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Local music student to give back to LAAC

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By Kirsten Laskey

The Los Alamos Arts Council offers a lot to aspiring musicians – it brings them inspiration in the Brown Bag shows and the Guitar and Gateaux series and provides opportunities for young performers to take the stage through the senior recitals.

One student has taken notice of this fact and as a result, is giving back to this community organization.

Pianist and Los Alamos High School graduate Nathan Salazar is hosting a concert at 7 p.m. June 18 at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.

Callie Schlegel, soprano, will accompany Salazar during the concert.

The program will include Bach’s Partita No. 1, Beethoven’s Sonata Opus No. 109 and “Ondine” by Ravael.

Donations will be accepted during the concert to support the arts council.

Salazar said the idea for the benefit concert was his teacher’s, Charlene Cox-Clifton, idea but “it’s definitely for a good cause and they bring a lot of high quality acts to the town.”

Marlane Hamilton, executive director of the arts council, added, “I think we’re providing a fabulous program to the community and it will certainly be worth people’s time to come and hear the concert.”

She commented that the arts council, like any other organization, has felt the effects of a tough economy and having the benefit concert helps to ensure the multitude of programs the LAAC provides to the public continue.

Having Salazar perform the concert is an additional bonus, Hamilton added.

“He’s well aware of the things LAAC offers,” she said, “We’re so pleased and thrilled to have him do this as well.”

Salazar has played the piano for 15 years.

He currently attends the University of Kansas and is pursuing a degree in piano performance and vocal performance.

Salazar plans to attend graduate school and ultimately become a opera coach.

The decision to make music his career was influenced by Cox-Clifton. “Charlene Cox Clifton was very influential in that decision,” Salazar said. “I didn’t want to go into music up until my senior year in high school.”

He explained he just “went out on a limb” and “gives it a shot.”

Looking back, Salazar said, “I think we always knew that I was never going to do anything else.”