Thank you so much to the Ashley Willwerth Foundation for contributing to our education at the Virginia Suzuki Institute this summer! We are husband-and-wife violin teachers. We both received teacher training, and our son, Noah, was a student!
Our family has been blessed by the Ashley Willwerth Foundation and its dedication to assist string students seeking instruction in their studies. This summer, our daughter had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study viola and music composition at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Northern Michigan. While there, she was surrounded by faculty, counselors, and students passionate about the arts, all of whom supported one another in their talents and gifts. This uplifting and encouraging environment carried her through some of her biggest challenges and assignments as she grew in her music studies. She was assigned to write for the wind symphony and advanced string quartet. She participated in the viola institute and studied viola performance. She was also a summer arts concerto competition finalist!
Thank you to all who contribute to this very generous foundation in honor of Ashley. We are honored to be recipients of such a blessing.
Hello, I wanted to write on behalf of my daughter, Ava, and thank you for the contribution your foundation made to her studies at Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival this summer. She made an amazing amount of progress! Thank you again for your support and help. May your foundation continue to make a difference in the lives of young musicians!
Lillia-Granite Falls, NC
Thank you for allowing me to attend Virginia Suzuki Camp from June 22-28th. I spent a lot of time working with a quartet on a very difficult piece of music. We gave it a lot of time and study, and the concert went well. We were helped by the Kontras Quartet and by my teacher, Ms. Sally Ross. They are all amazing. I'm not sure what summer would be without some special time with my music. I learn more each time, and I have embraced the fact that I want to teach music, so I know these opportunities are helping me. I couldn't have done it without your help.
This past summer I had with the opportunity to go to a music summer camp at Wheaton College near Chicago. The Ashley Willwerth Foundation helped me to attend this wonderful camp. I play viola so being able to play chamber music with other students was amazing. I was surrounded by talented students and staff while I was there. I learned so much and I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity. The camp was an amazing experience and I’m so thankful to have received this scholarship.
The Ashley Foundation has been so kind to my family, providing assistance to going to summer music programs. I had a great time this past summer at the Ithaca Suzuki Institute! I learned a lot from wonderful, experienced teachers and greatly strengthened my technique. After spending a week at camp, I came home feeling inspired and motivated as a cellist. Thank you!!
My experiences at Laurel Ridge music camp have truly, truly been amazing. I personally think it is the best music camp in the world! I am inspired by this awesome camp to be an amazing violinist. The people there help you personally during private practice time and they inspire you to always try! I tell all my friends that this camp is honestly the most amazing camp in the world!
Laurel Ridge music camp has truly changed me forever. The teachers are wonderful and make playing a musical instrument fun in ways that please each and every student. I also have made some awesome friends along the way! I'm so grateful I attended this camp and would definitely recommend it to anyone who plays a string instrument!
This was my second summer at Florida State University’s Strings Camp and the Ashley Willwerth Foundation helped to make it happen. My plan is to pursue a career in music performance and teaching so this camp is perfect for me. Experiences like this help to set me apart from others and give me an extra edge, mentorship, and support. I spent two weeks at FSU, had an immersive experience on a college campus with like-minded orchestra students and made a ton of memories New friends, and great experiences with old friends. I am grateful to the Ashley Willwerth Foundation for their support of music education – it enabled me to get support for my camp tuition and help me to focus on preparing for camp.
Brothers William, violin & Benjamin, cello attended the Greater Washington Suzuki Institute.
Sarah is a young musician who has received assistance from the Ashley Foundation several times over the years. She sent the Foundation this graduation announcement. Way to go Sarah!!!!!
Maddie is a young violinist who needed assistance to maintain her bow. The Ashley Foundation was able to help her get her bow re-haired during the year and keep it in tip-top shape.
Audrey was seeking assistance to help her purchase a better bow to match her new violin. The Ashley Foundation was able to assist Audrey with that purchase.
Audrey writes: I am so blessed to live in a time where I can receive help attaining my dreams, even when I don’t have the means to help myself. Without the Ashley Foundation I would not have been able to purchase a high-quality bow. The difference in the quality of my sound now is incredible! It is so encouraging to see people who want musicians to thrive using their time and money to bless them.
Cassandra used her scholarship to help offset tuition to attend Benefic Music Camp during the summer of 2022. It's held at Ball State University in Muncie, IN.
Cassandra writes: Thank you for the scholarship which helped to cover the cost of my summer violin camp. It was an incredible experience!!!!!
Isabella is a violinist from Mississippi who applied for and received scholarship assistance to attend the Virginia Suzuki Institute at Emory & Henry College, Emory, VA.
Isabella writes: Thanks to the Ashley Foundation I was able to attend my very first music camp. I don't live in a place where I am able to play music with kids my age, so I was grateful to do that, plus learn new techniques from teachers that I still use today. Thank you so much! It was the experience of a lifetime!!
