Kent/Blossom Music Festival hosts international musicians at Kent State

Jenna Francis

Kent State University, Blossom Music Center and the Cleveland Orchestra have teamed up once again this summer to put on the Kent/Blossom Music Festival.

The Kent/Blossom Music Festival welcomes 46 young musicians from all over the world to train and perform with musicians from the Cleveland Orchestra.

Kallen Bierly, one of those musicians -a violinist from Georgia -said her favorite part about the festival is working with the musicians from the Cleveland Orchestra. She heard about the festival from a teacher of hers who is also an instructor for the festival and this will be her second summer participating.

“You have to apply and audition for it – its pretty selective,” she said.

Bierly said she is staying with a host family for her five weeks in Kent and enjoys spending her time in Ohio away from Georgia.

Shawn Gordon, senior director of advancement for the College of the Arts, who’s family has been a host family for six years, helped to create the host family program in order to help the young musicians save money. The students who do not stay with host families either commute or stay on campus.

Gordon said there are seven host families total this summer and the families try to attend all of their student’s performances as well as balance their normal lives.

“If I’m not at a Kent Blossom Music concert, I’m at my son’s baseball game,” Gordon said.

After spending five weeks with a student some host families will create a strong bond them.

“Many of the students become just like family members,” Gordon said. “It’s a super fun way of being able to give back by donating your house and food and things like that and then really just watch them and participate in their success later on.”

Daniel Parvin, a pianist from Chicago who is spending his five weeks in Kent with a host family for the second time, said the biggest draw for him to come back to Kent was to study with Joela Jones, the principal keyboard player of the Cleveland Orchestra.

Parvin said after rehearsing all day for his four major performances he returns to his host family and is able to relax and spend evenings with them.

Contact Jenna Francis at [email protected]