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Free concert celebrates MLK Jr. Day and supports a good cause

The Flossmoor Community Church will host a classical music concert on Sunday, Jan. 14. 

This event, part of the Village of Flossmoor’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, is a blend of cultural enrichment and community support aiming to aid a charity called Open Access.

Open Access works to reduce food insecurity by providing weekend backpacks filled with food to students in need. The nonprofit also runs community closets in South Holland and Richton Park. These closets offer free clothing to individuals facing economic hardship. 

The show will feature a repertoire from renowned composers like Bach, Mendelssohn, Barber, and Daniel Bernard Roumain, performed by pre-conservatory students from the Academy program of the Music Institute of Chicago. 

Roumain, a black composer who is very much alive, creates music that has been played on TV and in movies and performed by major symphony orchestras. He is known for blending classical music with more contemporary styles.

“It will be a real treat for everyone that is in attendance,” said Flossmoor Mayor Michelle Nelson. “There will be something old and something new for all ages. It’s a great opportunity for young children to be introduced to classical music and live instruments in a less stuffy setting and for more mature folks to be inspired by the passion and drive of the next generation.”

The musicians playing at the concert are Sasha Varchenko and Tristan Zhu on violin. The students will perform solo pieces and scores accompanied by professional pianist Sung Hoon Mo. This will be the third year the Zhu has performed at the event.

Nelson recognized the exceptional talent of these young yet skilled musicians. “The concert is free, but don’t let the price fool you. These kids are incredible performers who have played on international stages. If you close your eyes, you would not believe they are teenagers.”

Attendees are invited to enjoy the afternoon of classical music, celebrate the talents of young musicians, and contribute to a cause that directly impacts the well-being of their community. Donations collected at the event will support Open Access’s critical services. More information about their initiatives can be found at www.openaccess.gives/backpack-program

According to Nelson, the organization’s annual budget is normally around $7,000. Due to the rising costs of food, Open Access has seen a lot more need in the community and spent more than $10,000 on the goods they provide. Halfway through the fiscal year, they already are operating at a deficit.

The annual concert, now in its fourth year, aligns with Flossmoor’s commitment to honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy through community service. Nelson and other community leaders see this event as an opportunity to unite the community through the power of music while supporting a vital local cause.

The concert is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. on Jan. 14 at 2218 Hutchison Road in Flossmoor.

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