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Young Artist Award given to local flute player

West Ranch High graduate plays radio show

Posted: January 13, 2009 9:54 p.m.
Updated: January 14, 2009 1:00 p.m.
Flutist Doug DeVries, 18, guests on Sunday morning radio, NPR's "From the Top." Flutist Doug DeVries, 18, guests on Sunday morning radio, NPR's "From the Top."
Flutist Doug DeVries, 18, guests on Sunday morning radio, NPR's "From the Top."

For Doug DeVries, playing the flute comes as a challenge.

"It's not easy," he said. "I have to work at it. It's something that I really enjoy working at."

The 18-year-old West Ranch High School graduate's hard work paid off recently as he won the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, a $10,000 scholarship given to 25 young musicians each year.

The honor allowed DeVries to appear on "From the Top," an NPR Sunday morning radio program.

"We were just thrilled," said Deanne DeVries, Doug DeVries' mother. "There's no other word for it."
Doug DeVries' relationship with music began in childhood.

He started playing the piano at age 5 and considered a career as a pianist. Later the trumpet became his focus, but brass instruments had to take a back seat when DeVries got braces in sixth grade.

Then the young musician discovered a new passion in the flute his mother gave him from her own high school days.

"I think it was pretty clear from the early years that he had a special connection with music," Deanne DeVries said. "He had his own appreciation for music that was even different than mine and my husband's."

Flute lessons followed.

"We just went through music piece after piece after piece," said Judy Goldwater, Doug's first flute teacher.
Goldwater, a flute instructor for 30 years, recognized DeVries' talent.

"I've taught a lot of kids, but I've never had a kid walk in and - after almost two years of studying with me - he sounded like he's been playing for five or six years," she said.

The West Ranch joined various Southern California chamber groups and the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra.

DeVries' parents recognized the potential in their son.

"We've just kind of stood back and watched it happen," Deanne DeVries said. "We've very supportive and very excited."

In an interview from New York, where the 18-year-old is a freshman at The Juilliard School, he said he looks forward to his studies at the prestigious fine-arts school.

"I'm just trying to take advantage of all the opportunities here," he said.

Recitals are a key part of the music school's curriculum, which DeVries loves.

"I'm really performance driven," he said. "I really enjoy working with other people a lot."

He hopes to one day perform for a professional orchestra and to teach.

Goldwater sees a lot for DeVries' future.

"The sky's the limit for him," she said. "He can do whatever he wants to do. That's how talented he is."


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