Victoria Harris will perform a piano concert at 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28, to benefit Gila Community College students who will be traveling to London in May.
There is no set admission charge, but all donations will be accepted and applied toward students’ travel expenses. The concert will feature piano works from such composers as Schumann, Haydn, Debussy and Chopin and will be held in room 301 (the community room) at Gila Community College.
A brief reception with light refreshments will follow the performance. A silent auction will also be held.
Harris, a pianist and organist, has music degrees from Eastman School of Music, Ohio State University and the University of Iowa. Harris was a piano accompanist for a dance studio in Columbia, Mo., from ages 11 to 14, and has taught piano and organ since she was 16.
Since 2004, Harris and her husband, Neil, have resided in Payson.
Harris serves as an adjunct facility member at Gila Community College where she currently teaches Class Piano 1. She also serves as director of music at Mount Cross Lutheran Church, pianist for the Payson Choral Society, and director of Harris Music Studio, where she privately instructs 30 piano and organ students.
Harris has traveled to France, England, Russia, and most recently to Germany to perform concerts and attend music workshops and recognizes the value in college students traveling to London to increase their appreciation for the fine arts and to expand their understanding of another culture.
Shannon Howard, an English instructor at Gila Community College and a piano student of Dr. Harris, is escorting the community college students to London.
During her junior year of college, Howard participated in a six-month study abroad program to London and now has the opportunity to share a similar cultural and educational experience with Payson college students.
The travelers have been earning money for their six-day tour since last November through employment and individual fund-raisers.
One nursing student, Cathy Zermeno, has dreamed of traveling to London and is undeterred by the expense. Zermeno has held bake sales at Tiny’s restaurant and has also made and sold tamales with fellow travelers.
Zermeno says that Hispanic poet Pat Mora inspires part of her dedication. While reading Mora’s poetry in an English course at the college, Zermeno learned that Mora endured many personal struggles to achieve literary success. Zermeno feels inspired to “live life to the fullest,” which includes traveling to London to learn more about English culture and maybe even the English health care system.
The college travelers will hold a silent auction before and during intermission of Harris’ piano benefit.
Items will include goods and services donated by local businesses. Travelers hope to earn enough money to offset the cost of airfare to London, which is about $1,000 per person.