Concert benefits musician’s battle with cancer

Tyme and Kathryn “Catie” Mientka are well-known in the area for their performances on cello and piano and for the Western Slope Concert Series of which Tyme Mientka is the director. Tyme Mientka is receiving chemotherapy for the squamous cell cancer.

Friends of local cellist Tyme Mientka want to help the Western Slope Concert Series director in his ongoing fight with cancer.

After months of preparation, a special benefit concert will be at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, at Paonia’s Sacred Heart Church, 235 N. Fork Ave.

Admission is “by donation.”

The concert will be nearly two hours long with a mix of classical, Celtic and gospel music from small groups, individuals and a choir.

Harpist Elise Helmke will perform as well as a number of other musicians who have played with Tyme or his wife Kathryn “Catie” Mientka.

All proceeds from the concert will be given to the Mientka family to help cover mounting medical bills related to Tyme Mientka’s cancer treatments. Catie Mientka, a professional pianist, already has sold her grand piano to raise money, she said via email.

Tyme Mientka currently is at An Oasis of Healing cancer clinic in Arizona, where he receives chemotherapy for the squamous cell cancer he was diagnosed with in June, Catie Mientka wrote.

He is keeping a positive attitude, she said.

However, Tyme Mientka no longer has the strength to play his cello.

“As the tumors grew, he started experiencing double vision and facial paralysis,” friend Gretchen Nicholoff said. “It was all really dreadful.”

Doctors have told Tyme Mientka that if chemotherapy shrinks tumors that have developed in his neck, they would be able to remove them and help him gain strength back.

Catie Mientka said news of the benefit concert has given the family “real hope.”

Those unable to attend the benefit concert can still donate to two separate funds set up in Tyme Mietnka’s name.

In Grand Junction, checks may be made payable to friends “Lylamae Chedsey” or “Shelly Hyde” at American National Bank, 1199 Patterson Road, Grand Junction 81506.

In Delta and Montrose counties, go to any Montrose Bank branch or send checks payable to “Benefit of the Mientka Family” to North Fork Bank Center, P.O. Box 1806, Paonia 81428.

Performance note: Tyme Mientka was scheduled to play for A Little Noon Music on Dec. 14 at the First United Methodist Church, 522 White Ave. In his stead, his daughter, Stephanie Mientka, and Andrew Krimm, both viola players and students at Rice University, will perform.


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