• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Free chamber music concert to benefit literacy program

The St. John’s Players, conducted by Dr. Joseph Ceo, will perform a Free Concert of Chamber Music on Sunday, March 17, at 3 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 210 North Main Street in Versailles.

Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms are among the composers whose classical music will be performed by the St. John’s Players during the hour-long concert, according to Dr. Ceo.

Offerings at the concert will benefit the Woodford County Reading Club, a free literacy program for elementary school students. Donations will support the program’s tradition of awarding $1,000 scholarships to former students who graduate from Woodford County High School, said Sara Meekins, co-director of the Woodford County Reading Club.

She noted that more than 95 percent of the students who complete the literacy program as fourth- and fifth-graders graduate from high school.

“It is very meaningful for us that these kids are graduating from high school,” said Meekins. She said that shows what the program’s volunteers are doing to nurture the reading skills of students who are behind grade level.

“What we’re trying to do is get them (our students) turned back on to education,” added Meekins.

Proceeds from the upcoming concert will also help pay operating expenses for a program that began in 2006, said its co-director Mary Ann Oberturf.

A professional violist and violinist, Ceo said the eight other professional musicians in the upcoming concert include one of his former students at the University of Kentucky and Sharon Ohler, a retired Woodford County Middle School music teacher.

“You want to communicate your message and you do it through music,” said Ceo. He said it’s always a wonderful thing to perform for an audience – especially music of this caliber.

“Five-hundred years from now, they’ll still be playing Mozart,” said Ceo. “That’s how good he was, and how much stuff he did – things that were just tremendous.”

St. John’s, an English-designed Gothic church, provides a venue with good acoustics, according to Ceo. “The sound,” he said, “is wonderful.”

The Woodford County Reading Club had previously relied on a memorial golf scramble to generate dollars to help cover its operating expenses. “So we’re dependent now on grants and donations to keep our program going,” said Meekins. Anyone unable to attend the Free Concert of Chamber Music and reception Sunday afternoon may also make a donation with a check payable to the Woodford County Reading Club and mail it to St. John’s Episcopal Church, Meekins said.

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