MOUNT VERNON — Fans of the public broadcasting program “From the Top” — or anyone who enjoys seeing young people pursuing their passions — have a treat in store Saturday night at the Mount Vernon Community Center.

Five young musicians, rising stars in classical music and jazz, will play a free concert at 7:30 p.m.

The concert is not affiliated with “From the Top,” but it was organized by a co-executive producer, -creator and -CEO, Gerald Slavet, a summer resident of Mount Vernon.

“I love this community. I feel honestly blessed when I’m up here, it’s so beautiful,” he said. “This is what I do, so I said, ‘Why not do it in my own community if I can?'”

Slavet secured a small grant to cover expenses and started seeking out musicians. Wayne Whittier, a Vienna resident, also helped to organize the concert.

Mount Vernon already had an ideal venue, Slavet said.

“The setting of the community center in town in very beautiful,” he said. “If it goes well and people are interested, then hopefully we’ll do more as time goes on.”

This is just the sort of event for which the community center exists, said Mitzi Robinson, of Mount Vernon, who handles bookings at the center.

“(Slavet) wanted to do it for the residents of Mount Vernon,” she said. “He thought it would be a wonderful thing, which it is.”

The performers will be:

* Kadar Qian, 13, a pianist from Westford, Mass., who has appeared on “From the Top,” and will perform pieces by Franz Liszt and Frederic Chopin;

* Anna DeLoi, 15, a harpist from Plaistow, N.H., who has appeared on “From the Top” and recently toured Europe with New England Conservatory’s Youth Philharmonic Orchestra;

* Nash Ryder, a violinist from Portland who attends the New England Conservatory in Boston and will perform a violin solo and duets with DeLoi;

* Nicholas Thompson-Brown, 17, a jazz bassist from Portland and soon to be a high school junior who plans to head to the Maine Jazz Camp in Farmington; and

* Hattie Simon, 15, a jazz singer and pianist from Old Orchard Beach who has collaborated with Thompson-Brown for the last year and will perform with him on Saturday. She also will attend the Maine Jazz Camp.

It’s not often that top-notch classical and jazz musicians play small towns such as Mount Vernon, Slavet said, and he hopes they will provide entertainment and inspiration, especially for other children and teens.

No matter what a person does, no one reaches the level these musicians have, Slavet said, without discipline, passion and focus.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of either classical music or jazz; most people recognize excellence,” he said. “At least, kids do. Excellence can be very inspirational for everyone.”

Susan McMillan — 621-5645

[email protected]


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