At First Sight is a Christ-centered, chamber music sight-reading workshop for youth. This dynamic workshop is an outgrowth of CHAMBER MUSIC WEEKEND, an unusual chamber music event for amateur and professional musicians, now in its twentieth season. Both events are the heart-offering of a unique family of musicians.
In its first twelve years, Chamber Music Weekend grew from 35 to over 100 participants. As the attendance increased, so did the numbers of students who came to CMW. To meet their specific needs, we added young people's divisions and hired teaching staff. But CMW outgrew the capacity of our beautiful facilities at Southern Adventist University, and that growth gave us the marvelous opportunity to create At First Sight, a chamber music program designed specifically for youth.
As we worked with the students who came to Chamber Music Weekend, we realized that many of them were uncomfortable sight-reading, one of the most useful and important tools a musician can have. We found that students often don’t have much experience playing music in a setting that encourages them to read quickly and accurately the first time. And, because it is uncomfortable, students often tell us that they are afraid to sight-read.
At First Sight found its mission in providing sight-reading training within the format of chamber music. Over the past eight years, AFS has become an exciting educational venue. We have drawn a fabulous staff from all over the country, each of whom shares the supportive and inclusive spirit of the founders. At AFS, students and staff play together, sharing the joy and exhilaration which naturally flow from creative and recreational playing.
Our passion for music in specific, and life in general, comes from our gratitude to God, the Giver of all good things. Because of this, from its inception, we dedicated At First Sight to God, and gave His Spirit free reign in its design and implementation. AFS is a safe place for students to combine their love of music and their love of God, and we encourage our students to share their gifts with others as freely as God has shared His love with us.
AFS still shares much of its life-blood with its parent organization, Chamber Music Weekend. Staff of At First Sight often participate in CMW (which occurs the week before AFS), and carry over from it the joy and passion of making music together. The same family organizes and hosts both events.
At First Sight is rising to a unique position in educating young musicians for the future, training young hearts, minds and talents to make music “for the love of it.”