Fall Appeal

Apple Hill String Quartet violinist Colleen Jennings captured the spirit of our recent trip to Peru with these thoughts.


Quartet with students in Cuzco

Last Spring our Playing for Peace Tour took us to Peru for the first time and we spent a week teaching and playing in Lima and Cuzco. We were hosted by Apple Hill piano faculty, Myriam Avalos-Teie and the National Conservatory of Lima. I kept a journal while I was on tour and wanted to share these impressions with you.

Music School of Cuzco, Peru: The enthusiasm from the students here was through the roof! This kind of thirst for learning will never fail to remind me how much I love being a music teacher. Students are so eager to learn and while the training is good here the musical presence is minimal. Our host, a young guitar player, Marco Anthony, conveyed to us that students don’t really know what they are striving for because they are not continually inspired by great performances and rarely prioritize attending concerts. That evening, I felt an incredible rush of joy when I saw a big pack of the students from the music school waiting outside the hall anxious to hear us play again. When the doors opened they entered en masse and filled the first few rows of the auditorium and were a rapt audience.

Colleen with students in Lima

National Conservatory of Lima, Peru: We have found students to be well prepared and eager to learn as well as highly responsive to us and to each other. We are always thinking about candidates for the summer scholarship and as usual there are many contenders. The student concert was a joy! Brief introductions were made by Lenny and Mike, with the help of a student translator, welcoming everyone and explaining a bit about summers at Apple Hill. Five chamber groups performed and each rose to their best standard while tangibly supporting each other. Afterwards there were photos, hugs, and fond goodbyes. We left Lima feeling very full and so happy to have broadened the Apple Hill circle to include this new Peruvian family. A few days later we received a letter from the director of the conservatory with this wonderful feedback:

It was as if you guys had a magic wand and swung it past our students. They feel enlightened with this new understanding of chamber music. They have discovered how to connect among themselves through music and making music. An important change in their and our lives.

Mike, Elise, Lenny, and Colleen at Machu Picchu

If you have ever wondered how your donations to Apple Hill make a difference, I can think of no better example than this trip: coaching of the highest level, inspiring students to play their best, making new and lasting connections, and communicating through music. We hope to see several Peruvian students at Apple Hill next summer and look forward to introducing them to you!

Please consider supporting Apple Hill this year. Your donation will help us bring some of the students you see in the pictures to Apple Hill.


Colleen Jennings, Violinist, Apple Hill String Quartet

Peru Tour 2017