The Uinta Conservatory
March 15, 2011
The new directors of the Uinta Conservatory for the Arts in Kamas want to see the school grow into a valuable asset to the community.
"We’re a well-rounded arts school," said Zita Bodrogia, music director and piano instructor. "I would like to see the students learn not just about music, but about all the arts."
"The main influences for the kids living in this area are ranching, farming and a little basketball and football here and there," said art director and visual arts instructor Michael Smith. "There isn’t a lot of culture here. And being this close to Park City, I hope some of it spills over."
Zita Bodrogia’s vision
Bodrogia, a former Gina Bachauer Piano Competition contestant who hails from Budapest, Hungary, said her goal is to have her students enjoy concerts, appreciate exhibitions and understand how to read a music score.
"It’s not necessary for every person we teach to perform, but we would like to give them good strong base from which to draw on so they can perform if they want," she said. "More than anything, we want the students to understand the arts. That way they can become independent and move forward."
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Bodrogia’s training in the Kodaly Method, named after Hungarian composer Zoltain Kodaly, helps her focus on the pupil’s developmental approach by working with the child’s own capabilities.
"It first teaches the children the love of the music," she said about the method. "It’s not about making them famous piano players, although they could if they wanted. It’s important to help them prepare for the chance to go into different styles blues or jazz or rock.
"I would like to see children form bands and to play with other instruments as well."
Bodrogia said she wants to see younger children enrolled in the conservatory.
"I would like to see children starting at age four reading music," she said. "We would like to plan on having younger children’s group classes in the morning and individual lessons in the afternoon."
The conservatory is set up to teach music theory and 50 instruments including piano, drums, violin, guitar and an array of brass, Bodrogia said.
"I would like to see the community embrace our efforts, " she said. "Because I feel teaching music is a way to give something back to the community."
The conservatory will eventually utilize the stage that is located in the theatre next door for productions, said Bodrogia.
"This school is designed to teach and showcase every discipline," she said. "We do it in a way everyone can enjoy."
Michael Smith’s vision
Michael Smith, who has a degree in graphic design and worked on projects for the 2002 Winter Games, the University of Utah and the now-defunct ZCMI, said his conservatory duties will focus on the visual arts.
"We will provide classes on painting, mosaics, ceramics and sculpture," he said. "We have two kilns and 5,000 molds for the ceramics, which we’re planning to start in the summer. The ideas are big and hoping it will come to fruition."
Smith, a painter who loves fly-fishing, will also teach woodcarving. He’ll work with younger students on hand-carved sculptures and work with older students on chainsaw carvings.
"When the class starts cutting fish and duck decoys, I will teach how to do them from scratch, which is just a block of wood," Smith said. "I’ll teach them what tools they need, because if you know what tools you need, you can save a lot of money."
Smith, and his faculty, will help students develops an eye for composition and the understanding of the physical lines of animals with his sculpting, which he developed while painting.
"After I retired, I wanted to focus on my gallery paintings," he said. "But in Jackson Hole and
West Yellowstone, I kept noticing these wooden bear carvings and thought how fun it would be to do them."
After investing in a chain saw and "making a lot of firewood" the first couple of years, Smith finally cut a sculpture that looked like a bear.
"That was encouraging and I continued working at it," he said.
His artistic philosophy surrounds the idea that every log has a story that needs to be released.
"All my sculptures start from a block of wood," he said. "A lot of times the wood will determine the position the animal will be, because when I start cutting with a band saw or a chain saw or a carving knife, the basic shape follows the cracks and grain in the wood."
The Uinta Conservatory for the Arts is located at 30 N. Main Street in Kamas. It is now enrolling students. For more information, call (435) 783-8000.