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California Youth
Symphony Concert
May 23, 1999
Leo Eylar, Conductor

Ladies and Gentlemen, this concert series is dedicated to the memory of Melissa Belton, who was one of our top players in CYS. She was tragically killed in an auto accident last month on her way back to college. This loss, this immeasurable loss, has affected all of us at CYS greatly.

I knew Melissa for many years. She played in the junior orchestra of CYS and came back to be our English hornist and oboist in the senior orchestra. Melissa was one of the dearest, sweetest, most lovely young women that I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

I'd like to take a moment to play a short memorial tribute to honor her life and what we all feel about Melissa. She would understand this very well. Melissa was a very quiet young girl and spoke through her music, very similar to the way I do. She understood and knew very very well the true power of music. She understood the power within music to heal, and to express what words simply cannot express: The depth of feeling and the depths of our loss.

This tribute is from Elgar's Enigma Variations. Elgar wrote a series of variations based on his friends, each one depicting a different close friend in his life. The centerpiece of the entire work and one of the great moments in all English music is the variation called Nimrod, which was written for his dearest friend who had just passed away.

We offer this now as a memorial and a tribute to someone we loved, and loved very much.

This is for you, Melissa, and for your family, whom we love.

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