New Dawn Arts Center to host benefit concert with Kevin Scott Hall

ASHBURNHAM – It will be a real comeback from Christmas this year.

The New Dawn Arts Center (NDAC), a volunteer-run organization located at 84 Main Street (the former Ashburnham Community Church), will host a benefit concert featuring the Ashburnham native artist and author, Kevin Scott Hall, who recently returned to the area. after spending three decades in New York.

Entitled “A Homecoming Christmas,” the performance is slated for December 12 at 4 pm and will feature some of Hall’s own songs as well as traditional favorite songs and holiday tunes. Other local talents performing at the event include Ilana Joyce Cady on piano and Michelle Tucker on percussion. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door on the day of the concert for $ 20.

All funds generated from this event will be used for future charity programs and events, as well as building capital improvements.

Kevin Scott Hall's

What is NDAC?

NDAC was incorporated as a public nonprofit charity on April 27 and is fiscally sponsored with 501 (c) (3) status. The mission of the organization is to provide accessible arts education, appreciation and practice for the community around the region.

Although recent, NDAC founder Abigail Abbott said the idea is long in coming.

“I have worked in non-profit organizations and [it has always been] my desire to help facilitate the arts [programs] for others and make sure our community has a place to play, see, learn and enjoy the arts, ”said Abbott, who also has a studio art background.

His idea didn’t come to fruition until 2019, when the former Ashburnham Community Church was discussing the idea of ​​selling or renting the building. This acted as a catalyst for Abbott to pursue his philanthropic dream and acquire the space.

Currently NDAC shares space with the church, but the former has a written agreement to purchase the space from the latter once the organization’s 501 (c) (3) status goes into effect.

“Once the nonprofit owns the building, we’ll rent it out to the church so they can still hold the congregation on Sunday,” Abbott said.

However, Abbott pointed out that the NDAC is not part of the church or vice versa.

During his negotiation process with the church to acquire the building in late 2019, Abbott reached out to former high school friend Jill Sauvageau to help broaden his vision.

“She (Abbott) wanted to incorporate the art of performance [as one of the organization’s programs] also. She has a studio art degree and I have a theater degree, so when she (Abbott) reached out, I was like, “Absolutely, totally,” Sauvageau said.

Sauvageau is currently Director of Programming for NDAC.

Abbott and Sauvageau worked closely together for months to bring NDAC to life.

“It’s been kind of a blessing in disguise to have COVID because it’s given us this downturn to do all the background work and paperwork,” Abbott said.

Spaces inside the New Dawn Arts Center (the former Ashburnham Community Church) to be used for arts programs.

A case of serendipity

Asked about Hall’s association with the organization, Abbott said they knew each other from attending the same church last year.

“It felt like it was serendipity,” Abbott said. Shortly after their meeting, Hall was invited to join the NDAC board, which he agreed to.

“Last year when I came back I told friends I couldn’t believe I was back in the hometown I fled from after high school,” Hall said. “But we’ve all changed and I’m immersing myself in the arts community here and love it.”

He added, “I love holiday music and this concert is a way to bring attention to NDAC in a meaningful way.”

Abbott said funding is the biggest hurdle NDAC faces. She also felt the pressure from the community because people are delighted that such a program is being offered in Ashburnham – a convenience for the community like never before as locals had to travel to Peterborough, NH, Gardner and Fitchburg to that. type of program.

“[The community] is delighted to have something here. It’s very exciting, everyone is thinking, “What’s the next step? “So we’re trying to get our programming up and running while trying to get funding,” Abbott said.

NDAC currently offers a few arts programs to the community.

“We were supported by the Ashburnham Cultural Council and only donations. We’ve asked for a lot more other grants this year, ”Abbott said.

"Christmas return" Details of the event.

But she stressed that community funding of all kinds, such as donations and volunteering, is crucial to improving and enhancing NDAC events and programming for the community.

Checks can be made out and mailed to New Dawn Art Center Inc., PO Box 929, Ashburnham, MA 01430. Cash donations can be deposited in the red NDAC drop box on the building at 84 Main Street, Ashburnham. Or you can find NDAC on PayPal or Venmo at @newdawnarts.

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Corina C. Butler