Key Changemaker: David Couch

Key Changemaker of the Month:
Highlighting Excellence in our Community


“Béla Bartók said of music, it ‘builds bridges, not walls.’ I really like that sentiment, and feel Key to Change is also about building connections in the community. I hope from my position as a teacher, a conductor, or a bass player, that I strive to build bridges, not walls.”

– David Couch, Kentridge High School Orchestra Director
(Pictured with his wife)


Our Key Changemaker of the Month is David Couch! David is the Orchestra Director at Kentridge High School. He studied double bass at the University of Texas in Austin, and played in the Austin Symphony before moving to Washington in 1980. He has subbed with the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, and 5th Avenue Theatre, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet. He also plays with the Auburn Symphony, and teaches orchestra to students grades 5-12 in Kent.

He says the level of musicianship has skyrocketed in the Pacific Northwest over the past 15 years and it’s a great place to be a musician! Thank you David for all the music you bring to our community!


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Key To Change Solo String Festival

The Key to Change Solo String Festival:

Creating Equal Opportunities for Young Musicians in South King County

Over the past two years, Key to Change has woven itself into the musical fabric of South King County, making world-class music instruction available and financially accessible to underserved students all throughout our region.

This year, we are taking that mission a step further with the launch of our Solo String Festival on April 13! This all-day event offers middle and high school students in our region a bigger stage, providing not only performance opportunities but also a chance to attend a college preparation workshop, meet professional musicians, and compete to win prizes.

The first of its kind in our region, the Solo String Festival gives young musicians the opportunity to perform in a supportive and community-centered environment. The event is designed specifically for string students in South King County, allowing participants to perform alongside other musicians of a similar age, background, and experience level. The festival also includes both competitive and non-competitive divisions, setting it apart from more exclusive classical music competitions in Seattle and Bellevue and allowing for a greater diversity of participants.

First place winners from the Junior and Senior Divisions will be awarded music scholarships for college and will perform live on the radio on Classical KING FM’s Northwest Focus LIVE program. Second and third place winners will receive a set of strings, an hour-long private lesson, and will be invited to perform at select Key to Change events. Our festival adjudicators are violinist Robert T. Murphy and cellist Jeremy Woolstenhulme, both respected string educators

Key to Change’s Solo String Festival is generously sponsored by Classical KING FM 98.1, the Live Music Project, 4Culture, and Seattle Chamber Music Society.


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Key Changemaker: Alia Uffenorde

Key Changemaker of the Month:
Highlighting Excellence in our Community

“The violin is one of the hardest instruments in the world when you sit and think about it. If you can play the violin, you feel like you can really do anything.”
– Alia Uffenorde, Key to Change Violin Student

Our Key Changemaker of the Month is our violin student Alia Uffenorde! Alia began her musical studies by playing the piano, and a few years later discovered her love of the violin while taking an orchestra class at school. She now plays both instruments, and says that Dr. Morris has changed her idea of the phrase “Practice makes perfect” into “Perfect practice makes perfect.” Through master classes and other opportunities at Key to Change, Alia felt empowered to participate in additional ensembles like the Tacoma Youth Symphony.

Thank you Alia for all the music you bring to South King County!

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Quinton Morris and Friends in Recital

 You’re invited!

Come enjoy an afternoon of classical music performed by Key to Change Executive Director and Founder Dr. Quinton Morris and talented guest musicians! He will be joined by cellist and Key to Change Board Vice President Keith Thomas, pianist and Key to Change accompanist Joseph Williams, and Seattle Symphony french horn player Danielle Kuhlmann.

The concert will feature musical works by Beethoven, Brahms, Glière, and Still.

All proceeds from this special benefit concert will go toward Key to Change student scholarships. We can’t wait to see you there!

Tickets are $15 general admission and free for students.

The concert takes place at 2pm on Saturday, February 23, at the IKEA Performing Arts Center. Reserve your tickets here.

