Park Forest, Schools

Friends and Benefactors of Southland College Prep Gift a Grand Piano to the School’s New Performing Arts Center

Grand Piano donation at Southland College Prep
Dr. Blondean Davis, Southland College Prep CEO looks on as Dr. Carl Cogar, Director of Fine Arts; Chris McBride, Steinway & Sons Institutional Sales representative; and Mark Walczak, Southland’s Director of Buildings and Grounds, unveil the new grand piano purchased for the school’s new Performing Arts Center through the generosity of friends and benefactors. (Photo by John Smierciak)
Richton Park, IL–(ENEWSPF)–October 2, 2018
By: Richard Barry

Sweet and mellow sounds of jazz, as it is meant to be enjoyed, flowed at Southland College Prep Charter High School’s recent benefit concert of “An Evening of Sophisticated Jazz by Ava Logan.”

Logan, who has performed her versatile repertoire in clubs and concert halls in Chicago, LA, Florida as well as Paris, Rome and Moscow, entertained guests whose contributions, together with benefactors, netted Southland College Prep $30,000 to purchase a Steinway grand piano for the school’s striking new Performing Arts Center in Richton Park, Illinois.

“This was a most welcome and overwhelming response by the Southland family and the community,” said Dr. Blondean Y. Davis, Southland’s CEO.

“We’re grateful to all who share our belief that the journey on which we’re placing the young people in our care will take them to great heights. The fine arts of music, dance and theater will enrich their lives and compliment their academic accomplishments,” Dr. Davis said.  More than half of Southland College Prep’s 540 student enrollment are actively engaged in some form of the fine arts, she added.

Dr. Davis’ remarks were reinforced by Illinois State Senator Toi W. Hutchinson (D-40th District) who shared with the audience her personal story of how participation in speech and drama performances at an early age prepared her well for her many years of public service as president of the Village of Olympia Fields and as an Illinois State senator. Sen. Hutchinson urged the community to support and engage with Southland College Prep in its performing arts program.

A highlight of the evening was when Dr. Davis asked Chris McBride, a Steinway & Sons Institutional Sales representative who attended, “Mr. McBride, now that you have our check, when might we expect delivery of our piano?”  With that, McBride joined Dr. Carl Cogar, Southland’s Director of Fine Arts and Mark Walczak, the school’s Director of Buildings and Grounds, and wheeled out a beautiful new Steinway grand piano.

David Turner, who accompanied Ava Logan on the keyboard during the evening’s concert, treated the audience to an invigorating encore performance of the Johnny Mercer jazz classic, “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.”

During the evening, which was divided between guests enjoying the concert and appetizers, a gourmet buffet and delicious desserts, Logan channeled the classic jazz music of such singers as Diana Ross, Natalie Cole, Nancy Wilson and Frank Sinatra.