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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Prestigious national grant awarded to local arts organizations

By Rebeca C. Rivera - reporter/photographer

SULLIVAN COUNTY - In May, two local organizations, the Sullivan County Chamber Orchestra (SCCO) and Nesin Cultural Arts (NCA), were the proud recipients of a $5,260 grant awarded to them by New Music USA. Established in 2011, New Music USA was created after the merging of two organizations, American Music Center and Meet the Composer. Their mission is to “support and promote new music created in the United States” and to stand as advocates for artists.
Since 2013, New Music USA has provided funding to support artistic projects, including music, theatre, and dance, to name a few, throughout the country. To date, they have distributed more than $2.8 million in grant funding to nearly 600 projects, of which half were new, in three-dozen states.
During this year's eighth round of grants, $530,000 was awarded to 108 of the 1114 applications that were received by New Music USA.
SCCO and NCA will use the awarded funds to commission and record “Four Seasons of Sullivan County,” a new composition by Wegrzyn. “I got the idea that I would love to have a composition that is unique to Sullivan County and unique to the musicians in that area. And just the beauty of that area to be paired” with Vivaldi's violin concertos,” stated Andrew Trombley, artistic director for this performance and co-founder of the Aspiring Young Musicians program, which offers scholarships and private lessons to students after school.
Trombley is a Monticello-native and studied music under Nancy Wegrzyn, a performer, and local educator, during high school. For Trombley, being able to work alongside Wegrzyn is quite an honor. “She's just a brilliant composer who I've always loved her work.” Additionally, “We wrote this grant with the idea of being able to formally commission her to write a piece that would be paired with the Vivaldi's ‘Four Seasons' in mind.”
The organizations will also commission to fellow Monticello-native artist Laurie Kilgore who will provide a visual representation of Wegrzyn's piece. For Trombley, “I think that [the] visual arts pairs really well with music to have something in your mind and something in your ears that you can create your own picture with.” Furthermore, he states, “To have her [Kilgore] go around and paint these scenes will just further enhance what it is that we're trying to accomplish.”
Kilgore has been involved with NCA for many years and helped in adding a visual arts component to the organization's repertoire of programs. Her work has appeared throughout the county, including a large-scale mural in Rock Hill; however, this project will mark the first time that Kilgore will work on the project that will take a year to complete.
Nonetheless, Kilgore is “looking forward to the whole process.” When Kilgore is not in her studio, she spends for time teaching students at Chase Elementary School in Wurtsboro and helps to make set designs with high school students. Many times, when she is working on a project, she shares her work and process with her students. For this year long project, “I'm going to be sharing the process with them. I'm going to be showing and discussing with them [my work] as well because this is such a big deal.”
Over the next year, Kilgore plans to work on sketching and painting various scenes of the county highlighting the four seasons. In June 2019, a final performance will premiere at the Eugene D. Nesin Theatre for the Performing Arts located at 22 St. John Street in Monticello.

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