Arts festival an exploration
John Sant’Ambrogio came to Steamboat Springs for the first time in the mid-1980s to start a small music camp with Kay Clagett and Betse Grassby. The camp was called Strings in the Mountains.
Sant’Ambrogio was the founding music director for Strings and served for six years. As the principal cello for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, he watched the growth of Strings from afar.
Now on the verge of retirement, Sant’Ambrogio has returned to Steamboat to start an arts festival he hopes will have similar success. This is the first year for “Arts for the Soul,” a two-week multi-venue exploration of music, film, writing and visual art.
After 45 years of playing with major symphonies, Sant’Ambrogio said he’s ready to do other things with his life.
“I want to try so many things,” he said. “I want to try film. I like to hike and sail. I like to create, and I don’t like to sit down.”
Sant’Ambrogio hopes to attract people like himself to his new arts retreat and, though it’s open to people of all ages, he wants to inspire people older than 50 who are “entering their second adolescence,” he said. “What keeps me young is mental stimulation. To me, the arts are the best way to stay alive.”
The two-week workshop, for which registration is required, will be complemented by evening sessions, including dinner and entertainment, which are open to the general public.
Sant’Ambrogio hired writers, artists and musicians from Steamboat Springs and around the globe to speak and perform at the “Arts for the Soul” seminars. This year is a two-week experiment to gauge interest, but Sant’Ambrogio hopes to expand the retreat into a three-month event spanning September, October and November.
“I want to start a community of people who are excited about giving back to the young through what they’ve learned in their lives,” he said. “This community is so artistic. I would like to join it and bring people here to see it.”
For more information, visit http://www.artsforthesoul.net.
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