Violin player Kelaiah Horat to hold recital for community

Kelaiah Horat is giving a recital to the community as a thank you. “I feel the community has been supporting me and I’ve found it one of the most natural ways for me to communicate,” said Horat. “It touches me and other people in a way that always surprises me. I love that about it.”

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Violin and viola musician Kelaiah Horat will gift the community with beautiful and inspiring music at her Senior Recital on Sunday, May 31.

“I’m offering a community recital as a thank you to the public,” said Horat, whose interest in the violin began at an early age.

“I started asking to play violin before I was 3,” she said. “I always felt a deep longing and desire to do so, and when I was 6 my parents took me seriously and we rented a violin. Since then, I’ve learned and it has turned into my voice and I’ve found it one of the most natural ways for me to communicate. It touches me and other people in a way that always surprises me. I love that about it. It’s a totally a different language – it’s international communication and cultural relations. It doesn’t face the same obstacles that the English language does, and playing violin has put me in contact with so many people. There’s no other way I would have met these people if it weren’t for music.

“I feel the community has been supporting me – since I began playing at the Hamilton Farmers Market since I was 12. That’s how I bought my violin.”

Horat purchased her higher quality violin around age 14, and about five years ago she also picked up the viola. She started out by borrowing a viola.

“When people realize you have a passion they are amazing and step up to help,” Horat said.

The list of performance groups she has played in is very impressive. She played with the Bitterroot Valley Youth Symphony conducted by Martha Ilgenfritz for eight years. BYS dissolved with she was 14. She was concert master for the Bitterroot Valley Orchestra and viola for one year.

At age 15, she began playing with the Missoula Youth Symphony as a first violin and this, her senior year, she played for the University of Montana Orchestra as a first violin. She has been playing viola in the UM Chamber group and the University Orchestra.

Horat has received a UM music scholarship, where she will study music performance this fall.

Last summer, she received a scholarship to play viola in the Music Academy of the West the MERIT Youth Program in Santa Barbara, California, for two weeks.

Horat will be joined by other gifted performers for the concert on Sunday, which features a variety of music: classical, baroque, romantic and contemporary. Her main accompanist will be Lillian Reichert, a local teacher based in Victor with a degree in Music Composition from UM.

Also joining her will be Sam Parker, a Hamilton High School graduate who recently completed his freshman year at St. Olaf; Bitterroot Baroque president Alex Shaffer on recorder for a baroque piece; and Pam Small, also on the Bitterroot Baroque board, will play guitar in the baroque style. Small plays bluegrass, recently played for Tin Cup, and is a longtime Bitterroot resident.

“I’ll also play with my first violin teacher; Annelies Aiking-Taylor from Missoula,” said Horat. “She studied in Switzerland and played orchestras throughout Europe and with the Missoula Symphony Orchestra. I’ll also play a song written recently by local singer and songwriter Annemarie Barnes (who will provide guitar and vocals).”

Horat is the Vice President for Bitterroot Baroque and gives private violin lessons to eight students. She is currently studying under UM Music Professor Margaret Baldridge.

“I’ve had various recitals and concerts around the valley all my life,” she said. “I so appreciate our community.”

Come to the recital prepared to be impressed with her abilities, presence and quality of the concert.

Violinist Kelaiah Horat’s free senior recital will be at St. Francis Catholic Church, 411 S. Fifth St., Hamilton, Sunday, May 31, 7:30 p.m.

Reach reporter Michelle McConnaha at 363-3300 or