On June 18, a 23-piece all-star band performed the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album in its entirety at Chapman Hall at Middlesex Community College at a benefit concert in memory former Wesleyan Center for the Arts intern Stephanie Nelson, of Middletown, who passed away last year at the age of 25. This was the second annual benefit concert held in Nelson’s name. The first, held last summer, featured the Beatles’ White Album and raised almost $5,000 to establish the Stephanie Nelson Scholarship at Middlesex Community College (MCC), Nelson’s alma mater.
This year’s concert was organized by Andy Chatfield, press and marketing director for Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts. Nelson was Chatfield’s intern at the CFA. “This year, we played all of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which is one of my favorite Beatles albums. Stephanie’s dad requested that we hold the event on the Saturday before Father’s Day, and clarinet player Catherine Rousseau, one of the musicians returning to perform with us this year, told me that June 18 also happened to be Paul McCartney’s birthday. So we played ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ the day that Sir Paul turned 74.”
The Stephanie Nelson Scholarship is awarded to a MCC student with a good GPA, with preference given to students with a desire to work as an intern at Wesleyan in the field of broadcast communications or multimedia. Last month, Chatfield presented the fund’s first scholarship to CFA intern and Wesleyan desktop support specialist Brendan Plake, who graduated from MCC in May with an associate’s degree in broadcast-cinema. Plake, a volunteer at Catalyst Church in Middletown and a member of MCC’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, hopes to continue his education at Wesleyan.
This year’s all-star band included Chatfield on drums; Shona Kerr, adjunct professor of physical education and head coach of women’s and men’s squash, on backup vocals, harmonica, accordion, bassoon, and kazoo; and Wesleyan graduate music student Bridgid Bergin on viola; along with 20 other singers and musicians.
Click here for more information or to donate to the scholarship fund.