By Reader Staff
Most students at the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint know that the “someone” shouting an enthusiastic “Bravo!” from down the hall of the MCS when hearing music, may or may not be an instructor. In many cases, most likely, it is MCS’ much beloved African Grey parrot “Amadea.”
For students at the Conservatory, the integration of somewhat unusual support animals that may join lessons is a common occurrence. There is little Miss Sophie, instructor Sarah Caruso’s dog who hangs out with students and has her own fan base. You will find her in all of Sarah’s lessons — or, she may just say “hello” in the office.
Last year, a more unusual and new “staff” member joined MCS: Amadea, a baby African Grey Congo parrot. African Greys are spectacular mimics and exceptionally intelligent. Training began almost immediately and now it’s not uncommon to hear “Bravo!” from Amadea, as well as sounds of a phone ringing, voices engaged in conversation and even a copy machine sound — all expertly mimicked by Amadea.
Endless laughter is a guarantee with Amadea’s antics. Parents, when enrolling their children, never need to worry about their kids growing bored while waiting for a class to begin. Students are often found being mesmerized and talking to Amadea, who of course loves all MCS students, but probably most appreciates the attention.
Right from the beginning, Amadea has joined voice lessons. Now, MCS is beginning to hear a hint of a vibrato as she aspires to learn some vocal exercises along with the students.
“Most children have never seen a bird like this before and the joy these exchanges bring is difficult to describe — so come by some time and say ‘hello’ — and be prepared for a ‘hello’ that will sound just like you,” said Karin Wedemeyer, executive director of MCS.
To learn more about the music programs at MCS, visit sandpointconservatory.org.
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