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California Youth Symphony
Newsletter article
April 19, 1999

Melissa (Missy) Belton, oboist with CYS from 1994 to 1998, died in a tragic, single car accident on April 10. She had been a member of the State Honor Band and State Honor Orchestra while with CYS and was majoring in oboe performance at Biola University at the time of her death. Music Director Leo Eylar shared the following thoughts:

The CYS organization is in many respects like a very large family. The connections that student s make, as well as the wonderful and rewarding musical and personal relationships that grow out of year s of participation, are both things that our students carry with them throughout their lives. From my own perspective, working with these incredible young people has enriched my life and brought me great joy and satisfaction. Watching them grow, both musically and personally, and being a mentor and friend to them is the most satisfying and rewarding part of my job as Music Director.

The tragic loss of Melissa Belton this past week fills us all with sorrow and compassion. Our hearts go out to her family. I knew Melissa for many years, as she played both in the Associate CYS Orchestra and the Senior Orchestra. I had the pleasure of watching her grow over the years into a remarkable young musician, and to share many memorable musical experiences with her.

She was a gentle, kind-hearted young lady with immense musical talents, and she exuded a quiet radiance that was uplifting to behold. Her memory will always be in our hearts and we can never forget how she touched our lives through her music-making and her wonderfully warm and caring manner.

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