Published September 6, 2007
In an age when ballet companies perform to recorded music rather than live music and music programs are being cut from school curriculums, Holy Redeemer School is fighting the trend. “You Gotta Have Art” is the belief and motto of the principal and parents of the school, who are working to expand Holy Redeemer’s fine and performing arts program. And part of the expansion includes building an endowment to support music in the curriculum.
The first in a series of events sponsored by the Alpharetta school, “In Tune with Tomorrow: A Benefit for the Holy Redeemer Fine and Performing Arts Endowment Fund” will take place on Sunday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center. The concert will feature internationally renowned classical pianist Piotr Folkert, who also resides in Alpharetta.
Folkert, whose Polish heritage drew him to the famous Polish concert pianist and composer Fredric Chopin, will perform the lauded musician’s works, along with the works of several American artists. The assistant program director of the public broadcasting radio station WABE, John Lemley, will narrate the program. The narration will provide a deep knowledge of Chopin’s life in the form of his letters, the writings of his contemporaries, as well as anecdotes and historical facts. The recital program will also include some pieces of music rarely performed.
“Our objective is to provide a world class musical experience for our community and generate revenue to help provide an expanded musical education for our students,” said Dr. Eric Westley, principal of Holy Redeemer.
Westley, who joined Holy Redeemer in 2006, has already hired opera singer Melissa Kelly as the school’s music teacher. Kelly has performed in many operas nationwide including the Atlanta Opera. The school’s new offerings this fall include a school band, private piano lessons and a course in music technology, which teaches students the value of music composition and assists them in the process of composing their own works. “Research has shown that music contributes significantly to a child’s intellectual development, and students involved in school music programs report the lowest current and lifetime use of all substances. For these reasons,” said Westley, “music is a gift we would like to nourish and cultivate in our students.”
VIP tickets for the performance are $50, which includes premium seating and a cocktail reception with Folkert and Lemley immediately following concert. General admission tickets are $25, and tickets for students and seniors $20. Tickets may be purchased on the school’s secure Web site at www.hrfinearts.org. For more information about the program, call Holy Redeemer School at (770) 410-4056.