Cheers to our Founder Hal Weller, well deserved recognition as a Local Hero!!!

From directing across the nation, to teaching young musicians in the valley

With a career as a conductor spanning 45 years, Hal Weller has directed orchestras all across the nation.

However, it’s what he’s doing after retirement, that’s giving young musicians the tools they need to succeed.

It starts with a single note and together, they create music.

“Hearing the kids play, watching them smile,” Weller said.

That is what is most rewarding for Weller, who created the Foundation to Assist Young Musicians (FAYM) back in 2007.

It started with one Polish student who he saw had great potential.

“I had asked him eventually if he ever thought of studying in the United States, and Krzysztof wrote back and said, ‘No, my parents are really poor. That would be impossible.’ So it was the word impossible that started the foundation,” Weller said.

He brought Krzysztof to the United States, and he’s now a professional musician.

Since then, FAYM has given out 40 scholarships ranging from $500 to $80,000.

“Real development happens in an earlier age, so we’re catching these kids at about third-grade level,” Weller said. “They come from low-income families who can’t really afford lessons or instruments, so we provide two lessons a week.”

It is part of the Violins for Kids program. Some students like 11-year-old Alexa Viedas who made the orchestra are now striving for the Golden Violin Award, where students can receive a brand new violin.

“If we didn’t know about FAYM, there’s no other way to afford to take her, so it’s wonderful she can participate,” said Alexa’s mother, Nancy Viedas.

Weller was a conductor of orchestras in several states and formed the Las Vegas Philharmonic in 1998.

After retirement, this is his way to make sure all children, despite their background, have the resources to experience his love for music.

“We formed a class with 11 kids with one volunteer teacher, and now we have 150 kids and 8 or 9 paid teachers in two locations,” Weller said.

“It’s just an amazing thing of someone of Hal’s status would care about the children and do things to make it happen just for the kids,” said Arturo Ochoa, a FAYM board member.

Weller knows many of these students won’t pursue music as a career, but he’s seen how a note, a melody, a song can transform young lives.

After all, music is what life sounds like with its high and low notes. This is a high, a passion, Weller hopes to share in the future.

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