The 2016 recipient of the Viola Legacy Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Arts goes to long time Flagstaff musician, educator, writer and volunteer, Charly Spining.

Charly Spining has contributed greatly to Flagstaff’s music and cultural scene since his arrival in town in 1976. At that time he assisted, along with family members, in the restoration of the historic Weatherford Hotel and then subsequently played the piano at Charly’s during lunch time for 20 years (in fact, Charly’s is named after him!).

He is a founding member of the Flagstaff Light Opera Company (in existence since 1995) and is a frequent accompanist to them. Spining currently accompanies the Taize Services at the Episcopal Canterbury Fellowship at NAU and has been the organist at Flagstaff Episcopal Church of the Epiphany since 1986. He also plays for weddings and funerals at the church as well.

He frequently accompanies NAU students at the NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) competitions along with being the accompanist on demand for other performances at NAU as needed. He sings tenor with the Master Chorale and has done so for years. Spining has accompanied many musicians in various venues in and around town as well as in more private home settings.

Last year, he and Jimmy DeBlois performed at Theatrikos for an evening of music for the community. Performing with four local vocalists, Spining was featured in Old Blue Eyes, a Sinatra revue at the Doris Harper White Playhouse in 2015. He has written the program notes for the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra for years and brings his extensive knowledge of music and performance to play in his critical reviews of concert performances for the Daily Sun newspaper. In addition to all of the above attributes, Charly has served as a board member for Theatrikos Theatre Company, Flagstaff Summer Festival, Flagstaff Light Opera Company, Canterbury Campus Episcopal Ministry, and Chamber Music Sedona.

Community input about Charly:

“Charly is a man of many talents who has dedicated his life to music in so many ways and, in the process, has enriched the community life of Flagstaff beyond measure. I could go on and on about the quality of music knowledge and performance abilities, but the above listing of his accomplishments speaks volumes. I am embarrassed that he has not been nominated before and I am proud to be the one to nominate him now. Everyone I talked to about this nomination said the same thing: ‘It’s about time!’”

Recent columns by Charly Spining in AZ Daily Sun

FLOC 20-year anniversary article, KNAU