Benefit concert helps Perry CountyPublished 7:59pm Friday, May 17, 2013
A benefit concert held in Birmingham on May 5 yielded more than $7000 for the children of Perry County.
“I was simply overwhelmed,” said Judson College education department head Gwen McCorquodale. “I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it was like a seed we’d plant, but we received such a great harvest!”
The concert featured Birmingham pianist Michael Dulin and took place at the Vestavia Hills Baptist Church. The church included the concert as part of their annual “Arts on the Mountain” concert series, so the event was two-pronged, according to McCorquodale. More than 400 attended including administrators from the Alabama State Department of Education, leadership from the Perry County School system, Judson faculty, staff and students and members of Vestavia Hills.
McCorquodale said the idea began to germinate earlier this spring when her Sunday School class gave her $500 to use in Perry County to support literacy learning. Then Dulin, a member of the class, volunteered to do the concert as a benefit.
“My class, the ‘Joyful Noise’ class, did a great job cooking, cleaning and shuttling guests that day,” McCorquodale said. “They were the busy bees and we couldn’t have done this without their help.”
McCorquodale said the money will be used to purchase books for local school libraries, classrooms and also as “take home” gifts for the children.
“Many of the children in this school system haven’t known the joy of owning books,” she said. “It’s important for them to appreciate books and value the gift of reading.”
The Judson education department has sponsored a number of events in the past several years to benefit local public schools, including a history conference for fourth graders and a technology conference for teachers. The benefit concert was simply one more way to lend a hand.
“While there are many on-going projects in the department of education that support student learning in Perry County schools, this was a unique opportunity and a noteworthy event,” McCorquodale said.
“Our teacher candidates will apply the knowledge and skills gained in their literacy studies and add to their expertise through collaboration with teachers and administrators as they plan lessons, select materials and deliver instruction.”
Dulin, a native of Brookside, attended the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Birmingham Southern College and The Julliard School in New York. He was a finalist in the Carnegie Hall Piano Competition, was awarded the silver medal in the Second Annual International Audio-Video Competition in New York and has performed both solo and with orchestras, including a stint as keyboardist with the legendary Motown group, “The Temptations.”
“One of my earliest memories is of the pleasure that reading brought to my life,” Dulin said.
“Books inspired my imagination, comforted me in uncertain times and helped me to understand the complexities of people and places far from my own experiences. I was honored to be a small part of this effort to aid Judson College in its efforts to share the magic of literacy with the students of Perry County.”
Following the concert, the McCorquodales hosted a reception at the home of their son, Bart, in Mountain Brook.
“Mr. Dulin’s recital was an extraordinarily beautiful experience for which we are ever grateful,” said Judson president Dr. David Potts.
“Judson College is exceedingly grateful for him, the McCorquodales, the Joyful Noise Sunday School class and the Vestavia Hills Baptist Church for caring and giving to promote reading among the children of Perry County.”