Legends & Luminaries: a letter from the Executive Director

Meredith Monk & Mohsen Namjoo, July 2019

“The West Kortright Centre is a magical place…”

So begins a story told by Blake Fleming, WKC friend and performer, of a July evening this past summer when we hosted the Iranian vocalist and setar player Mohsen Namjoo and his band. The auditorium was energized that night—full of both familiar faces and those new to The WKC—including fans of the artist from as far away as Philadelphia. In a moment of stage banter, Mohsen spoke of the beauty of our rural valley, and the fact that so many legends, luminaries and innovators make the trek to perform here. He went on to say that he’d noticed a Meredith Monk poster hanging in the “green room” and that, when he was 16 and living in Tehran, he had come across a VHS tape of Meredith performing and it changed his life, allowing him to go beyond tradition and find his true voice. He was visibly moved as he told the story to a rapt audience.

Little did he know that Meredith Monk is a long-time friend and neighbor of The Centre. When someone shouted that she was IN THE AUDIENCE that evening, the look on Mohsen’s face was, as Blake put it, “pure magic…it was such an incredible moment to be a part of. There were tears and joy and just pure astonishment. So incredible! So beautiful and real!”

Moments like this are only one reason why we are so fortunate to have the West Kortright Centre. Not only does it provide a vitally important place for friends and neighbors to gather to enjoy incredible concerts in an intimate setting, but it also provides a space for learning and exploration for people of all ages. 2019 was no exception in an exceptional history of presenting these opportunities. We hosted musicians from Mexico, The Gambia, Iran, and Ireland, as well as from our own county, and places in between. We presented another incredible year of our Young People’s Theater Arts Workshops, capped off by a fully realized production of Macbeth, including original costumes by renowned designer Gary Graham and a fabulous crew of young people. We also inaugurated our Songbird Sessions, free programming for families, which was a resounding success and will be developed further next season.

2019 was also a year of renewal behind the scenes, as we launched a new website, implemented new ticketing software, and upgraded our office technology, allowing us to streamline our procedures and make the most of our human and financial resources. We continue to see the benefits of this upgrade and know it will facilitate our service to the community in even more ways in the years to come.

Please consider including the WKC in your year-end giving plans and help us reach our goal of $10,000. Your support will allow us to sustain our mission of bringing world-class performances and learning opportunities to this corner of Delaware County, as well as to make sure our historic building continues to be in good repair. By making a contribution of any amount, you’re an integral part of the effort to ensure that the West Kortright Centre continues to be a warm, welcoming and engaging gathering place for culture in our community.

Thank you so very much for being a part of our fold, and for your continued support. On behalf of our board and staff, happiest of holidays to you!

Amy Helfand, Executive Director