Benefit show Monday will support Ithaca Free Concerts

The idea behind “ithaca Free concerts,” or iFc, is to bring major works of classical music to Ithaca audiences, free of charge, and a 6pm benefit on Monday featuring Stearns Matthews will support that mission.

Award-winning vocalist Stearns Matthews, performing Monday at 6pm at the Kitchen Theatre. Photo provided.

Award-winning vocalist Stearns Matthews, performing Monday at 6pm at the Kitchen Theatre. Photo provided.

Stearns Matthews is a MAC and Bistro award-winning vocalist who’s appeared at NYC’s Town Hall, Feinstein’s/54 Below, and the Metropolitan Room, and swept the cabaret awards in 2015 for his debut album, 2014’s “Spark.” He won the MAC Award in 2015 for Best Male Vocalist.

“We’re thrilled to bring someone of Stearns caliber to Ithaca for our benefit,” said Zachary Sweet, artistic director of iFc. “This past year has been an amazing year of growth for us — we were officially granted non-profit status, and our concerts continue to attract world-class musicians who are willing to share their talents with the Ithaca community for free!”

Proceeds from the benefit concert will directly support iFc’s mission. Founded in 2009 by Zachary Sweet, iFc “puts together major works that are rarely heard in a live setting and combines these with less familiar compositions of living composers.” Concerts are free and open to the public, and are intended to be “accessible to children of all ages.”

Zachary says, early on, he “immediately noticed how many children were showing up because of my connections to the early education scene here in Ithaca. We began with only two concerts a year, and maybe reached 50-75 people, but managed to program some really cool music and stir up some buzz.” For the first five years, he says, “all the musicians played for the love of music and enjoyment of collaborating with others.”

Last year, the group filed for 501(c)(3) status, which will allow it to accept tax-deductible donations and solicit grants. “Deciding to become a non profit was our clearest path in order to maintain the quality of concerts and to expand our reach in the future,” Zachary tells us. “For instance, I am developing a concert with a Montessori school in town that brings our mission to their school, and am developing a relationship with other organizations and non-profits like Running To Places Theatre Company and Ithaca Opera Company to brainstorm collaborative ideas.”

Tickets for the 6pm concert on Monday evening, June 13th at the Kitchen Theatre at 417 West State Street in Ithaca’s west end can be purchased online at the Kitchen Theatre web site or at the door, for $25.

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