Zach and Langka Treadwell have made a home for eight kids, seven of whom they adopted from around the world, and there’s another on the way. For this diverse family, music has become an essential part of their lives, and they’ve found a community at the Colburn School.
After a few years of marriage, Zach and Langka started to look into adoption, and came across a website of an agency in Kazakhstan. Three months later they were flying out to the Central Asian country to meet their baby girl. Within a couple of years, they had adopted another daughter and a son, and that’s when, as Zach says, “the floodgates opened.” Over the next four years they added four girls to their family from Ethiopia, Korea, and Vietnam. Since then, they’ve had an 18-month-old, and Langka is expecting their ninth child this summer.
When the Treadwells relocated back to Southern California from New York in 2005, at that time with just three kids, Langka knew she wanted them to study Suzuki strings at the Colburn School. Zach, however, was skeptical of a plan that required commuting from the Westside twice a week. Slowly, though, he came around. “They were getting something that they couldn’t get on the Westside; they had a whole community at Colburn. We were doing something that was good for them, and ultimately good for the rest of our family.”
The Suzuki method includes parent involvement—participation in lessons, coaching through practice time—so, with two cellos, two violins, a guitar, and a viola in the house, Langka and Zach dedicate hours each day to working on music. Zach says it’s become an enduring part of their family culture. “Everyone is already asking what instrument our 18-month-old is going to play.”
Last spring, the Treadwells attended their first fundraising event at the school, the family-friendly Taste of Colburn, where their violinists Gigi and Valentine were performing. It was there that they recognized the need to support Colburn’s scholarship programs, and they soon after attended the annual gala, Celebrate Colburn.
When asked why they decided to start giving in addition to the hours of time and money already invested, Zach had a simple answer. “If I didn’t acknowledge [Colburn] as a huge part of what we do as a family and part of my own personal identity, I would just be fooling myself. I think that supporting it, whether with time or with money, comes naturally from the identity that you draw from it and taking pride in that.”
Zach says Colburn has become a way of life for him, Langka, and their six kids currently taking lessons downtown. “It’s become our family. It’s just what we do on Wednesdays.”