Westminster Conservatory Celebrates 40 Years with Benefit Concert

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Westminster Conservatory, the community music school of Rider University’s Westminster College of the Arts, will kick off its 40th anniversary year with a benefit concert and reception in the Bart Luedeke Center Theater on Sunday, November 1, at 3 p.m. The afternoon will also include a silent auction of music and arts-related items.

The program will feature members of the Conservatory faculty performing works by Chopin, Arnold, Schocker, Hummel, Copland, Altman and others, as well as music theater and jazz selections.

The performers will include two chamber ensembles: Trio da Capo, which is composed of pianist Galina Prilutskaya, violinist Ileana Ciumac and cellist Tomasz Rzeczycki, and High Winds, which is composed of flutist Katherine McClure, oboist Melissa Bohl and clarinetist Kenneth Ellison. 

The piano duo of Esma Pasic-Filipovic and Patricia Landy, and the vocal duo of sopranos Danielle Sinclair and Denise Mihalak, accompanied by pianist Kathy Shanklin, will perform. The flute duo of Seth Rosenthal and Kevin Willois will be accompanied by Pasic-Filipovic. Soloists will be pianists Clipper Erickson, Ena Bronstein Barton and Laurie Altman. Soprano Nancy Froysland Hoerl and pianist Frank Abrahams will also perform music-theater favorites.

Proceeds from the 40th anniversary event will help provide scholarships for Conservatory students, faculty development and the upkeep of music instruments. Advance tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. Tickets at the door will be $25 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. To purchase tickets, call 609-921-7104 or visit the main office of Westminster Conservatory at 101 Walnut Lane in Princeton, which is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Westminster Conservatory opened in 1970 as a collaboration with National Keyboard Arts Associates with 78 children studying piano in private and group lessons with Westminster Choir College students. Within two years, in response to public demand, the program offerings expanded to include flute, cello, violin, classical guitar and ballet, as well as voice, organ and piano.

By 1983 the Conservatory had grown to more than 1,000 students, and it was accepted into the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts. In 1986, Westminster Conservatory’s expansion continued as several extension sites opened, and additional course offerings were developed to answer the needs of adults who also wanted to study music. Today, Westminster Conservatory has 156 faculty members, approximately 2,300 students and five extension divisions in addition to the Princeton hub.

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