Mildred McDaniel Concert Series
At Reformation Lutheran Church
Newport News, VA
The Mildred McDaniel Concert Series presents . . . . . .
At Reformation Lutheran Church in Newport News, there is an excitement about the Mildred McDaniel Concert Series (MMCS). Who’s coming next month? The series presents nine concerts each year from September to May. With a variety of performers on the annual agenda, the concert series has touched every genre from handbells to jazz events.
It all began in June 2003 with a performance by Ralph and Patricia Spoettle introducing the newly installed Alborn Galanti organ at Reformation. Two additional concerts were presented during 2003, the annual performance of the Reformation Choirs in November and a Christmas concert by the Virginia Handbell Consort in December. In April 2004, the concert series was named the Reformation Festival Concert Series and opened with performances by the Christopher Newport University Brass Choir, ensembles and vocalists.
In 2005, the concert series was renamed the Mildred McDaniel Concert Series after Mildred McDaniel who was a member of Reformation for more than 40 years. Mildred was active in the music ministry at Reformation. With proceeds from her estate, Mildred’s son, John presented the concert series with a donation to bring high quality performers to the series. The concert series is supported with free-will offerings and donations. Additionally,some concerts are partially funded by the Newport News Arts Commission, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.. The local universities and colleges have endorsed the series as a music appreciation venue for students to receive credit towards attending a performing arts event. All concerts are free and open to the public.
True to its mission to provide the community with access to a broad spectrum of the musical arts, the Mildred McDaniel Concert Series has presented local performers such as the Invencia Piano Duo, U. S. Navy
Brass Ensemble, Norfolk State University Choirs, Christopher Newport University Department of Music, Old Dominion University Brass Ensemble, The College of William & Mary Middle Eastern Ensemble, the Tidewater Concert Band, and the Virginia Handbell Consort, as well as international artists from Russia, China, Israel and several European countries. Multiple musical genres have been presented, from classical to bluegrass, guitar orchestra to Middle Eastern, and patriotic music to jazz by such well-known artists as Jae Sinnett and Tulivu Donna Cumberbatch.
Justin Kauflin, jazz pianist from Virginia Beach who toured with Quincy Jones and other famous musicians, has been a frequent artist as part of the series. Performances have also included a French boys choir and music students from the High Wycombe Music Centre, Buckinghamshire, UK and the Katie Luther Opera. Recently, MMCS hosted Music and the Brain Conference/Concert where the audience learned how music affects the brain and how music is used for therapy especially in stroke patients. Each concert is followed by a reception with light refreshments for attendees and performers, enabling interactions between the audience, conductors and musicians.
In 2007, the MMCS received an anonymous donation of $50,000 towards the purchase of a Steinway Model B piano. After seeking additional donations of more than $10,000 which only took a week, the concert series was able to purchase a “standout” piano in January 2008. Mr. Henry Steinway’s signature can be found on the harp of the piano. He died later that year in September.
The Mildred McDaniel Concert Series plans to continue its mission to provide quality performing arts to the community.
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