Monday, March 9, 2009 | 7:09 p.m.
The Las Vegas Youth Orchestra and Henderson architect and public radio commentator Robert Fielden and his wife, Jane, were among six groups and individuals recognized last week at the Governor's Arts Awards.
The Youth Orchestra was the only Southern Nevada group to be honored, and the Fieldens were the only Southern Nevada individuals among the honorees, at a dinner and ceremony on March 5 in Reno.
Robert and Jane Fielden, co-founders of RAFI: Architecture and Fielden & Partners Interior Design, won the Leadership in the Arts award for individuals. The Youth Orchestra won Leadership in Arts Education.
The Youth Orchestra won the award at a financially challenging time. Its January concert was nearly canceled when its parent Las Vegas Symphony Orchestra found itself cash-strapped in December. It did not have the $90,000 needed to stage the youth concerts until donors came forward at the last minute with the money.
Now, the youth orchestra is considering tuition to help maintain the organization's future fiscal health. A decision will be made by April 1, the beginning of the next audition cycle, said Bev Patton, president of Friends of the Las Vegas Youth Orchestra.
The 20-year-old group helps Southern Nevada children and teens hone their musical talents.
Megan Hsu, a 17-year-old Coronado High School student, said the orchestra provides a higher level of performing for young musicians. The viola player has been with the orchestra since the sixth grade.
"The level is a lot higher at youth orchestra than at school," she said. "It is more challenging."
About 300 children across the Las Vegas Valley are involved in the youth orchestra at four levels: ensemble, sinfonia, symphony and youth philharmonic. They perform four concerts a year.
Henderson businessman Hae-Young Choi, who has two daughters in the group, said he will keep his children in the orchestra even if tuition is charged.
"The music is good for the kids," he said.
The Fieldens have been active in the Las Vegas-area arts community for more than 40 years.
Through the 1970s and '80s, they sat on committees including Beautification Las Vegas, Parks and Recreation and the Allied Arts Council. They have been involved in historic preservation, helping to relocate Becker and Morelli Houses and create plaques at Lorenzi Park in Las Vegas.
Jane Fielden has served as "artist in residence" for Nevada, and she created the logo for the Henderson Libraries Christmas Tree Lane event.
Robert Fielden, also an instructor at UNLV for 30 years, does an urban planning commentary on KNPR, the local Nevada Public Radio affiliate.
The Fieldens moved to Las Vegas in 1963, when they designed the neon sign for the Stardust, followed by the sign for the Silver Slipper, which now is in the Neon Museum's Boneyard.
More recently, the Fieldens have consulted on the Arts District Neighborhood Advisory Committee for the Downtown Arts District.