Sixth Floor Trio plays to benefit ASU Center

Article Published: Aug. 5, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Sixth Floor Trio plays to benefit ASU Center

The Sixth Floor Trio, pictured with legendary composer Marvin Hamlisch at last year's concert, performs Saturday, Aug. 9, at ASU's Rosen Concert Hall to benefit the university's Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies.

Photo by Jeff Eason

On Monday, Aug. 9, at 7:30 p.m. the music emitting from Rosen Concert Hall on the campus of Appalachian State University will have both a local and a global flavor.

The Friends of the Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies are hosting a benefit concert, featuring the Sixth Floor Trio, which played at ASU last year.

The idea came right after the original concert in 2009, where the Sixth Floor Trio was the featured ensemble with legendary composer Marvin Hamlisch; the steering committee for the Friends of the Center realized they had found what they were looking for.

"We have a center that is only 9 years old, but it has been growing exponentially," Stan Etkin, one of the co-chairs for this event, said. "We have international recognition, as we have had teachers from Eastern European countries."

The steering committee, composed of both full-time and summer residents of the High Country, was committed to helping seek funding for the growing center.

With the growth came the hope to endow a permanent position for the center.

The concert proceeds will be used, along with a challenge grant, to establish a million-dollar endowment for a permanent Chair of the Center of Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies.

"We have had enormous support from everyone at ASU," Ruth Etkin, co-chair of this event, said.

"They have given the use of Rosen Hall and are funneling all proceeds from the concert toward the grant."

The name of the concert is "A Little Night Music: Bluegrass, Klezmer and More."

"The title was carefully chosen," Ruth Etkin explained. "Klezmer is Eastern European wedding music that was played by itinerant musicians."

The concert is eclectic, from bluegrass to classical, because of the repertoire of the musicians playing.

The Sixth Floor Trio was formed while all three members were students at the Curtis Institute for Music, and their emphasis is bringing varied musical styles together.

The name came from the floor of the dormitory where all three musicians resided at Curtis.

Though a relatively new group, the members are all musicians who have played in multiple symphonies around the country, and the trio is scheduled to perform at the Kennedy Center in 2010 and the Kravis Center in 2011.

"The dean of the Curtis Institute of Music told us about this group," Stan Etkin said. "They soon will be internationally known."

The trio consists of Teddy Abrams, a pianist and clarinetist, Harrison Hollingsworth on bassoon and fiddle, and clarinet player Johnny Teyssier.

Together, the trio has been in the area working at Lees-McRae College, serving as the orchestra for the musical Ragtime, which runs through Aug. 6.

The trio has donated its time for this concert, which makes it possible for 100 percent of the proceeds to go toward fundraising for the center's permanent chair endowment.

The center is well-known for the Martin and Doris Rosen Summer Symposium, where educators from around the Southeast come to learn about methods for teaching Judaic, Holocaust and peace studies in their K-12 classrooms.

"This has provided educational strategies that reach hundreds of teachers, thousands of students," Ruth Etkin said.

During the school year, the center brings guest lecturers to campus, holds a film series in the on-campus theater, and offers classes toward a minor in Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies.
The center is led by co-directors Dr. Rennie Brantz and Dr. Rosemary Horowitz.

"[The co-directors] take Judaic history, traditions and culture and teach it in a way to put the Holocaust in perspective," Ruth Etkin said. "The faculty outreach to local schools by going to the schools themselves."

The center also extends the conversation to include "using these experiences to explore peaceful avenues for human improvement and the prevention of future genocides," according to the center's website.

If the show has not sold out, tickets will be sold at the door, and interested parties should contact Ruth and Stan Etkin at (828) 963-5167 for remaining availability.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 9, and there will be a will call for tickets that have been reserved.

Tickets are $40, and checks can be written out to ASU Foundation, with the memo Sixth Floor Trio, and mailed to Ruth and Stan Etkin, 241 Woodwinds Drive, Banner Elk, N.C. 28604. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope for tickets.

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