West orchestra students meet generous musician after donation to District 6


Greeley West orchestra students and their guests pose for a picture with musician Nathaniel Rateliff before his concert at Mission Ballroom last week.

Kinsley Mahan, Staff Writer

Last Friday, a handful of orchestra students got to “string their praises” when they met up backstage with musician Nataniel Rateliff at his most recent Denver concert. 

Rateliff, in partnership with the Newport Festivals Foundation, and Take Note Colorado, graciously donated a bounty of instruments to various Greeley schools, among them Greeley West. 

Greeley was identified as a Colorado town in need of instruments and the donation was given in hopes of increasing access to music education for local students. The school district was gifted over $20,000 in instruments. 

As part of the donation, Greeley West received electric and acoustic guitars for its orchestra program. Not only did the orchestra students get new instruments, but they also got to attend Rateliff’s concert with opener Mavis Staples at Denver’s Mission Ballroom. Before the concert, the young musicians met Rateliff himself and connected over shared experiences like growing up in a small town with no recognition. 

First Chair violinist and concert master Itzel Gonzalez Rios expressed her thanks for the unique experience: “I feel very appreciated because there are many kids who would love to play an instrument but don’t have the ability to because of money. Having this donation done to a small city like Greeley, gives us hope and motivation to keep doing what we are doing. Nathaniel Rateliff, he lit a fire in us once more,” Gonzalez Rios said.