The 2016-17 winners were presented with their awards just prior to the Imani Winds Quintet performance, March 15, 7:30 pm.
The Lied Center of Kansas named Imani Winds and Sarah Bonner as the recipients of the 2016-2017 Impact Awards. This is the third season the Lied Center is recognizing one artist or group for distinguished service to the performing arts and one USD 497 educator for distinguished service to arts education.
“We are excited to honor Imani Winds and Sarah Bonner for their tremendous passion and commitment to the arts. Their contributions are numerous and vital for inspiring the next generation of performing arts lovers,” said Executive Director Derek Kwan.
Since 1997, Grammy nominated ensemble Imani Winds has mastered a traditional repertoire while bridging European, American, African and Latin American traditions. Taking a look at the quintet’s programs provides evidence that they are always looking to expand their repertoire and promote diversity in their performances. Imani Winds is also the recipient of numerous awards from institutions including ASCAP, Chamber Music America, WQXR and the Concert Artists Guild International Competition. Aside from their talent, they are deeply committed to musical education and providing a platform for up and coming artists. In 2008 they started the Legacy Commissioning Project, in which they assemble commissions and tour new works for woodwind quintets written by composers of diverse musical backgrounds. During their performance at the Lied Center on March 15, Imani Winds performed the world premiere of a work composed by Reena Esmail, which was commissioned by the Lied Center. The group participates in residencies throughout the U.S., giving master classes to thousands of students a year. During their visit to Lawrence, Imani Winds performed for every single kindergartner, 1st grader and 2nd grader in the Lawrence Public Schools. In 2010, they launched the annual Chamber Music Festival, which connects young musicians for an intense week of musical exploration.
Sara Bonner has been teaching elementary music for 25 years, and currently serves as music teacher at Deerfield Elementary. She is recognized for her support of the Lied Center’s school-only performances and integrating music and other curricular areas. Bonner grew up singing with her family in Iowa. After graduating from Bethel College in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Bonner began her teaching career in Hesston Public Schools in 1990 and joined the Lawrence Public Schools the following year. In 1994, she earned her Master of Music Education degree from Wichita State University; her thesis was titled “Spontaneous Songs of Kindergarteners.” Bonner is a member of Music Educators National Association as well as the Lawrence Education Association. She and her husband, Wes, have four children. As the educator honoree, Bonner receives a complimentary pair of tickets to each main stage Lied Center performance during the 2016-2017 season.
Each year, after the season is booked, the Lied Center administration selects up to five artists or groups to be considered for the IMPACT Award based upon the established criteria. In August, all current and former Friends of the Lied board members vote for one of the nominees via electronic survey. The educator is selected with the assistance of USD 497 ambassadors to the Lied Center and the Adventures in Imagination board. This selection is based on the teacher’s service to arts education. Past winners are Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, and USD 497 educators Lois Orth-Lopes and Dani Lotton-Barker.