A New Year’s gift to the Miami Valley is being announced today by The Miriam Rosenthal Foundation for the Arts. A $300,000 grant, the largest in the foundation’s history, will fund a live September community concert that will bring together eight of Dayton’s most prestigious arts organizations.
The innovative project, titled “The Art of Us: Our Dayton Mosaic,” will be presented Sept. 12 and 13 at the Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center. The collaborative effort will include the Dayton Ballet, Dayton Opera, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Human Race Theatre Company, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Bach Society of Dayton, Muse Machine and the Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus.
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“We feel this project is very special in several ways and provides an opportunity for the community to come together in a way they have not had the chance to do in the past,” said Foundation Chairman Richard McCauley in making the announcement. “Considering the difficulties faced by the Dayton Community in 2019 — the terrible tornadoes and the mass shooting in the downtown area — the project intends to celebrate the resilience, diversity and togetherness of the community and its people. It will also honor Miriam Rosenthal and the foundation that has supported the arts since its inception in 1965.”
Rosenthal, a passionate supporter of the arts and professional fund-raiser, was one of Dayton’s most well-known promoters and worked tirelessly to help grow institutions and their programs in the region. In her memory the Foundation for the Arts was created by individuals, corporations and other foundations in the Dayton area.
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The artistic directors and administrative leaders of all eight organizations have been working together since early summer to come up with an integrated program that will blend the talents of all eight groups.
“Five years ago we did a similar show at the beginning of the season to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Miriam Rosenthal Memorial Foundation,” explained Dayton Philharmonic artistic director and conductor Neal Gittleman. “That show was a great success, but everyone thought its weakness was that it was a bit too much of a ‘variety show’ and not enough flow.”
This time around, Gittleman said, there will be two “everybody’s-in-it-pieces” — one to open the evening and one to close it. The opener will be especially created for this performance with music by composer Steve Winteregg and words by poet Sierra Leone.
“The whole evening should be a wonderful showcase of all of Dayton’s principal hometown performing arts organizations and a celebration of Miriam Rosenthal’s vision for a lively and vibrant arts scene that reflects and benefits all of the city’s—and the region’s—residents,” Gittleman said.
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Drew Huggins, president of the Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus board of directors, said his group is excited to be invited to participate in the collaboration.
“We have been a part of the Dayton arts community for 17 years, and to be included in this historic production is an amazing honor,” he said.
Co-producing the show is Kevin Moore, artistic director of The Human Race Theatre Company, and Debbie Blunden-Diggs, artistic director of DCDC.
“Imagine the sound created by bringing the four choral groups together; the visual stimulation of seeing Dayton Ballet and DCDC performing together; spoken word, dance and music combined to tell a story — all these and a spectacular finale,” he said. “This will be a combination of Dayton’s finest, working together.”
McCauley said the arts not only reflect life, but often provide the place where the community finds its commonness.
“We turn to the arts to inspire, to teach and to celebrate who we are,” he said. “It is our hope that as many people as possible will plan to attend one of these performances and discover again the treasure Dayton has in its arts.”
To learn more about the Miriam Rosenthal Foundation for the Arts, visit miriamrosenthalfoundation.org