Music and Invitation Meet at UMD Alumni Food Bank Benefit Ceremony

Fellowship bands at the University of Maryland College of Music hosted a concert for the College Park Community Food Bank at the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday.

At their first joint concert, three alumni bands – IGNIS Woodwind Quintet, Terrapin Brass and Thalea String Quartet – performed different styles of music and raised funds to support the food bank.

The party was free entry, but $15 donations are encouraged.

Nathaniel Wolf, a graduate student in oboe performance, explained that the decision not to charge attendance was to prevent exclusivity in the event that people were unable to provide more.

“Musical performances are a great resource for community building, and I think we don’t want to exclude people,” Wolf said.

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Mark Hill, a professor at this university’s music school, volunteered at the food bank during the COVID-19 pandemic and proposed a useful rationale for the school management. One of the major priorities for fellowship groups is to connect with the larger community in important ways, said Christopher Whiteley, a doctoral student in musical arts.

As of 2021, 25.2 percent of College Park residents lived at or below the poverty level.

The College Park Community Food Bank, an organization run entirely by volunteers, used to host about 100 needy families once a month, but after the pandemic and increased demand, the food bank switched its system to a weekly drive-through service. Every Saturday, the food bank helps more than 300 families, said Lisa Bartosek, vice chair of the organization’s board of directors and chair of the fundraising committee.

With funding from the pandemic relief bill dwindling, a food bank is seeking donations to sustain the increased aid it needs to provide.

“This kind of thing is really cool because it’s not only a way to raise money but also to raise awareness within the community,” Bartosic said of the concert.

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Wolf said the pieces the musicians played were “truly wild dryers of different styles and genres.”

Kelly Summers, an environmental engineering graduate at this university, is a regular volunteer at the food bank and decided to attend the concert after hearing from the food bank. She brought her friend and fellow environmental engineer, Heidi Herrera, with her.

“I was personally involved in music as a college student, and I really loved seeing the advanced techniques they were using,” Herrera said.

Whitley, the violinist for the band Thalia, said musicians should think about how to make an impact on society.

“This is a really good sign of what the University of Maryland community and the School of Music, in particular, can do for College Park,” Whiteley said.

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