The benefit concert series “If Music Be the Food…” will open its fifth season with an exciting program of music at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 25 Westminster Road (at East Avenue) in Rochester, on Sunday evening, October 13, at 7:30 PM.
This first concert of Season Five will open with a performance of Mozart’s beloved String Quintet in C Major, performed by the Eastman School’s newest violin professor, Renee Jolles, together with Markiyan Melnychenko, violin, Carol Rodland and Wendy Richman, violas, and Mimi Hwang, cello. The Eastman Oboes, directed by Richard Killmer, will make their “If Music Be the Food” debut, performing works of Carlo Yvon and Joseph Bodin de Boismortier. The concert will conclude with a selection of opera scenes entitled “Era la notte (It was nighttime): Beauty, Mischief, and Drama in celebration of Giuseppe Verdi’s 200th birthday”, directed by Katherine Ciesinki and featuring Yunjin Kim, soprano, Hannah Kurth and Megan McFadden, mezzo sopranos, Tamar Greene, tenor, Anthony Baron, baritone, Marla Smith, flute, Ksenia Leletkina-Stichman, piano, and the Eastman/University of Rochester Women’s Chorus (Philip Silvey, director).
The mission of “If Music Be the Food…” is to increase awareness and support for the hungry in our community through classical music performances of the highest caliber. Members of the Eastman faculty, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, other local professional musicians, distinguished international guests, and Eastman students join together and donate their services for these concerts. No money exchanges hands; all participants in every aspect of this endeavor volunteer their services and pay their own costs, so that all proceeds can go to the hungry via Foodlink. No tickets are sold for the concerts, rather, audience members are asked to bring non-perishable food items or cash donations for Foodlink as the price of admission. The concerts are held each season at Rochester’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and at Third Presbyterian Church, with the tireless assistance of their Directors of Music, Robert Poovey and Peter DuBois, respectively. “If Music Be the Food…” has inspired other prominent musical institutions in the United States to implement initiatives based on this concept in their own communities, including “If Music Be the Food Tampa” and Boston’s Music for Food.
“If Music Be the Food…” was created and launched in 2009 by Eastman School of Music Associate Professor of Viola, Carol Rodland. Rodland, a passionate and long-time supporter of food banks, joined the Eastman faculty in 2008 at the height of the economic downturn. Reports in the news of increased need for food aid in the community inspired her to create the series.
Concert attendees are asked to bring canned goods and non-perishable food items to help stock the Foodlink shelves. Cash donations will also be accepted. Foodlink is a non-profit regional food bank that distributes food to soup kitchens, shelters and emergency food pantries, and to non-emergency programs such as group homes, and senior centers. Founded in 1978, Foodlink serves a 10-county area in the Genesee Valley and Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York. Foodlink’s mission is to empower at-risk communities by providing food, nutrition, education and resources in Central and Western New York. Today, the food bank serves nearly 90,000 meals each week or a total of 4.5 million meals annually.