Fredonia Newman Center to hold benefit concert

Thu, Feb 8th 2018 03:00 pm

FREDONIA — To help the Newman Center at the State University of New York at Fredonia participate in the Upon This Rock campaign, the center will be hosting a benefit concert, featuring the work of student performers, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 9, at St. Anthony Church, 42 Orchard St.

The theme of the concert will be "Catholic Composers." Performers will be faculty and students from the college, mostly those active at the Newman Center and their friends. One faculty musician, Father Sean Duggan, OSB, is both associate professor of piano and the Newman Center's sacramental minister.

"He is a renowned Bach expert and keyboardist, and we are very blessed to have him at the Newman Center as well as a part of the concert," Nathan Kropp, director of the SUNY Fredonia Newman Center, said of Father Duggan.

The theme that the students came up with is "Catholic Composers." The program was still being developed as of January, but the Newman Center expected to have performances of pieces from big names such as Vivaldi and Mozart, to lesser-known people like Heinrich Biber.

They also planned to include the work of composers from long ago, such as Palestrina in the 16th century, to current student composers at the college.

The event came about after Kevin Brayer, relationship ambassador for Upon This Rock, asked Kropp if students would be able to run some sort of fundraising event.

"College students may not generally have much money to donate, but they can still make an investment of time, talent and energy in the future of the diocese," Kropp commented. "So, I approached the active students here at the Newman Center to brainstorm ideas for fundraiser. One of the ideas was a benefit concert."

Jimmy Drancsak, a sophomore music education student specializing in violin, came up with the idea of a concert. He started gathering other musicians active at the Newman Center. They talked about a theme and possible performers. Meanwhile, Kropp started looking into the logistics, such as a date and location. He realized they needed a place with a good piano, so they could not hold it at the Newman Center.

"We found one at St. Anthony Church, whose pastor, Father Joseph Walter, is a musician and composer himself, and he was happy to let us use the church," he said.

Kropp noted that a concert makes a lot of sense at Fredonia, since it is a well-known music school and a large portion of students at the Newman Center are music majors. A concert is also in the longstanding tradition of the Church as a patron of the arts.  

"Having a high-quality church concert makes a statement about the church's committment to the arts as a reflection of divine creativity and beauty," added Kropp.
The Fredonia Newman Center has proposed the following donations: benefactor $30, music lover $20, regular $10, student $5. A reception will follow the concert.

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