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Meet violinist Valerie Westland.

With a background in behavioral science and psychology and as a Nuclear Weapons Operator with the United States Air Force, Valerie is a unique and wonderful addition to the Great Falls Symphony.

“When I was in 4th grade I was given a violin by my school’s orchestra teacher and invited to play with the 5th grade ensemble because I was loitering in the corner of the music room waiting for school to start each day. The violin chose me more than I chose the violin.”

A Colorado Springs native, Valerie continued to develop her skills on the violin and eventually caught the ear of a professor from the Manhattan School of Music. She was invited to attend this prestigious institution to study her art, but she changed her mind at the last minute and joined the United States Air Force instead.

“I was so afraid that I didn’t have what it took to make it as a professional musician, and so, at the wise old age of seventeen, I basically abandoned the thought of ever playing again after I joined the military. But then I discovered that Great Falls has an outstanding symphony.”

Valerie first heard about the Great Falls Symphony while listening to a radio advertisement for the concert Love is in the Air featuring violinist William Hagen. She decided to attend the concert and afterward she introduced herself to some of the musicians.

​​“When I met the members of the orchestra, I realized how welcoming they all were and I ended up taking lessons from violinist Mary Papoulis. A little while later I had the opportunity to audition for a permanent spot in the orchestra.”

Your support means so much more than a donation to the Great Falls Symphony. You are investing in the growth and enrichment of our community, and you are investing in our future.

“The Great Falls community has really brought out the best in me. I am so thankful to have been stationed here. It is the best first assignment anyone could ask for and I am requesting to stay longer!”

As you carry out your year-end traditions, we hope you’ll make a donation to support our work, which enriches the lives of our community through music.

Your support helps make Valerie’s story possible! Your gift will help us continue to pursue our mission to infuse cultural vibrancy into the Great Falls community through transformative music events and education programs.

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