On a given evening at Stenton Family Manor, a youthful energy fills the walls. The homeless shelter is one of Philadelphia’s largest emergency housing facilities for homeless families, providing shelter for more than 200 individuals, with at times, a youth population of 150 children.
On Monday evening, an especially excited energy filled the air, as Stenton Family Manor’s Youth Garden Club, a biweekly program sponsored by Weavers Way Community Programs, hosted a group of very special guests: Dover Quartet.
The string quartet is comprised four young graduates from Philadelphia’s esteemed Curtis Institute of Music — violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, cellist Camden Shaw, and violinists Bryan Lee and Joel Link.
The group has been making waves in the music industry as what the “New Yorker” called “the young American string quartet of the moment.”
“Earlier this year, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society approached Weavers Way Community Programs and asked us if we would like to partner with them on the Music for Food program, an initiative based out of Boston that uses concerts to raise awareness and resources to fight hunger,” said Jill Fink, WWCP’s executive director.
“The partnership would help raise money for our garden program at Stenton Family Manor through a fundraising concert by the Dover Quartet,” she added.
While the benefit concert took place Tuesday evening to a sold out crowd, on Monday the quartet stopped by Stenton Manor to participate in the evening’s garden club and perform for the children.
The quartet began by discussing their instruments with the children, describing how their instruments are made and providing a brief history on their instruments and classical music. There was a loud hum of talk and chatter until the musicians began to play.
Instantly the children silenced, looking on in awe as the quartet plucked and strummed away, filling the room with a booming sound that drew other curious residents in for a peek.
A brief question and answer session followed, ending with one small boy raising his hand in the back.
“I just wanted to tell you I really liked how you played,” he said shly.
As for the benefit concert itself, Miles Cohen, artistic director of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, said the evening was a huge success, raising over $1,000 for the Weavers Way garden program at Stenton Family Manor.