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Talented teens play live jazz and classical for a cause

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Love to hear great music played live? Your plans are set for this weekend then, because Northfield Mount Hermon’s (NMH) orchestral musicians will play for Meals on Wheels on Sunday, February 19, at 3 p.m., at the Rhodes Art Center on the NMH campus. There is no admission to the concert. All donations will benefit Meals on Wheels.

Feb 2017 Walk Box NMH 2 photoSteven Bathory-Peeler, director of Northfield Mount Hermon orchestras, is shown here directing a past concert to benefit Meals on Wheels.Steven Bathory-Peeler, director of NMH orchestras, originated this benefit and has been hosting this event for the past 13 years. He’s proud of his students and excited to share the miracle of young people making music. “To hear what they can do... it’s amazing that anyone can play a concerto, not to mention a young person.”

To most audience members, there’s no difference between NMH students and professional musicians. They’re that good. Students come from all over the world to attend NMH and perfect their musical craft.

Steve is also excited to invite cross-pollination between the private school and the local community. “Many people in the community have never been inside here, and it’s a way to open up the space in the winter. If they’re in a wheelchair or a walker, the entrance is accessible; they can pull right up to the door. And the back has an elevator, and bathrooms are right down the hall.”

Ron Smith, NMH band and jazz program director, speaks to the jazz portion of the performance. “I really try to go BACK and reinstate the most popular period that senior citizens know and love: Count Basey, the Big Band era. Yes, you can dance to this music!”

Jazz originated amongst African Americans in New Orleans in the late 19th century through the popular and traditional music of the time. Ron says, “The composers took these melodies and wrote transcriptions. There’s call and response – the trumpet motifs – da da da duh DAH, and the answer is the saxophone. Then there are special sections that allow you to improvise the chorus. The students will be improvising. It’s hard to improvise!”

Meals on Wheels provides nutritionally-balanced meals to adults aged 60 or older who are unable to prepare a meal for themselves and are unable to attend congregate meals. Additionally, Meals on Wheels provides regular “wellness checks” to ensure that clients are in good physical and mental health. The Meals on Wheel program at LifePath serves elders in both Franklin County and the North Quabbin region and is an affiliate of Meals on Wheels America, which strives to help adults throughout the country maintain their independence as they age. To learn more about Meals on Wheels, click here. For details about the concert, contact Sue Rhenow at 498-3281. See you there!