by Moira Cullings
ROELAND PARK — Ashley Stanfield has witnessed firsthand the benefits of a strong fine arts program.
When she’s not playing the viola professionally with the Opus 76 Quartet, she teaches violin at St. Agnes School in Roeland Park.
“I think that as a society, we have this sort of semi-delusion during times of relative prosperity that the fine arts are somehow less essential than, say, science, math, reading or even sports,” said Stanfield.
“But when we look back at history,” she continued, “every time there’s been a crisis or a period of great suffering for humanity . . . there has always been a fervor to make and receive art.”
To raise funds for St. Agnes’ fine arts department, Opus 76 is treating the community to an elegant evening of classical music’s greatest hits on Sept. 21 from 6-7 p.m. at St. Agnes Church. The evening will culminate with light refreshments in the parish center from 7-8 p.m.
Single tickets are $30, and family tickets are $100. All proceeds will benefit the fine arts department.
Stanfield hopes to replicate the event at other area Catholic schools so they can bolster their own fine arts programs, which she believes offer unparalleled benefits to young musicians.
“I hope that my students at St. Agnes have benefited by being able to use the skills they have learned on the violin as tools to express themselves,” she said, “and process the world around them.
“Through determination, grit and sometimes even joy, they have proven that they can achieve the goals they set for themselves.”
To purchase tickets for the concert, go online to: bit.ly/opus-76.