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Record Number: 3395
Displayed from: Sep 12, 2007 , until: Sep 21, 2007
World-renowned pianist Leon Bates will work with Memorial Park Middle School students Friday, Sept. 14, the day before he performs with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Bates will conduct a Master Class with students at the fine arts magnet school at 1:30 p.m. to share his world-class skills with the budding artists. Bates is a native of Philadelphia and began his formal study of music when he was 6 years old, playing both the piano and violin. He was recognized as a musical genius as a child and groomed for a concert career. The late Irene Beck formulated his early training at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia, and Bates later studied under renowned pianist Natalie Hinderas at Temple University's Esther Boyer College of Music. Among his awards are the Collegiate Artist Award from the Music Teachers National Association, the National Association of Negro Musicians Competition, the Symphony of the New World Competition and the National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalists Fellowship Grant. He also was given an honorary Doctorate from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., and the Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Award from the Greater New York Wallenberg Committee for his extensive work with children. In 2001, then-Gov. Tom Ridge presented Bates with the Pennsylvania Artist of the Year Award. Bates often works with children and young adults to inspire, motivate and delight them into opening their hearts and minds to the love of music. Media is invited to attend the class at 1:30 p.m. Memorial Park is located at 2200 Maumee Ave.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.