concerts with the Boston Pops, the Miami Symphony Orchestra, the Williamsburg Symphonia, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (Geneva), the Transvaal Philharmonic (Pretoria, S. Africa), the Romanian National Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Radio Flamande (Brussels), and the Boston Philharmonic, among others.

In 2013, Irina introduced her “Four Strings Around the World” project, a solo violin recital featuring works of composers inspired by various musical cultures around the world. “Four Strings Around the World” sparked an orchestral project called “Strings Across Europe,” a program in which Muresanu performs multiple roles as soloist and conductor.

Irina currently serves on the faculty the University of Maryland and has taught at Boston Conservatory and in the Harvard and MIT Music Departments. She received the prestigious Artist Diploma degree and a Doctor in Musical Arts degree from the New England Conservatory.  She plays an 1849 Giuseppe Rocca violin and an Étienne Pajeot bow.


Shakeh Ghoukasian, Principal Second Violinist of Las Vegas Philharmonic and Director of the Nevada School of the Arts
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, 4pm, Renton High School

Shakeh Ghoukasian is the Executive and Artistic Director of the Nevada School of the Arts, and has been the driving force of the school’s new vision, new initiatives, and community partnerships. She is also an active chamber music and orchestral musician. She is the Principal 2nd Violinist of the Las Vegas Philharmonic since 1998. Shakeh also performs with the Nevada Ballet and the Las Vegas Philharmonic Principals Quartet, presenting educational outreach and chamber music concerts in the community.

She has performed with many notable classical and pop artists including Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Boccelli, Placido Domingo, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Smokey Robinson, Itzhak Perlman and others. Her solo performances include appearances with Henderson Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic. Shakeh received her early music training in Armenia. After moving to the United States she received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in performance from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is also an established pedagogue, and her students are winners of several local and national competitions and have been chosen to participate in numerous notable summer music festivals and camps. She enjoys working with young musicians and guiding their musical and artistic development.


Benjamin Hunter, Violin Fiddler
Friday, March 1, 2019, 4pm, Mill Creek Middle School

Benjamin Hunter is a violinist, storyteller, educator, and community enterpriser. ​Cross pollinating multiple artistic disciplines for more than a decade, the Seattle-based polymath has dedicated his life to transforming the world’s stale status quo into a vibrant, inclusive, communal, and compassionate society. Playing violin since age 5, he was fortunate to travel the world and absorb various musical styles at a young age. Receiving his degree in Performance Violin, with keen interest in politics and philosophy, Hunter set his sights on the intersection between art, community, and a rapidly evolving clash of culture.

Benjamin plays violin, mandolin, guitar, and sings.  He composes original works, and performs with a variety of groups, playing classical, jazz, world, folk, blues, and country. Groups and projects include the award-winning blues duo Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons, the multidisciplinary performance project Black Bois, and the jazz trio Honeysuckle Rye.


Jeremy Woolstenhulme, Cellist and Director of Orchestra at Hyde Park Middle School
Thursday, April 18, 2019, 4pm, Renton High School
Friday, April 19, 2019, 5:30pm, Mill Creek Middle School

Jeremy Woolstenhulme currently serves as the orchestra director at Hyde Park Middle School in the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jeremy has traveled with his Chamber Orchestra to festivals in Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, London, Washington D.C., Boston, Miami, and New York, earning top awards at every venue. The Hyde Park Middle School Chamber Orchestra was honored to have been selected to perform at the 2008 and 2017 Midwest Clinic in Chicago. The Chamber Orchestra has also played at multiple ASTA conventions, and in March 2015 won first place in the junior high division of the National Orchestra Festival in Salt Lake City.

As an author and composer Jeremy has several published works to his credit. He is a co-author of a new string method series called String Basics published by the Neil A. Kjos music company, and he has several string and full orchestra works published and available through Kjos music as well. As a string clinician Jeremy has presented teaching ideas at many state music conventions throughout the United States including the Midwest Clinic and several times at the ASTA convention. He has traveled internationally to do string teaching presentations in Canada, Australia and China. Jeremy is also a musician with the Las Vegas Philharmonic, and a freelance musician performing at many venues located on the famed Las Vegas “Strip.”


Brett Deubner, Viola Soloist and Professor at Queens College – New York
Thursday, April 25, 2019, 4pm, Renton High School

Brett Deubner, one of this generation’s most accomplished violists, has inspired worldwide critical acclaim for his powerful intensity and sumptuous tone. Recent performances include concerto appearances with over 70 orchestras on 5 continents. Brett has garnered critical acclaim from solo appearances with such American orchestras as the Grand Rapids Symphony, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony, Missoula Symphony, Peninsula Symphony and acclaimed solo debuts in South American orchestras from Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Argentina.

Brett’s commitment to extending the repertoire for the viola is made evident by collaborations with some of today’s greatest composers such as Richard Danielpour, Andrea Morricone, Samuel Adler, Lalo Schifrin, Andrew Rudin, David Del Tredici, Joseph Turrin, Maurizio Bignone, Carlos Franzetti, and several of this generation’s leading young composers. To date, over 80 works for viola including 37 viola concerti and numerous solo and chamber works for viola have been dedicated to and premiered by Brett.


