Back in the late ’80s, Wilmington dance and music educator Ken Brown never imagined that he’d someday be best known for performances of little girls in tutus being twirled and dipped by their single dads.
It all started when the mother of his small daughter wanted him to be more involved in her life. So Brown brought her to his office on Saturday mornings, which happened to be a dance studio.
The two formed a special bond, Brown said, and their daddy-daughter Saturday mornings turned into dance classes with other single dads spending time with their daughters. The classes, more than 25 years later, are still in session, and the annual performances at The Grand Opera House still draw a crowd.
Brown will be honored for this first time with a 2015 Christi Award, which will recognize his many achievements: his work with fathers and daughters, his involvement with Kuumba Academy Charter School – he’s a founding member and dean of students and family engagement – and his 15 years’ previous experience at Christina Cultural Arts Center (where he was education director).
The Oct. 23 awards ceremony is Christina Cultural Arts Center’s signature event that recognizes community members who are supportive and passionate about the arts. “It’s a wonderful honor,” Brown said. “The award itself is a beautiful thing, but my love is still for the kids.”
Other Christi Award-winners:
Dr. Juhi Jagiasi is an anesthesiologist who entertains and educates about India through dance, fashion and cultural events. She choreographs Indian dance for many groups, has judged UD’s Muqabla dance competition and is CEO of Jewel of India, an event-planning agency.
Darrell Andrews, Jr., an artist and illustrator who, for the past six years, has supported his art school by donating animations and illustrations to charity art auctions. For the past three years, he has hosted cartoon and animation camps for local kids, and he’s also an education department volunteer at the Delaware Art Museum. Andrews plans to attend college and become an illustrator and teacher.
As Christina Cultural Arts Center recognizes local shining stars this month, The Music School of Delaware is excited to kick off its concert season Oct. 15 with Musical Bounty, performed as a Music Masters Concert. It’s an all-Vivaldi production featuring the composer’s joyful strains of strings and his famous Four Seasons. The concert honors the school’s supporters and will be dedicated to Dr. William Stegeman, the violin- and viola-playing board member who broke records earlier this year with a $750,000 donation to the school.
Musical Bounty will feature 16 musicians, 14 of whom are Music School faculty: Alessandra Cuffaro, violin; Eliezer Gutman, violin; Jessica Hoffman, violin; Dr. Michael T. Jamanis, violin; Julianne Murphy, violin; Kate Ransom, violin; Christof Richter, violin; Stefan Xhori, violin; Nina Cottman, viola; Dr. Esme Allen-Creighton, guest viola; Katie Inie-Richards, viola; Eric Coyne, cello; Jennifer Crowell Stomberg, cello; Dr. Lawrence Stomberg, cello; George Freeman, guest double bass; and Tracy Richardson, harpsichord. Simeone Tartaglione will conduct.