Experiencing Perkins Conservatory

On any given day, walking into the Perkins’ Manor in Moorestown, or into the Collingswood Warehouse, one is tantalized by music wafting through the air. Fingers trip lightly across the keys of the pianos while vocalists warm up with scales. The lilting of a flute or the soulful song of a cello greets you at the door, while the drum beat provides energy for the day. More than 100 students visit Perkins weekly for lessons with one of the 30+ instructors who hail from international musical institutions to share their gifts.

For more than two decades, Perkins Conservatory of music has been growing and evolving. The Center has shared musical experiences with thousands of students during that time and we look for innovative ways to improve those experiences daily. The goal of the Perkins Conservatory is to give all students lasting and memorable musical experiences that will accompany them throughout their lifetime and experiences.

Whether a student is seeking a career in music or wants to play as for personal gratification. Perkins fosters all different varieties of musical appetites. The Perkins goal is to nurture and teach them the love of music as an art form. Adhering to the Mission of the Center, Perkins works tirelessly to provide authentic arts experiences that enrich and inspire. One of my colleagues once said to me, “once you’ve experienced music as a lifestyle choice, it is extremely difficult to put that life style choice away.” At Perkins we hope to inspire our students in a way that shows them the pure joy of the art form.

One comment that I hear again and again about Perkins Conservatory is how patient and kind our faculty is with their students. I’ve had several parents ask me, “Where do you find so many great music teachers?” My answer is that Perkins searches diligently to bring the highest quality of instruction to our students. Perkins is extremely lucky to have the faculty that graces our buildings weekly. Part of their and that they are so committed to making our students happy. These teachers work tirelessly to make sure they have a positive impact on our student’s lives. Students’ accomplishments are something all of our teachers take great pride in and those accomplishments and shared and celebrated through recitals, concerts, and presentations.

One Perkins parent with multiple children taking lessons from the same teacher said, “It’s amazing that Dr. Ray is able to completely change his teaching style from one of my children to the next. We couldn’t believe how quickly he adjusted to their different learning styles.” These testimonials exemplify what Perkins Conservatory really strives for. Perkins endeavors to have every student engage in a unique musical experience at Perkins. Each student is treated as an individual so that their experience here is a lasting and memorable one.

Come – explore the Perkins Conservatory of Music. For more information about lessons, musical concerts or recitals, visit www.perkinsarts.org or contact Conservatory Manager, Bryan Williams at 856-235-6488 ext. 302.

Spirit Invincible

On Tuesday, October 2, staff and youth from the Center for Family Services welcomed visitors, funders and participants to witness the unveiling of “Spirit Invincible,” at Benson House in Camden.  The mural project which began more than 18 months ago came to fruition on this evening when this deeply moving mosaic mural was dedicated.

The mural, Spirit Invincible, welcomes residents, staff and visitors to the Benson House. Incorporating more than 2,000 handcrafted clay tiles made by residents, IMANI students, staff, and teaching artist Paul Serena.  Through stylized symbolism, the mural follows a spirit’s challenging journey towards successful, achievable outcomes, a relatable story about human perseverance.

Upon entering you are met with the Benson House, capturing the home’s architectural beauty and the welcoming hands we offer to all who seek aid and comfort here. From the entryway landing we see a spirit in a small boat in turbulent water, who is able to come ashore with the assistance of a helping hand. Next we see a spirit’s encounter with a wall that is insurmountable until presented with a ladder to aid them on their way.

At the second landing we find a spirit in a barren environment, save for a single Protea flower, one of the oldest known to man and symbolizing perseverance, diversity and courage. As the spirit continues the journey, they draw strength from everything they have surmounted, so they can cross a bridge of virtues to reach a lush field where gladiolas, daffodil and lotus bloom, all symbols of transformation.

The story follows the human spirit as it encounters challenges, receives guidance and aid by outside forces, to help them on a path toward a bright future filled with affirmations. It is hoped that viewers will not only identify with the spirit but with the helping hands as well. Our residents and IMANI youth added words of encouragement and support to tiles throughout the mural to remind future residents and visitors that everything will be well at the Benson House, and the spirit will be free to fly, free to grow and free to be their true self once they leave our doors.

Through the 2018 school year, over 30 students learned to work with clay and create this mosaic mural from start to finish. The inspiration and design as well as tile-making and grouting were all worked on collaboratively. Under the guidance of the teaching artist, students learned to texture, stamp, glaze, adhere, and grout tiles to assemble this over twenty-five foot piece of art.

The Spirit Invincible mural project was made possible by support from Perkins Center for the Arts, The Center for Family Services, and Campbell Soup Company.