A budding musician has been awarded the Mancos Creative District’s Create 81328 Scholarship.
Adam Yoder was this year’s recipient of the $1,000 scholarship, which seeks to honor young creatives in the 81328 ZIP code. Yoder was honored to have his musical abilities recognized with this scholarship, he said.
“That was a special thing for me,” he said. “To have people see my playing and think it’s worthy of an award.”
Yoder, soon to graduate from high school, started playing piano about 10 years ago.
“We had a piano in the house, there was a lot of music in the house,” he said. “It was just something I felt like doing.”
He’s been a steadfast musician ever since, later expanding his instrumental repertoire to saxophone and percussion. Music has become an “emotional release,” he said.
“I’ve gotten to the point where I can really put those emotions into what I’m playing, and start to make the music mine when I’m playing, if it makes sense to say it that way,” Yoder said. “It’s pretty personal. I’ve never been super-comfortable performing in front of people, and I think that’s because I like to put personality into my music, a lot of emotion.”
But he’s still performed, playing with friends and other local groups, including the Stillwater All Stars, an audition jazz group out of Durango. He performed two consecutive years at the Telluride Jazz Festival.
“That first year, it was pretty scary,” Yoder said. “But really it’s not a whole lot different than a regular performance. There’s more people watching you, but it’s the same people on stage with you, you’re playing the same style of music and everything. It was a lot of fun.”
He’s classically trained on the piano, and in recent years has enjoyed learning music from the Romantic era, in addition to his jazz playing. Yoder’s submission video for the scholarship traced his musical path, from his “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” piano novice days to recitals at Fort Lewis College to the Telluride Jazz Festival shows.
This fall, his path will take him to University of Colorado Boulder, where he has been accepted into the engineering school. He plans to be a technology, arts and media major, and possibly focus on music or computer science, since he’s also interested in game development.
The 81328 scholarship fund was established by the Mancos Creative District as a way to support college-bound, arts-focused students. It has been funded by anonymous donors and the Mancos Valley Chamber of Commerce.