INDIANA COUNTY’s ANNUAL YOUTH ARTS CELEBRATION INTRODUCES MORE THAN A VISUAL DISPLAY ON SATURDAY, MAY 4
Dr. Stanley Chepaitis, D.M.A., Associate Music Professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), became Indiana Arts Council’s (IAC) Board President in January with a vision in mind: to bring back the tradition of the Monday Musical Club (MMC), which was a local group that supported music programs through concerts, scholarships, teaching and more.Chepaitis has been on the board of the IAC, a nonprofit corporation fostering the creation and appreciation of all art forms, for the last three years. It was a year ago that he first proposed the idea to restore the tradition of the MMC to hold a local youth music competition. The winners of the contest would then perform a public concert, which could raise funds for future opportunities such as music scholarships and so on.
“It was an easy agreement,” he said, “to revive this program.”
Chepaitis, who was a member of the MMC for a period of time, stated that when the MMC disbanded in the late 1990’s, they gave their remaining funds to the IAC, which the group will use to help reinstate the program.
This year’s Youth Arts Celebration, an annual celebration of K-12 youth arts and youth access to the arts held by the IAC, seemed like the perfect time to have this competition.
Dr. Chepaitis had been collecting applicants up to the last possible second with the actual contest date being Saturday, April 27. On Tuesday, April 23, he had a total of 14 competitors ranging from ages 12 to 18 and expected even more as applications continued to come during the week.
“There will be professional judges who are all neutral,” Chepaitis says. “I have asked all judges to be constructive [in the hope] to assist these students in furthering their futures and career.”
However, he also states that it is not necessarily his job or desire to produce more professional musicians. Rather, he strongly believes that music has the endeavor to strengthen the character, thought process, experiences and more of an individual that can be taken with him or her throughout life.
“And I am not alone in that,” he said. “There are several professionals who say that those who study in the arts are the best problem solvers.”
According to Chepaitis, music, in particular, has aspects of art and sport due to the team work and social interaction it creates.
“Education in the arts is extremely valuable,” he says. “I want to show Indiana that we have great teachers and that our students are getting valuable knowledge.”
This is why the IAC and Chepaitis feel that the music competition and ensuing recital will be a great addition to the 6th Annual Youth Arts Celebration (YAC).
“The concert featuring the winners of the music competition will be Saturday, May 4 at 1 p.m.,” informed Chepaitis.
This event will be at the IUP campus’ Cogswell Hall in room 126. Jane Potter Baumer, an Indiana vocal teacher, will be honored and has been invited to sing with her group, the Baumer Studio Treble Choir, consisting of students ranging from 9 years old to teenage.
IAC Executive Director Rebecca Slak and Dr. Chepaitis will also be in attendance.
The presentation will take roughly one hour and will include strings, such as the violin, piano and voice.
“The contribution of the IAC and IUP is big,” Chepaitis added.
When asked to describe the YAC in his own words, he explained it as “both a celebration and a call to commitment for what our community can do for our children and what our children can do for our community through the arts.”
He went on to say that it is not only a call to showcase what the children are doing but also a call to the community to make a commitment to the arts.
“One way or another, we are going to figure out how to keep this event going,” Chepaitis said. “It is a worthwhile effort, and it will be in our good faith to continue [this tradition].”
For more information about the Youth Arts Celebration or the IAC, call 724 422 4101 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit their website for a detailed list of activities during the six-day celebration at www.indianaartscouncil.org.