Julian used his Ashley Foundation scholarship to obtain private viola lessons from Kendall Conservatory of Music in Miami, FL. He's a senior high student who is a previous Ashley Foundation recipient.
Emma is an elementary school violinist from Cumming, GA. She received an Ashley Foundation scholarship to attend the Franklin Pond Chamber Music Summer Intensive Program, Atlanta, GA in August of 2022.
Emma writes: I had a wonderful time and learned lots!!!!!
Here's a note from another 2022 Ashley Foundation scholarship recipient. Iman is from Aurora, CO and she applied her scholarship to tuition fees at the University of Colorado at Denver. She's a violinist who is working towards a degree in Music Business. Iman was diagnosed with Otosclerosis, which means she will progressively lose her hearing and need hearing aids. As a musician, that's a scary thing to deal with. Iman is making the most of her time at school and working towards her dream of becoming a professional musician!
Iman writes: So far along the course of my college journey at the University of Colorado, Denver, I have learned a lot of new things about music, as well as about myself. As I am in the second semester of my first year, I have already taken 8 classes and I currently wrapping up another 6 classes. The first semester presented the challenge of prioritizing. Although it was already a given that I would need to be prioritizing my studies, it was something I needed to focus on even harder with all the other opportunities that were presented. These were opportunities such as new connections, more collaborations, new creative spaces and overall new creative avenues. I've gotten to meet so many other musicians who are just as in love with music as I am. The first few weeks were nothing be connections and collaborations. We've been experimenting with combining different sounds and styles, and this was even more present in the performance ensemble I was a part of. Performance ensemble was a 3 hour class that met every Friday that allowed students to perform with each other in duets, bands, or solos. It was fun for me because I was the only violin player in the class (also the only freshman violin major here) and people were interested in experimenting with a classical influence. Recital class extended our connections to the faculty in our school as well as some of their associates who have already experienced and still are experiencing the music world. Several of the people I meet here in CU, whether they be students or faculty, will very likely play a role in my progression in the future. We've got to Bond before we get Big. I'm still in a race against time with my hearing but as I continue my studies each day, I grow more confident that I will be able to accomplish my goals regardless. I have a variety of classes that improve and build upon my current playing abilities such as lessons and ear training, but I also have a nice selection of classes that teaches me the logistics of it all such as music business and recital. With everything under my belt, I will be able to navigate a freelance violinist career a lot easier. I hope this gives you an idea of the life of a Music Business Major. Thank you again for helping make my dreams come true!
Sarah has received several Ashley Foundation scholarships over the years. We are honored to have played a part in Sarah's story!!! Her mom recently sent this bio and pic of Sarah.
Sarah's Bio-BM Cello Performance, MMus Cello Performance. In 2012 Sarah attended Luther Summer Music, studying cello with Samuel Nordlund. LSM has always held a special place in her heart as it was her first introduction to the Mendelsohn String Quartets, which sparked a lifelong love for the works. It was also a challenging and exciting experience getting to play Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony as principal cellist. Sarah also participated in the camp's concerto competition and was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to perform the Haydn C Major Cello Concerto with an orchestra. After attending LSM, Sarah went on to attend the Alabama School of Fine Arts and then the renowned Interlochen Arts Academy in 2013, for her last two years of high school. She went on to obtain her Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from DePaul University where she studied with Steven Balderston of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Sarah was quite an active member of the arts community of both Birmingham, AL and Chicago, IL. She was a frequent member of the Chicago Composers Orchestra from 2016 to 2019. In addition to being a member of the CCO, she also taught underprivileged students within the Music for Kids program in Chicago. Sarah attended the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland from 2019 to 2022, where she studied with Alison Wells and Martin Storey, of the Scottish Opera Orchestra. Since moving to Glasgow, she has played in workshops with the Scottish Opera, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Sarah has also worked and performed with the Scottish Ensemble and the Brodsky Quartet. She has studied music in Italy, America and the UK and also participated in studio recording and film projects. In 2022, she performed at Wigmore Hall, in London, for the Cavatina Intercollegiate Competition and won the Audience Prize. Sarah received her Masters in Cello Performance in 2021 from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is now an Instrumental Ambassador for the Benedetti Foundation as well as a string instructor for Dundee City Council and the Glasgow School of Music. In her free time, she enjoys freelancing and is an active chamber musician in her community.
Simon is an 11-year-old violinist who used his scholarship to attend the Virginia Suzuki Institute which is held at Emory & Henry College in Emory, VA.
Simon writes: Thank you so much for awarding me a scholarship for the Virginia Suzuki Institute. I like the orchestra class and scootering on campus between violin classes. I appreciate you. Sincerely, Simon
Benedict is a violin student from TN who used his scholarship to attend the Virginia Suzuki Institute, Emory & Henry College, Emory, VA.
