Conscious party: Young musicians support education in Asheville and Nicaragua

THE YOUTHS ARE GETTING FRETLESS: Classically trained players in the Asheville Young Musicians Club meet for weekly practices between performances. From top left, members include Anne Gerhardt, Christopher Tavernier, Kiffen Loomis, Alyes Chen, Aaron Chen, Abigail Weirich, Katelyn Hammel, Myles McNight and Kristie Kim. Photo by Hwa-Jin Kim

WHAT: Asheville Young Musicians Club’s fifth annual benefit concert

WHERE: Bent Creek Baptist Church

WHEN: Sunday, May 29, at 6:30 p.m.

WHY: The musical aptitude of UNC Asheville piano instructor Hwa-Jin Kim must have been inherited by her daughters Kristie (violin) and Grace (flute), who founded the Asheville Young Musicians Club in 2011, at ages 13 and 15, respectively.

“I wanted to be a part of a group of young musicians around the area where we just played chamber music, not in a big orchestra or [as] soloists — but in quartets and trios,” Kristie says.  “The main focus is for us … to have the skills communicating with each other as opposed to playing by ourselves, being in our own little world or just looking at one person like a conductor.”

The group votes to select new material periodically and then gathers for weekly rehearsals.  Aside from strengthening technical abilities and performance confidence (and simply providing a social circle), Kristie says AYMC was created as a platform to help others with fundraising.

“So far, we’ve raised over $10,000,” she reports, and the money has been split among the Asheville Chamber Music Series, Asheville Area Piano Forum and Vision Nicaragua, which supports education for children in the village of Bethel.

The same three will share proceeds from AYMC’s next show, which features nine current members plus a guest appearance by Grace, who is currently studying at Vanderbilt University. In subgroups, they’ll play works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonín Dvořák, Moritz Moszkowski and more.

“I’ve actually been to Nicaragua twice so far. I got to meet a couple of the people that AYMC has been sponsoring,” Kristie says. “It was really awesome to see what a big impact a little bit can [have] —  just playing music in Asheville, raising a little bit of money and [observing] what a big effect that could have on other students in another part of the world.”

Tickets are $20 ($10 students), available in advance or at the door. For more information, visit

About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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