Knost was a local piano teacher whose 60-year career ended when she passed away in the 1990s, but her program and dedication to teaching music to children still lives on today. Knost had four original goals for children participating in the summer workshop.
• There would be no charge for children to attend,
• Area musicians would donate their time for the children,
• Children could choose their classes based on their interests,
• Each day, children would experience a concert.
The program is free for local children who will be entering grades 1-8 in the fall, and it is funded entirely by community donations and grants.
“The first year (1973) it was housed in Franklin Avenue Methodist Church, and then we moved to Trinity, and then Cornerstone,” said Workshop Co-Director Becky Climer.
Registration is now closed, and more than 200 kids have signed up for summer music classes.
“It was Mrs. Knost’s vision to have a workshop where students could have musical experiences during the summer. She was very committed to a daily recital for exposure, and pretty much we’ve kept her philosophy and standards. The teachers are not paid and the children are not charged,” Climer said.
She said they have always tried to keep with Knost’s philosophy that no child will ever be turned away — but Knost never had this many kids at once, and there is limited space.
“Years ago, 150 was a big crowd, now we are well over that,” said Workshop Co-Director Amy Howard.
Kids can choose to take any two of the one-week lessons offered in hand chimes, hand bells, beginning piano, flutophone, musical theater, class violin, class guitar, class voice, rhythm instrument, chorus, dance, boomwhac-kers, or adventures in musical stories. Kids are also taught sign language in music.
“For the last several years, we have named a classical composer of the week. This year our composer is J.S. Bach, and the kids are learning to sign ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’ which is by Bach. Then, throughout the week, we will also do little mini-music history lessons about Bach and his compositions,” Climer said.
The workshop is offered from 9-11:30 a.m. all this week, and at 10:50 a.m. every day the public is invited to join students in seeing a live concert recital. Each day will offer a different instrument recital in the sanctuary of Cornerstone United Met-hodist Church. Today will be an organ recital, Thursday is musician Sean Keyster and Friday will be a children’s theater organization.
“I don’t know of anywhere else that something like this exists; least of all for free. I think that's great that we have something for our kids, in our community that is special,” Howard said.
She said the kids enjoy learning new instruments and often are most interested and excited about learning guitar. Musical theater, she said, is also usually very popular with the kids.
Climer said that exposing children to arts helps a child's brain development and social development.
“Amy and I are both so honored to be able to carry on (Knost's) tradition. It’s something both of us are very passionate about, and all of our staff is,” Climer said.
The entire week comes to an end with a closing concert at the church, Friday at 7 p.m., featuring performances by the workshop students themselves.
“Our focus is not the product; it’s the process. Because we don’t want this to be all about their performance on Friday night. We’re excited on Friday night about showing what we’ve done, but you don’t learn to play violin in a week, but it’s exciting for the students,” Climer said.
The larger mission of the workshop, she said, is to spark a child’s interest in playing that instrument or learning about the arts in general.