Laylah Davis playing her violin

Sweet sounds, small ensembles

Georgetown students of diverse musical experience now have the opportunity to learn leadership, communication, and critical thinking skills while developing a lifelong appreciation for music, thanks to the CHAMPS program and its director, Toby Blumenthal-Phillips.

Although relatively new to the Georgetown Independent School District, CHAMPS (Chamber Music in Public Schools) has been part of music education in central Texas since 1991, when it was founded by late University of Texas violin professor Robert Rudie.

The program began at Georgetown at Tippit Middle School in 2014 and expanded to Georgetown and East View High Schools this year, says Mary Powers, orchestra director at GHS.

Chamber music is a form of classical music composed for small groups of instruments that typically include combinations of string and/or wind instruments and occasionally piano. Each musician must play his or her own part beautifully and without the support of a section of instruments—almost as a soloist. Yet the group must also work together, as if to create a miniature orchestra performance.

Freshmen String Trio, Alexiss Medina, Laylah Davis, Taylor Normann, rehearse with orchestra director Mary Powers

Freshmen String Trio, Alexiss Medina, Laylah Davis, Taylor Normann,
rehearse with orchestra director Mary Powers

Mary Powers is excited to have the CHAMPS program in GISD because chamber music encourages students “to think independently while working and problem-solving together as a group. Students are really enjoying it.” Kevin Behlmann, director at Tippit and East View, adds, “CHAMPS is a great opportunity for students to get exposed to small ensemble work. The music allows them to be treated as soloists on their instruments, and it’s great for developing musicians!”


Learn more about the program at salonconcerts.org.

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