Donations sought for composition honoring Kessler
The Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools' Instrumental Music Department is working to commission a piece for retired music instructor and band director Robert Kessler.
Orchestra director Kevin Dengel said no orchestra program was in place when Kessler arrived in Gahanna in 1955.
"During his years, he helped the program explode," Dengel said. "That's part of the reason we're doing this for him, because of the legacy he has had on the department."
Kessler worked for 30 years in the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools, expanding the instrumental music program and leading the creation of the district's orchestra program.
Anyone who was taught or influenced by Kessler may contribute to the commission by donating at Heartland Bank and note that the donation is for the Gahanna Lincoln Instrumental Music Boosters (GLIMB) Commission Fund.
Checks also may be sent to Dengel's attention at Lincoln High School, 140 S. Hamilton Road, Gahanna, 43230.
He said the goal is to raise $3,000, and those who give $50 or more will have their names in the score of the piece as a contributor.
The piece will be composed by Michael Gilbertson, a Julliard graduate and current graduate student at Yale University.
The composition will be written for a full orchestra (strings, winds and percussion) and is scheduled to debut in May 2014.
Dengel said this would mark the third commission by the department since the creation of the GLIMB Commission Fund.
Previous commissioned works include Impressions, dedicated to Jeff Shellhammer (band director, 1985-2010), and La Abrazo (The Hug), in memory of Shane Albaugh (class of 2012).
"We're raising awareness and giving a yearlong forecast," Dengel said. "If (anyone) was taught by Bob and want to be a part of the process, they can contribute."
When Kessler retired at the end of the 1985 academic year, more than 300 students were participating in marching band, three concert bands, two jazz bands and a symphonic orchestra.