Wichita Falls native Nick Beltchev returned home last night, Saturday, November 14, 2015 to dazzle an appreciative hometown crowd and Examiner with his tuba performance with the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra at the Municipal Auditorium. Currently a senior at the University of Michigan, it was the classic story of hometown boy makes good. He performs regularly with the Symphony Band and Symphony Orchestra at the University of Michigan.
Beltchev told Examiner at a reception following his performance it all started when no one else knew how to play the tuba in school. When he volunteered it was a match made in heaven as he has gone on to make his name in the international world of music. He was principal tuba on the Grammy-nominated recording of Darius Milhaud’s L’Ortesie D’Eschyle opera trilogy with the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, according to the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra program. He also played with soloists from the Metropolitan Opera and university choirs.
Beltchey, who began playing the tuba at age 12, has ascended the heights of the music world by receiving Honorable Mention at the International Tuba-Euphonium Conference in 2014 for his performance in the Arnold Jacobs Mock Orchestral audition. He was also runner-up in the Mock Band competition. The Wichita Falls High School graduate further made his name when he was a finalist in the 2014 Concerto Competition at the University of Michigan.
Still young to have achieved so much success, Beltchev graduated from WFHS in 2012. Many of his former classmates and acquaintances were on hand to witness his brilliant performance with the symphony which was directed by Candler Schaffer in his twentieth year at the helm.
Last night he thrilled a large hometown crowd by performing a Concerto for Tuba in F minor which was written by Ralph Vaughan Williams. His performance included the Prelude (Allegro moderato), Romanzo (Andante sostenuto) and the Finale-Rondo alla Tedesca (Allegro) with the symphony. His performance was greeted with enthusiastic applause by the hometown crowd which was on hand to welcome him home.
Justin Lewis, bass trombonist with the symphony for the past 21 years, said, “We are fortunate this evening to have one of Wichita Falls’ own, Nick Beltchev, as our guest soloist. Nick began learning to play tuba at Zundy Jr. High, was a member of the Wichita Falls High School Band as well as a two time Texas All-State Band Member.” Lewis further said, “As a local musician/educator with the Wichita Falls Independent School District, I had the honor of starting Nick on tuba. I also had the pleasure of accompanying Nick twice to the TMEA All-State band clinic/concert. I almost caused him to be late to rehearsal due to my insistence that he sample Mexican food in San Antonio (which was some distance from the rehearsal site!”
Lewis further said it was obvious Nick was musically gifted from the start. He also said, “This, along with an extraordinary work ethic has produced one of the finest musicians from Wichita Falls.”
Betchley is the grandson of Kay and Frank Yeager who hosted a reception following his dazzling performance in their Wichita Falls, Texas home. Several people said, “We love Nick.”
The next performance of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra will be December 12, 2015 with the special Christmas program.