 

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Professional Development with Key to Change

Beginning in Fall 2018, Key to Change will offer professional development for middle and high school orchestra teachers in South King County. We are excited to announce that we have partnered with the Renton School District to provide their teachers with opportunities for continued education.

Key to Change will provide teachers with the following educational resources:

  • Classroom observations
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Group and individual assessment
  • Curriculum design
  • Education workshops

These professional development seminars will be led by Key to Change Founder and Director Dr. Quinton Morris. For over a decade Quinton has served as the Director of Chamber and Instrumental Music at Seattle University, and he is the first tenured music professor there in over 30 years. Quinton is also a native of Renton, Washington and a product of the public music programs in South King County. He understands firsthand the unique challenges that orchestra teachers face in this region.

By providing ongoing support to these educators, Key to Change’s goal is to ultimately enhance student learning, improve teacher skills, and increase job satisfaction. Together with our public school orchestra teachers, we can help build the infrastructure for more engaging and impactful musical education in South King County.

For more information on Key to Change’s professional development seminars, please email info@keytochangestudio.org.

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Key to Change Establishes Instrument Library Through Grant Support

We are pleased to announce that students who participate in our violin studio will now have free access to violins through our new instrument library, thanks to the generous support of the Classics for Kids Foundation and the D’Addario FoundationThis summer Classics for Kids granted us matching funds to purchase 10 new violins for our instrument library, and D’Addario Foundation has given us a $1,750 in-kind gift to use toward strings and other instrument supplies.

“Classics for Kids Foundation is delighted to support Key to Change with a matching grant to support their need for beautiful new instruments for their students. Their support for young musicians in the Seattle area is inspiring, and our hope is that the offer of matching funds will further inspire local philanthropy in helping these wonderful young people to thrive.”

–  Michael Reynolds, Executive Director, Classics for Kids Foundation

To date, Key to Change has cultivated an instrument library of over 25 violins and violas through a combination of grant awards and community donations. Providing free instruments for our students is a critical way in which Key to Change makes classical music instruction affordable and accessible to a broad range of students in South King County.

“I’m so excited to be able to provide students in South King County with access to high quality violins and violas. It is critical for students during their formative years to have a good instrument to play on, which inspires them to play with confidence and joy for the music they are making.”

– Dr. Quinton Morris, Director, Key to Change

If you are interested in contributing to the Key to Change instrument library, please click here to make a gift.

For more information, please email at info@keytochangestudio.org.

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Quinton Morris Named One of Musical America’s 30 Movers & Shapers

Key to Change Founder and Director Dr. Quinton Morris is honored to be named one of Musical America’s 30 Movers and Shapers of 2017, alongside 29 other music professionals from Carnegie Hall, Seattle Symphony, The New Yorker, and more.

Musical America is one of the world’s top music publications, distributed in over 95 countries around the globe. Their annual Movers and Shapers report highlights the work of people who are redefining and driving the future of classical music and the performing arts. Quinton was selected for his accomplishments as a performer and educator, and in particular for his work creating the Key to Change in South King County.

 

Click here to read Musical America’s article on Quinton Morris and Key to Change.

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A Culture of Community Inspires Veterans to Volunteer

What yoga does for some people, music achieves for others. Sean Greenlee helps underserved children get access to private music lessons, expanding their horizons and view of what’s possible.

Greenlee, manager of Starbucks global social responsibility, got interested in the nonprofit Key to Change because his son, a freshman in high school, plays violin. “A lot of diverse kids don’t necessarily see being in an orchestra as a possibility for them,” said Greenlee, a three-year partner. The cost of renting an instrument and affording private lessons can be daunting, which is why professional violinist Quinton Morris launched Key to Change, with the goal of making violin lessons accessible to any interested child.

Greenlee served in the Navy for 10 years, where he internalized the importance of service to others, which he now translates to his position as president of Key to Change. “A lot of core values that we learn and the character that we build in the military carries over to our outside work,” said Greenlee. “I was drawn to Starbucks because of our focus on service. I serve in the company and I want to be able to continue to do that in my outside life as well.”

That’s a common sentiment, says Bill Rausch, executive director of Got Your Six, which is military slang for “I’ve got your back.” Got Your Six empowers veterans to lead a resurgence of community in the U.S. by encouraging them to volunteer, get to know their neighbors and vote.

“A lot of veterans miss the camaraderie and the shared purpose of the military,” said Rausch. “When they volunteer, they think, ‘Hey, we have a second service.’”

Got Your Six has crunched census data and discovered that veterans volunteer at higher rates than their civilian counterparts. The findings were hardly surprising to Rausch. “The idea is simple: By joining the military and serving your country, you leave the military more inclined to stay civically engaged.”

Read the full story on Starbucks’ website here.

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