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Stewarts' generous spirit lives on through music education fund

Posted: August 31, 2013 - 5:58pm
Jane and Tom Stewart  Courtesy of Juneau Jazz & Classics
Courtesy of Juneau Jazz & Classics
Jane and Tom Stewart

Juneau’s youngest music lovers – those in grades K-12 — have been offered a chance to attend tonight’s “Made in America” concert featuring world-renowned cellist Zuill Bailey and pianist Lara Downes at a discounted rate of $10, thanks to the Jane & Thomas B. Stewart Education Fund, part of Juneau Jazz & Classics’ Education & Outreach Program.

The concert will be held Sunday at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center at 7:30 p.m. and will feature an all-American program with works by Samuel Barber, Dave Brubeck, Leonard Bernstein and Lukas Foss.

Juneau Jazz & Classics created the education fund in 2010 in honor of two dedicated supporters, longtime local residents Tom and Jane Stewart. The fund reflects the organization’s mission to make music accessible to a broad audience of all ages and backgrounds, as well as the Stewarts’ generous spirit and involvement in the arts.

Jane Stewart, who moved to Juneau in 1945, was involved in multiple aspects of the arts community, as a musician and as an organizer. In addition to teaching music for nearly 40 years and helping to promote music in the schools, she had a hand in the founding of many arts groups, including Juneau-Douglas Little Theater in the 1950s, Juneau Lyric Opera in the 1970s, and Juneau Jazz and Classics, founded by Linda Rosenthal in 1985. She also served on the state arts council and Juneau arts council, and helped create the One Percent for Arts program. Mother to seven children, she died in 2002 at age 82.

Tom Stewart arrived in Juneau in 1919 as a baby. His far-reaching influence in the state reaches back before statehood and was carried forward through several important roles, including secretary of the Alaska Constitutional Convention, and positions in the territorial House of Representatives and state Legislature. He also spent 15 years as a Superior Court judge in Juneau. With his wife, whom he met while taking piano lessons, he was an integral part of Juneau’s arts scene, and the community as a whole. He died in 2007 at age 88.

The fund named in the Stewarts’ honor provides scholarships, music in the schools and overall support for Juneau Jazz & Classics’ elementary, middle and high school music programs. Last year, Juneau Jazz & Classics served an estimated 4,000 students through workshops, school concerts, clinics, a scholarship program and a host of free informal concerts.

The discounted K-12 student rate for the Bailey-Downes concert represents a $15 savings off the regular student price for the performance.

Tickets to Sunday’s concert are $50 for general admission and $25 for UAS students and are available at the JACC, Hearthside Books or through jazzandclassic.org. A no-host bar and light hors d’oeuvres will be available.

For more information, visit www.jazzandclassics.org.

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