Printaganza has been a long tradition at Pierson High School. The winter fundraiser, organized by the school’s art department, is a silent auction featuring prints by some of the East End’s most renowned artists. Money raised from the event has helped finance school sponsored trips to Italy for many years.
The students of Pierson are, once again, going to Italy over February break. But this year, art teacher Peter Solow is branching out with the fundraiser by highlighting not just visual arts, but performing arts as well. This Friday, several talented Pierson musicians will perform as part of “A Celebration of the Arts” a concert and silent print auction.
“It’s something unique that hasn’t transpired since my time at Pierson — to have a concert by kids who are in groups and playing music, but not simply for the school band and orchestra,” says Solow. “There are many people who are doing this and they are very accomplished.”
The event is from 7 to 10 p.m., at the high school with the concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium. The silent auction will take place in the commons with work by April Gornik, Linda Capello, Josh Dayton, Bill King and others. The student performance will encompass classical and contemporary pieces by pianist Gustav Clerin, cellist Christopher Beroes-Haigis, flutist Olivia Kaminiski, violinist Connor Vorhaus and clarinetist Emily Verneuille along with straight up rock and roll by King Tut and the Rubber Band as well as The Glazzies.
“There’s been a group of us trying to promote the performing arts in the school for a long time,” explains Solow. “One of the senses we have is that the school should be filled with music all the time.”
“What makes this an unusual event is that while the students are doing the concert, an art show will be happening at the same time— a silent auction of prints to defer part of the cost for the Italy trip,” says Solow who notes that fees associated with the trip have gone up precipitously over the years. “The silent auction is really a reflection of the community support for the arts. All the work in the show is donated.”
Many of the student musicians are going on the Italy trip, and while proceeds from the concert will help defray costs, Solow notes that Friday’s event is really designed to raise awareness of the artistic potential at the school.
“A report done by a consultant recommended an expansion of the school’s music program,” says Solow. “This is really to demonstrate the possibilities. We have some incredible musicians at this school, and there’s not always the venue to show that.”
“This isn’t simply a fundraiser, but demonstrating an aspiration of the music department to bring more to the school,” says Solow. “And I find that many of the most engaged art students are those who are also very engaged in music.”
“This is a big experiment, I’m hoping that everyone comes through here,” jokes Solow. “I’m confident of putting up the silent auction art show. That’s the easy stuff. What I don’t know anything about is mounting a concert.”
“I’m very nervous about the whole thing,” he adds. “But Peter [Landi] and Chris [Haigis-Beroes] say everything is under control.”
“A Celebration of the Arts” is Friday, December 4, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Pierson High School, 200 Jermain Avenue, Sag Harbor. Admission is $10 ($5 students).
Top: Student musicians Connor Vorhaus, Gabe Buford, Chris Beroes-Haigis, Olivia Kaminski, Emily Verneuille and Peter Landi.