Knost Music Workshop lives on


Over 200 youths from around the area attended the 44th annual Dorothy Knost Music Workshop Monday at Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Portsmouth.

Local talent from across the surrounding area performs during its 30-minute concert at the Dorothy Knost Music Workshop Monday at Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Portsmouth.

A new generation is being inspired by the power of music this week at the 44th annual Dorothy Knost Music Workshop.

“Music is generational, it never stops, it’s not a fad that comes and goes,” chorus director from South Webster High School, Rhonda Mays said.

The workshop, which has over 200 kids registered, offers 14 different classes in things ranging from piano to guitar and voice. Each child gets to choose two classes to take throughout the week.

“They definitely get a musical experience that they wouldn’t get somewhere else,” co-director of the workshop, Amy Howard said. “They get to try out instruments without actually having to sign up for lessons or pay for lessons, they get a taste of different kinds of instruments, and singing.”

Not only do the children get to try out the instruments and singing for themselves, they are also introduced to attending music performances.

“Every day we have a concert for about 30 minutes,” co-director of the workshop, Becky Climber said. “We teach concert etiquette, how you behave at a concert, what’s proper, when you applaud, when you don’t, those kinds of things.”

Exposure to all things music is certainly the main priority of the workshop which is why every year they also focus on a composer and teach the kids about how that composer impacted music.

”This week our composer is Beethoven, just talking about the composer and the importance of that composer in our world,” Climber said. “You know the music of Beethoven is everywhere in our world, and oftentimes we don’t even realize it.”

The workshop that has been inspiring children for 44 years was the idea of the woman it was named for, Dorothy Knost. She wanted the workshop to be free for children and the instructors to donate their time and talents to their community. The workshop still operates this way today.

“To whom much is given much is expected, and if you have an ability to work with kids you owe it to your community to give back,” Climber said. “So we are not compensated at all, none of us are.”

Although many of the instructors donate their time year after year, Climber says that getting different people involved is important.

“We also try to encourage new and younger people to get involved in it, because that’s the future of it,” Climber said. “They can’t keep doing it because of me, that’s for sure. So you have to inspire the next generation to perpetuate it, so I think that it will.”

Climber says that she believes that the Workshop adds something special to the community.

“It adds something positive for kids to be involved it, it adds something positive for adults to be involved in by helping, but it also adds another generation that will have that as a memory and something to hold onto,” Climber said. “And culture is never a bad thing, it adds another little bit of class to our area.”