The only Jewish day school in Anne Arundel and surrounding counties hopes the universal language of music will bring awareness — and funds — to the small school.
On Dec. 11, renowned musicians — pianist Janna Friedman (and founder of the Janna Friedman Music School in Baltimore), violinist Nikita Borisevich and baritone singer Shouvik Mondle — will take the Aleph Bet Jewish Day School auditorium stage performing Liszt, Mozart, “Carmen” and Broadway favorites. The pre-concert reception will feature wine, beer and kosher hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Tickets are $100.
The idea for the concert came from Ron Peremel, parent to second-grader Asher. He, his wife and their two kids came to Annapolis from Boulder, Colo., four years ago, and when it came time to enroll Asher, they decided to go with a Jewish education.
“Within a year [we were] seeing him prosper and learn so much about Judaism and gain such a love for Judaism,” Peremel said. “I’m completely convinced, if you’re Jewish, you should consider a Jewish day school.”
Along with his son’s success, Peremel also noticed that the school was not very well known in the community and tried to think of a way to help. With his background in business and marketing and world-class pianist Friedman as his mother-in-law, Peremel saw his opportunity. He brought the idea of a benefit concert to the school, which was immediately enthusiastic.
All of the proceeds from the concert will go back into the school for scholarships, educational equipment and teacher salaries, among other things.
“It’s truly a benefit concert,” he said. “There’s people who are donating beyond just [buying] tickets.”
Nestled near downtown Annapolis, Aleph Bet has 32 students in grades K-5, according to head of school Sarah White. It was founded nearly 30 years ago.
“We’re this little gem in the middle of Annapolis, but people don’t know about us,” White said.
Peremel describes the school as bridging the gap between the Jewish communities of the Washington, D.C., suburbs and Baltimore. As the only Jewish day school in the area, its funding base is not as large as other similar schools. Peremel hopes this concert can help bring the school to the attention of parents, donors and others in the region.
“It’s a very small but warm, thriving school,” he said.
The event will be the equivalent of a symphony concert but with food and beverages as well, according to Peremel. Along with the awareness and fundraising, there is one other underlying goal for this concert — the promotion of music education.
Friedman, a Ukrainian immigrant who came to the U.S. because of the restrictions placed on Jews (her Kiev conservatory only accepted one Jewish person per year, for example), has dedicated most of her life here to educating young musicians, first at the Peabody
Institute and then at her own school. Beyond making a difference for the school and supporting her grandson, Friedman hopes this will promote musical education for children, especially young ones.
“Music is very important for all children to develop their brain and culture,” she said, citing studies done by Johns Hopkins University and others about how music is good for child development and growth.
Peremel echoed this sentiment, saying he believes the concert could open up the possibilities of further partnerships for the school so it can expand its programming, particularly in music.
The school and event organizers are hoping to sell at least 100 tickets and were two-thirds of the way to achieving that goal as of Thanksgiving.
For tickets and more information, visit alephbetconcert.eventbrite.com.