The benefit concert series “If Music Be the Food…” will open its third season with a concert at Third Presbyterian Church, 4 Meigs Street (at East Avenue) in Rochester, on Sunday evening, November 20, at 7:30 PM. The concert series involves Eastman School of Music faculty and students, members of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and international guest artists, who donate their time. Rather than pay an admission price, attendees are asked to bring canned goods and non-perishable food items to help stock the Foodlink shelves. Cash donations are also accepted. Last year’s concerts raised nearly $2000 and over 1500 pounds of food for Rochester’s Foodlink.
The first concert of Season 3 will open with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #2, featuring RPO concertmaster Juliana Athayde and her RPO colleagues Erik Behr, oboe, Rebecca Gilbert, flute, and Wesley Nance, trumpet. They will be assisted by the Ahtay Quartet, a student chamber group from the Eastman School, and Robert Poovey on harpsichord. Acclaimed mezzo-soprano Katherine Ciesinski, Eastman School Professor of Voice, will be joined by another Eastman student group, the Half-Six Piano Trio in Shostakovitch’s Romanzen Suite. The concert will conclude with Dvorak’s beloved Piano Quintet, as performed by the internationally renowned Philadelphia-based pianist, Marcantonio Barone, Eastman School professors Carol Rodland, viola, and Mimi Hwang, cello, and Eastman student violinists, Markiyan Melnychenko and Alex Gonzalez.
The second and third concerts of Season 3 will take place at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 25 Westminster Road (at East Avenue) on February 26 and May 11 respectively.
Carol Rodland, Associate Professor of Viola at the Eastman School, created “If Music Be the Food…” in 2009 with the assistance of Dr. Robert Poovey, Director of Music at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, to raise awareness and provide relief for the hungry in our community. No money exchanges hands in this endeavor, so that all proceeds can go directly to Foodlink. All of the musicians donate their services for these performances and the churches donate the performance spaces and assist with the collection of food and cash contributions. The success of “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.
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.