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Local musicians providing free, virtual lessons for students

Published: August 18, 2020

By Claire Couch

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — School plays a vital role in exposing kids to the arts, but with restrictions in place due to COVID-19, things like band or orchestra may not get the attention they would in a typical school year.

But a group of local musicians is working to make sure no child or musical opportunity slips through the cracks. They have created the Virtual Beginning Band Project, providing free resources and lessons for schools and aspiring musicians.



Musician Chase Miller to be featured at Lunch with the Arts

Published: January 8, 2020

By PAUL STANSBURY Contributing writer 

Art Center of the Bluegrass kicks off the new decade with an engaging program of clarinet music, featuring Stanford native Chase Miller. Miller is the featured presenter for Jan. 15’s Lunch with the Arts program.

Miller, a performing artist and teacher, is director of Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra’s MusicWorks. Prior to that, he was education coordinator for the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra. As a performing artist, he has played his clarinet throughout the United States, Italy, and Ireland.

Miller will play a variety of pieces to demonstrate what the clarinet can do. The audience can expect to hear a range of clarinet compositions from classical works to the tango. After each piece, Miller hopes to engage the audience in a dialogue about how the music affected his listeners.

“As musicians, we are brought up to insure we are evoking a response,” says Miller. “It is important to understand what the listener perceives.”


‘One more year:’ Extraordinary music program almost ended amid fundraising woes

Publish: September 20, 2019

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Written by Linda Blackford


On a recent weekday after school, 47 elementary students gathered under the dim lights of the Arlington Christian Church basement and picked up their bows.

“Position 1,” called out instructor Chase Miller as the children angled their violins, violas and cellos and prepared to play. “Position 2.”

With an amazing lack of chaos, Miller and co-teacher Cathy Mejia led the children through a very credible rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Credible because most of the students first picked up their instruments two weeks ago.

This is MusicWorks, a music program run by the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra that offers free music lessons four days a week for two hours after school to mostly Northside Lexington children. The program was set up six years ago as the first program in Kentucky based on “El Sistema,” the Venezuelan music program that turned poverty-stricken children into classical musicians, including Gustavo Dudamel, the flamboyant music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (and inspiration for the main character in “Mozart in the Jungle”).

With less music education in the schools thanks to budget cuts, MusicWorks is aimed at giving more children the kind of intensive instruction that wealthier children receive with private lessons and access to Lexington’s many music offerings, the kind of instruction that students in CKYO enjoy. Nearly 150 children have gone through the program, several have joined CKYO ensembles on scholarship and many more have continued music into middle and high school with their MusicWorks instruments.

“It’s really quite extraordinary that this is happening in a town the size of Lexington,” said Marcello Cormio, music director of CKYO.

But this year, it almost didn’t happen at all.


Local clarinetist raises funds for opportunities abroad 

Published: July 11, 2017


By Joshua Qualls

STANFORD — Beyond the rings and keys of his instrument, a local clarinetist’s fingertips may be on cusp of fulfilling his dreams and securing his future — but he’s asking for some help.

Chase Miller, 26, was accepted into competitive study-abroad programs with two orchestras in Europe beginning July 16, but so far he only has enough money for a one-way ticket to Italy.

Having raised $845 of a $1,500 goal through Generosity by Indiegogo, an online crowdfunding platform, Miller had to shut down his fundraising campaign a couple weeks ago when he realized it could take up to 15 business days to get the money. Although he expects to receive those funds this week, he needs the remaining $655 to return home and for other expenses.

“I’m like, ‘What am I supposed to do?’” he said. “So I’m saying a little prayer.”

Miller, born and raised in Stanford, managed to pay the $375 tuition and $25 application fee on his own for Italy, but he needs roughly another $300 to pay for food and lodging while in Ireland.

He plans to raise the money by busking during his downtime in Mezzano, Italy, but he said donations would also help.

“The music that happens at this festival is the only music in the town for that year — they just don’t have anymore music in this town, so hopefully someone will bite,” he said. “I’ll probably be playing like flashy, lots-of-notes stuff. People are just like, ‘Whoa,’ but really I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m getting by.’”

The gig in Italy is the Music Academy International Festival Orchestra, where Miller will play for nearly a month under guest conductor J. David Jackson from New York’s prestigious Metropolitan Opera.

Miller will later play for a week in Ireland with the peer-led Esker Festival Orchestra.

“I think Chase is on a trajectory … that’s going to work,” said Scott Wright, a clarinet professor at UK. “It could be next week, it could be next year — I don’t know, but he’s just doing all the right things.”


For Concerto Competition winners, hard work earns time in the spotlight

Published March 29, 2013



The result of a competition is usually an award, a prize that distinguishes the winner's work from the equally driven contributions of their peers. What comes at the end of the annual Concerto Competition held within the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra is a different kind of award.

In essence, the spotlight is the prize. The winner of this year's competition will perform as featured soloist at the orchestra's concert Friday at the Singletary Center for the Arts.

"The players often have a chance to show their stuff when they have solos in one of the symphonic works we perform," said UK Symphony music director and conductor John Nardolillo. "But it's something extra special for them to walk out as the featured soloist of the evening."

This competition commenced in January with a field of orchestra contestants facing a panel of judges composed of regional artists that included Robert Trevino, associate conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

"The judges were looking for the overall quality of the presentation," Nardolillo said. "In other words, have they mastered their instrument technically? Were they exquisitely well-prepared on this piece of music? Have they thought through what the artistic ideas were in the piece? Did they make a compelling and interesting musical argument to their audience? So it was not just a question of 'Did they play all the right notes?' but 'Did they have something to say within the music?'


© 2019 Chase Miller (Lexington,KY)
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