Local cellist Timothy Riley won the third seat out of 12 in this year’s Kern County Honor Music Festival, which took place Saturday night, March 2, in front of a packed house in the Rabobank Convention Center in Bakersfield. This was the 72nd year for the concert of middle school musicians. The orchestra of 70 young musicians shared the massive stage with an 80-piece band and a choir of more than 200 voices.
The musicians were selected through rigorous auditions. To be chosen for the orchestra at all is an accomplishment. But to be given the third chair is a special achievement. Most of the players are from Bakersfield area schools, which have outstanding music programs.
“I’m so thankful to have been a part of this incredible event,” Riley after the concert. “I wouldn’t trade my time with the talented teachers, musicians and conductor for anything.”
The conductor for the orchestra was Scott Krijnen, a master cellist from the Bay Area. He is a soloist, conductor and educator who has performed throughout the world.
Riley is home-schooled through Inspire, a statewide public school program that offers the opportunity to take “enrichment” classes and lessons in the community. Already an accomplished pianist, Riley has been taking cello lessons from Deborah Hand-Cutler at Mountain Music for the last year. He also plays in TPOPS.
He is the son of Kim and Terry Riley of Stallion Springs. His younger sister, Emma, is a budding violinist who studies with Bernadette Rigney at Mountain Music.
Deborah Hand-Cutler, a former mayor of the City of Tehachapi, owns Mountain Music, where she teaches cello and mountain dulcimer.