Symphony to honor 14-year-old’s work
Abigail Heaton didn’t need years of musical experience to write her first piece of music.
At 14, Heaton won the Crystal Baton competition sponsored by the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra. Her melody, “His Return,” includes a key change, a bridge and variations in the core melody.
“All you have to do is listen to it, and you’ll know why she won,” said Michael Schwerin, the symphony’s executive director.
Heaton, who turned to her Mormon faith for the tune’s inspiration, has the melody memorized and is proud of her final work. As part of the reward for winning the first Crystal Baton award, the symphony paid to have Heaton’s melody orchestrated. At its April 1 concert, 45-piece symphony will play “His Return” before Heaton receives her crystal baton and a copy of her piece’s score.
Heaton wrote the melody on her family’s living room piano is excited to hear an orchestra play her music.
Members of the Grand Junction symphony decided to hold a composing contest for middle school students to encourage children’s musical creativity.
In the first year of the competition, nearly 15 children entered with pieces that had to be between 16 to 64 bars. The symphony did not put a geographical boundary on the competition and envisions it eventually pulling in entries from across the Western Slope.
Heaton is from Fruita where she is one of 10 children, all of whom are musicians.
In fact, the Heaton Family Band performs at community functions and rest homes.
Now, a member of the Heaton family is a composer.
“I am excited,” Heaton said.