April, May and June were a whirlwind of nonstop production, performance and publicity tasks as ListenForLife.org was invited to launch an entire series of 14 Notes for Nourishment programs in Charleston, S.C. as part of the famed Piccolo Spoleto Festival there. All concerts at Piccolo Spoleto are held in churches, shops, and businesses throughout the city, and loyal concert goers come from around the globe for this festival each year.
The host venue for our 14 concerts was a wonderful event center and art gallery at the back of the Pauline Bookstore right on King Street, the most famous thoroughfare in historic old town! Fox Music, the largest piano store in the region, donated a 9 foot concert grand piano, local printers gave us discounts on the printing of color flyers and posters; other shops and business owners were program sponsors.
We flew in artists who had performed on Notes for Nourishment concerts in other locations over the past years to join me in various instrumental/vocal combinations and musical programs. Performers included Stephen Guggenheim (tenor), Winnie Wong (Chinese guzheng), Anna Maria Mendieta (harp), me (Donna Stoering), on piano, and three members of Levona - Asaf Ophir, Joshua Mellinger and David McLean. Together, these renowned performers represented the musical traditions of Israel, China, Europe, the Middle East, USA, Spain and Latin America.....and we also rejoiced in the participation of a locally-based but nationally known flautist, Jessica Hull-Dambaugh.
As with all Notes for Nourishment events anywhere on the globe, the professional artists donated their performances, nourished their audiences with free one-hour programs that were open to all, and these 14 unique concerts raised thousands of dollars in funds (donations at the door) for a wide variety of Charleston-based nonprofit organizations, making a difference in the lives of hungry children, disabled Veterans, children with cancer (and their families), music/art therapy programs, homeless services and shelters, food-sustainability programs, and continued disaster relief for rebuilding efforts following hurricanes and flooding in low-lying regions.
We developed long-lasting relationships with the inspiring local founders of many national organizations and we had a tremendous time working with the bookstore owners/managers to turn their event room and art gallery into a beautifully intimate concert hall in a historic building with amazing acoustics (we discovered that it just happened to have been built, over 100 years ago, as the first music store in that region!).
An entire front page of a section of the main Sunday newspaper in Charleston was devoted to sharing the story of Listen for Life and its Notes for Nourishment series. And the concerts rapidly gained a wide following and a stellar reputation for "highest quality artists, performances, and unique programs" amongst all of the festival offerings, so we have been invited back for each future year of the festival! That is exciting for sure, but is already requiring a great amount of volunteer work to approach corporate sponsors, donors and potential partners in order for Listen for Life to financially sustain such an undertaking in the longterm. If you have time or skills to share, please join us!
This was the first time that Listen for Life has created a Notes for Nourishment series or mini-festival within an existing larger concert series or summer music festival, and it showed that there is tremendous potential for replicating that concept in many other locations across the USA and around the globe. We already have some possibilities lining up and several invites coming in, but we are excited to consider any and all locations/partnerships so do contact us! And if you are a professional musician who would like to perform in one of our series, next time, or create a N4N concert in your own location to raise funds for a cause you care about, please contact us!
Meanwhile, of course, our activities continued through the end of summer.....
- we did our first LFL Notes for Nourishment concert in Atlanta, Georgia;
- we met with LFL volunteers and potential N4N concert organizers in Minnesota, California, and Utah;
- we met with the music director of a phenomenal peace-building summer camp for young people of the different warring factions in the Middle East (this is a program that our Notes for Nourishment concerts and LFL Rhythm for Refugee programs had helped to support financially this summer, so she was giving us a very moving report on the results and benefits of our work and your donations!)
- and we began organizing a brand new Notes for Nourishment Classical Guitar series for the 2019-2020 season in the historic chapel of Mission Dolores in San Francisco!
Our first concert on that new series will take place on Sunday November 3, @ 5pm in Mission Dolores, as a major fundraising event for the Homeless Childrens' Network (HCNKids.org) of San Francisco! The concert will feature Conor Padmanabhan and Emilia Diaz Delgado, two award-winning young guitarists, both students of Scott Cmiel in the pre-collegiate division of SFCM - and they will be joined by ensembles from the SFCM as well, so it promises to be a very special celebration of talented, generous young musicians helping other kids, their same ages, who just happen to be homeless.
Our next posts will share the stories of Conor and Emilia and a bit about the Homeless Children's Network and their wonderful work, or that of the countless other nonprofits that we support - and you can participate with us at any time, as a donor, concert attendee, performer or volunteer with our Notes for Nourishment programs, anywhere that you happen to live!