Letter: Remembering the ‘forgotten’ history of Strings | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Remembering the ‘forgotten’ history of Strings

In the spirit of the recent letter on the importance of remembering the “forgotten” history of Jim Temple’s essential contribution to the creation of the Steamboat Ski Area, I, among others, think Strings in the Mountains needs to retrieve some of its forgotten history. In posting a plaque to honor Kay Claggett’s role in its founding, Strings is only telling part of the story. Two other people, Betse Grasby and John Sant’Ambrogio, played crucial roles in the creation of Strings in the Mountains. Plaques honoring them ought to be posted alongside the one dedicated to Kay.

John, Betse and I met at the Steamboat Learning Center in 1987 to discuss the creation of a music festival at the Steamboat Athletic Club. John was the principal cellist for the St. Louis Symphony, and he dreamed of creating both a classical music festival in the Rocky Mountains and a camp to nurture future classical musicians.

Betse offered to take responsibility for making his dream a reality. For those of you who may have not been here at that time, the success of Strings became evident at that first concert 34 years ago. Soon we had people sitting on the roof of the Steamboat Athletic Club at Storm Meadows in order to partake in classical music.

Kay Claggett joined the effort very shortly after that first event. Betse, Kay and John complemented each other’s talents. Kay’s administrative and financial savvy put Strings on a strong footing. Betse was the creative drive behind the “Different Tempo” programs and the overall success of the festival. John was the Strings artistic director. John is and was a very influential person in the classical music world. He brought world class performers to Steamboat.

Without the magic, chemistry and contribution of these three people, Strings would not have become what it is today. It is time to remember the two who have been “forgotten.”

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Noreen Moore


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