The USM School of Music returned home to the historic Corthell Concert Hall for its 27th year to celebrate its students at the "Home for the Holidays" scholarship gala on December 1.
After years of hosting the gala at USM’s Abromson Center and the Westin Hotel, the choice to hold the event at the School of Music was a strategic one.
“It’s a chance to bring our biggest supporters into our place of work,” Alan Kaschub, director of the USM School of Music, said.
Corthell Concert Hall is the building where generations of musicians have learned their craft. It is a place of hard work, dedication and passion that has set the School’s graduates on the path to the future, he said.
Last year, the School celebrated a 100% placement rate for its music education graduates, who serve more than 16,000 K-12 students in the state of Maine each year.
“Our guests support music scholarships, which are so vital to bringing talented performers and future teachers to our state,” Kaschub said.
This year’s gala was an opportunity to celebrate in an historic venue on the Gorham campus and also to look ahead. On the horizon is a new USM Center for the Arts, which is part of the master plan for the Portland campus.
“A new center for the arts in Portland has been a long-time dream for USM’s School of Music,” said Kaschub. “On December 1, we came together in Corthell Hall to celebrate and support our students and imagine what the future will bring for the School of Music.”
This year’s event included a reception with seasonal hors d'oeuvres by Sodexo and live music by USM’s Jazz Combos. Small ensembles such as the wind quartet, string quartet, vocal jazz ensembles and harp were featured throughout the evening over food and drinks.
Shortly after, guests made their way into Corthell Concert Hall for a special concert featuring music by the Opera Workshop, Musical Theatre program, chamber winds, solo piano and a closing performance of Leonard Bernstein's monumental “Make our Garden Grow” from “Candide,” featuring the entire School of Music student body.
The evening concluded with a silent auction, raffle drawing and scholarship round, where guests made pledges to support the Peter Martin and Robert Russell Scholarships. In 15 minutes, gala attendees raised more than $25,000 for these scholarships.
Last year’s gala raised about $48,000 for music scholarships. This year's goal was to complete fundraising for the endowment of scholarships in honor of two recently retired and distinguished music professors, Dr. Robert Russell and Dr. Peter Martin. Endowing these scholarships will further strengthen a program which has shaped the musical landscape in Maine for decades and will ensure that the School of Music’s offerings remain accessible for talented students of limited means.
In order to endow these scholarships so they will benefit students in perpetuity, a total of $20,000 is needed in each scholarship fund by December 31, 2017.
To give a gift in any amount to help endow the Peter Martin and Robert Russell Scholarships, click here.
To learn more about the USM School of Music's programming and events, click here.
By Katie Matzell, Office of Public Affairs