by Morgan O’Brien | Development Director
The other night I attended a screening of the documentary, JFK: The Last Speech.
In late October of 1963, less than a month before he was assassinated, President Kennedy spoke at the dedication of the Robert Frost Library at Amherst College. The documentary recounts the speech, Kennedy’s complicated relationship with Frost, and the impact the speech had on a group of seniors from the class of 1964.
It is a remarkable film, with inter-twining themes of power and politics, art and friendship, ambition and service. The last of these made a great impression on me. As President Kennedy was leaving the Amherst campus after his speech, he stopped on the quad to speak with a group of seniors. He asked them what they planned to do when the graduated.
“I’m going to medical school,” replied one.
“Entering business,” said another.
“No,” Kennedy corrected. “You’re joining the Peace Corps.”
And they did.
More than two dozen members of the Amherst class of 1964 joined the Peace Corps, more than 10% of the class. They worked around the world on water projects, education, health initiatives, and more. The alumni interviewed for the documentary talked about the speech, and their Peace Corps service, as life changing events.
Kennedy and the students were following Frost’s admonition to take the road “less traveled by.”
Colorado Music Festival and Center for Musical Arts build and follow less traveled paths. We change lives through music performance and education. Perhaps on a more modest scale than the Peace Corps, but in ways just as meaningful to those we serve.
The Festival is breaking new ground, programming works by living composers, especially works by women composers.
The Center serves everyone in the community, regardless of age, ability, background, or financial resources. But these activities do not belong to the Colorado Music Festival or the Center for Musical Arts. They are your service offerings, made possible through your generosity.
Here is a sampling of “less traveled roads” you make possible:
Three Generations of Women Composers
Works by Joan Tower, Jennifer Higdon, and Hannah Lash will all be on the Music Festival schedule in 2020, as part of a “No Boundaries” music series. Ranging in age from 38 to 81, the composers are all noted for their creativity and sonic beauty. Work by American composer John Adams is also scheduled. Most composers will be present when their works are performed, and some will be available for discussions and questions as well.
New this year, Coro Santuario is an all Spanish-language choir open to all ages and abilities at the Center for Musical Arts. It is a supportive, welcoming community, where families, newcomers, and others can create joyful music away from day-to-day pressures and activities—a musical sanctuary.
Music Festival Fellows
The Festival Fellowship program will feature top young performers from the Sphinx Organization in Detroit and top music schools across the country. The eight Fellows will comprise a diverse cross section of backgrounds and will be mentored by orchestra players and Music Director Peter Oundjian. As part of the Festival’s commitment to education, in addition to performing, the Fellows will teach at the Center for Musical Arts and at Title I schools in the metro area.
These programs and many more comprise our service together. Together, we answer the call of poets and presidents, fellow citizens and community…programs for veterans, the differently-abled, neurodiverse, and at-risk students. You make it possible, and we deeply appreciate your generosity.
Please remember Colorado Music Festival and Center for Musical Arts on Colorado Gives Day and with your year-end giving.
Thank you for your continued support!
Morgan O’Brien, Development Director