Benedict writes: Thank you for the scholarship to the Virginia Suzuki Institute. I had a really good time there!!!
Samuel is a senior high violinist who received scholarship assistance to help him attend the Trentino Music Festival in Italy.
Samuel writes: This summer, I spent a month studying violin at Trentino Music Festival in Mezzano, Italy. It was a life-changing experience where I was able to work with world-class musicians and be immersed in a new culture. During my time at Trentino, we performed three complete operas, two chamber music recitals and two multi-hour orchestral concerts. Throughout these concerts, I learned and perfected over 300 pages of standard repertoire and developed the ability to learn music fast. Every week we were loaded with new music that we were expected to learn to play within a day. At this festival, I was surrounded by students and faculty from the best conservatories in the world, include the Manhattan School of Music and Julliard. I was fortunate to work with Maestro David Jackson from the Metropolitan Opera. This four-week intensive allowed me to see the life and rigor of being a professional musician. I was also able to have many unique experiences with my peers. These include water canyoning, hiking, exploring the beautiful cities of Italy, participating in local traditions/festivals, and performing in century-old churches. This would not have been possible without the help of the Ashley Willwerth Memorial Foundation, and I am grateful for your support in my music journey.
Lucy is a violin student who attends Ball State University, Muncie, IN. She received assistance to help her attend Benefic Chamber Music Camp at Ball State during the summer of 2023.
Lucy writes: I want to say thank you again for the scholarship helping me attend Benefic Chamber Music Camp this summer. I had a lot of fun and met a lot of different people. All of the pieces were fun to play! The camp was a fun challenge. I am incredibly grateful that you helped make this experience possible!
Vincent is an elementary school violinist who received assistance to attend the Virginia Suzuki Institute at Emory & Henry College, Emory, VA.
Vincent's mom writes: Vincent had an amazing and unforgettable experience at camp. He was a part of a smaller ensemble which was priceless for him as a young musician. His energy was high at camp and it stayed that way all week. Camp was the highlight of his summer. He's already 6 songs into Suzuki Book 2 and more determined than ever to be in Suzuki Book 3 by next camp. I can't say thank you enough for the experience your scholarship allowed him to have.
Chloe is a violin student who used her Ashley Foundation scholarship to help pay for her private violin lessons.
Elaine is a viola performance major at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. She applied her Ashley Foundation scholarship to her college tuition fees.
Elaine writes: I'm so grateful for the Ashley Foundation's support. Studying viola performance at Liberty University has been such a blessing. The faculty is very supportive, and the School of Music provides great opportunities for students to perform and explore different genres of music. I'm excited for what my time at Liberty will bring.
Samantha is a senior high violinist who applied her Ashley Foundation scholarship to tuition fees to attend Benefic Chamber Music Camp, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.
Samantha's mom writes: She had an awesome time and enjoyed playing violin at camp!!
William is a young violinist who received an Ashley Foundation scholarship to assist him in attending Kinhaven Music School, Junior Session during the summer of 2023. Kinhaven is located in Weston, VT.
William writes: Thank you for the scholarship that made it possible for me to attend Kinhaven's summer music program. Kinhaven is such a supportive and inclusive place. I loved my time there. I felt right at home, but with the extra support of playing music every day with other developing musicians that share a love of music, too, and receiving one-on-one coaching. I learned a lot about playing together in orchestra and chamber groups, especially with honored responsibility of being a concertmaster for the first time. Additionally, I loved the folk dancing after every performance, enjoyed the delicious meals, and forming new friendships. Thank you again for making this experience possible. Please find some photos. I am the one with the glasses.
Patrice is a senior high cellist who attended the University of Georgia's Summer Music Institute with the help of the Ashley Foundation. Camp was held at the college in Athens.
Patrice writes: I'm very thankful for the scholarship and had a super time at camp playing my cello!
Lydia is a senior high violinist who used her scholarship to offset costs of attending Peaks to Plains Suzuki Institute in Thornton, CO. She comes from a musical family and 3 of her sisters also attended this camp.
Lydia writes: Thank you so much for the scholarship!!! It helped so much to be a part of the program at Peaks to Plains. Here's a photo of me, my sisters and my friends from the camp.
Benjamin is a cellist who used his Ashley Foundation scholarship to offset the costs of attending the Heifetz International Music Festival, Junior Division, which was held at Mary Baldwin University, Staunton, VA.
Kinsey received scholarship assistance to help her attend Cannon Music Camp, which is held at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.
Kinsey writes: Thank you for your help with sending me to Cannon Music Camp. I know that the time I had there helped me grow as a person and as a musician. Thank you so much!!