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Key Changemaker: Shelia Holiman

Key Changemaker of the Month:
Highlighting excellence in our community  

“Playing violin gives me a peace of mind and lots of joy. I love when I can perform for family, friends, and for an audience. Through Key to Change, I have grown as a musician and bettered by skills as an artist.”  –  Shelia Holiman, Key to Change Violin Student

–  Shelia Holiman, Key to Change Violin Student

Our Key Changemaker of the Month is our violin student Shelia Holiman! Shelia is in 10th grade at Kentridge High School. She attended Key to Change’s Five for Five – Learn to Thrive summer music camp last June and is now studying violin at our studio on scholarship. Dr. Morris describes Shelia as “a delightful person, who always comes to class with a smile and ready to learn. She also makes the best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever tasted!”

Thank you Shelia for the beautiful music you bring to our community!

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Building Community with Support from Capacity-Building Grants


Key to Change is proud to announce that we have been awarded grants from the Tulalip Tribes Council, Renton Arts Commission, Renton Regional Community Foundation Reeder Family Fund, and the MMS Giving Foundation. This generous funding will be used toward growing our studio and expanding our outreach to provide more opportunities for underserved students in South King County.

Key to Change is grateful for the support of these inspirational foundations. We share the same vision of strengthening our local communities, providing opportunities for our youth, and building a brighter future for the next generation. When we provide affordable access to to music and arts education, we help our youth cultivate critical skills that will serve them both within and beyond the classroom.

Thanks to the support of our community and organizations like the Tulalip Tribes Council, the Renton Arts Commission, and the MMS Giving Foundation, we are able to provide affordable violin and viola lessons, performance opportunities, master classes, leadership development, and more to underserved students in our region. Together, we empower the next generation through music.

For more information, please email

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Allied Arts Foundation Awards Two-Year Grant to Key to Change

Allied Arts Foundation Awards Two-Year Grant to Key to Change


January 22, 2019

Key to Change is thrilled to be the recipient of a two-year grant from the Allied Arts Foundation. This $4,000 grant will be used toward repairs and accessories for our Instrument Library of over 30 violins and violas. Providing free access to high-quality instruments is one of the key ways we remove financial barriers to studying classical music in South King County.

Since the 1950s, the Allied Arts Foundation has enlivened the cultural vitality of the Seattle area through arts funding.and sponsorship. Key to Change shares this same vision of empowering the broader community through affordable access to music education and performance.

“Allied Arts Foundation is proud to partner with Key to Change to provide opportunities for these talented students, many of whom reside in underserved areas. Far more than mere instruction, Key to Change’s winning format of exceptional music training as a conduit for instilling leadership skills and self-confidence is an outstanding model of community empowerment through the arts.

– Llewelyn G. Pritchard, Allied Arts Foundation President

Thanks to the support of our community and organizations like the Allied Arts Foundation, we are able to provide violin and viola lessons, scholarships, instruments, performance opportunities, and more to underserved students in our region. Together, we empower the next generation through music.

For more information, please email at


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Charlotte Martin Foundation Awards Capacity-Building Grant to Key to Change

Key to Change is honored to have been awarded a $10,000 capacity-building grant from the Charlotte Martin Foundation. This funding will be used toward scholarships for students in need, as well as a studio accompanist, sheet music, and instrument supplies.

Based in Seattle, the Charlotte Martin Foundation works to create opportunities for underserved youth to explore their passions and grow into well-rounded individuals through arts, athletics, and education. Key to Change shares this same vision of increasing access to music and arts education in our region and helping our youth cultivate critical skills that will serve them both within and beyond the classroom.

“The Charlotte Martin Foundation’s engagement with Key to Change will improve youth access to world-class music instruction, making this partnership vital to the success of music students in South King County.”

Micaela Pearson, Key to Change Board President

Thanks to the support of our community and organizations like the Charlotte Martin Foundation, we are able to provide affordable violin and viola lessons, performance opportunities, master classes, leadership development, and more to underserved students in our region. Together, we empower the next generation through music.

For more information, please email



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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

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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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