The Texas Recreation and Park Society is honoring the Weatherford Parks, Recreation and Special Events Department for its collaboration with The Cliburn at Chandor Gardens.

Weatherford is expected to receive the Arts and Humanities Programming Achievement Award for The Cliburn Comes to Chandor Gardens later this month at the TRAPS state convention. Fort Worth’s not-for-profit The Cliburn, which aims to advance classical piano music, came to Chandor Gardens to host concerts and educational opportunities for kids last year. This was the first time that The Cliburn had hosted an event outside the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Weatherford Parks, Recreation and Special Events Assistant Director Jaycob Kirkpatrick said he attributes this award to the creative thinking by Chandor Gardens staff.

“We were very excited and honored to receive this award,” Kirkpatrick said. “We are trying to bring in new quality programs and this award lets us know that we are going in the right direction.”

The Cliburn’s artistic director reached out to Weatherford’s Chandor Gardens Manager Karen Nantz early last year about the project.

“Since the mission of the Cliburn is to advance classical music throughout the world and the Chandor Gardens Foundation mission is to promote art, culture and community along with the city of Weatherford’s dedication to creating a positive environment which fosters camaraderie for the common good, this collaboration seemed a perfect match,” Nantz said.

The events were held in Chandor’s Great Room, and the maximum amount of people attended the events, Nantz said. Each of the two “Cliburn in the Community” concerts garnered 90 attendees and 40 attendees at each of the two “Cliburn in the Classroom” summer kids’ programs.

The children’s programs presented live piano music to students from Austin Elementary, Curtis Elementary, Crockett Elementary, Weatherford Christian School and Peaster Elementary.

The concerts and children’s programming will continue this year, with “Cliburn in the Classroom” dates scheduled for June 20, July 18 and Aug. 22. This comes after the initial concerts were met with community excitement, Nantz said.

“Since that initial concert in April 2019, the partnership has flourished bringing a much-needed cultural addition to the community,” Nantz said. “The rapidly growing Parker County region has struggled to meet the needs of citizens in the areas of art and culture, forcing people to largely go east into the DFW area for those experiences.”

The events are free for the public. The Chandor Gardens Foundation requested donations to pay for hosting the children’s programs that cost $1,000 per session for delivery and use of a piano, Nantz said.

The next Cliburn concert will feature music from the three winners of the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition, all teenagers between 16-18 years of age. The event takes place at 7 p.m. on May 7.

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