GLEN MILLS, PA - The Maris Grove Resident Outreach Committee recently hosted a special event in the Cardinal Theatre where Dr. John Alston, the founder and artistic director of the Chester Children's Chorus gave a discussion entitled "Is Chester Possible?" which explored impact of poverty and violence on Chester's children and how the arts are revitalizing the city of Chester.
Dr. Alston talked about the Chester Children's Chorus and the impact that music has had on the young lives.
The Resident Outreach Committee also gave Dr. Alston a special gift in the form of a $400 donation, which the residents collected from the sale of jewelry throughout the campus.
The money given to the chorus will assist Dr. Alston in the purchase of sheet music for the children, in particular, obtaining Handel's Messiah for the Christmas season, according to Maris Grove resident Outreach Committee member Gerri Eisenstein.
"We (the Outreach Group) are happy to help," Mrs. Eisenstein said. "Music is so important because it bridges gaps where language doesn't. Music makes connections with the past and with people. It is a vital part of being educated."
For the past several years the Resident Outreach Group has sold "Lucinda Pins" at Maris Grove to members of the community to raise money for various fundraising projects.
"Lucinda Pins" are pieces of jewelry used for fundraising efforts by organizations that were created by Lucinda Yates, a one-time homeless mother.
The residents have successfully raised money for the Domestic Violence Center for Chester County and Mother's Home! a pregnant women's shelter in Darby.
As a Swarthmore College music professor, Dr. Alston began the Chester Children's Chorus in 1994 with seven boys and a dream.
Twenty years later, his vision to transform Chester through arts and education is real. Today, the Chorus is a year-round, co-ed program of 140 students, providing additional music and academic instruction. The Chorus performs six to ten concerts a year that are a joyous celebration of their talents. All concerts are free and open to the public.
In 2005, committed to creating greater education access for his chorus students, Dr. Alston established The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts (TCF), a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing specialized arts and academic programs to Chester children. In 2008, TCF opened what is now a charter school, The Chester Charter School for the Arts.
Together, the Chester Children's Chorus and the Chester Charter School for the Arts provide arts instruction for 1 in every 10 Chester school children.
About Maris Grove: Maris Grove is one of 17 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living. The scenic 87 acre campus is located in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania and is home to approximately 1,500 residents. Maris Grove is a perfect greater Delaware County destination offering a true sense of community, convenience beyond compare and a sensible financial structure.
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