The Thornton Academy String Quartet typically creates art through music performance. Recently however, roles were reversed, as they became the subject of a painting donated to the school in their honor.
The quartet performed at the Ferry Beach Art Auction on November 10, 2018. This fundraising event raised over $12,000 for the Ferry Beach Retreat and Conference center, a non-profit organization located in Saco. Ferry Beach members Bill Mitchell and Brad Cohen, both of Massachusetts, placed the winning bid on a live portrait to be painted that night. They chose to recognize the Thornton Academy String Quartet by calling for the group to be the subject of the portrait, and then donating the painting to Thornton Academy. Local artist Julia Durgee of Portland created the artwork live that evening while the musicians played a repertoire of classical music.
When the quartet was originally hired to perform at the event, they certainly did not know that they would end up as the subject of a portrait.
"It was really cool. I don’t think any of us have ever been painted before. It’s neat to see ourselves on canvas. My cello is really shiny!” said Rowan Collins '21.
Comprising the Thornton Academy String Quartet are senior Jenna Danler and sophomore Bella Kalinyak on violin, senior Max Vickery on viola, and sophomore Rowan Collins on cello. Thornton Academy performing arts teacher Anne Wilkinson directs the quartet.
In addition to performing at the Ferry Beach Art Auction, the group performs at local events such as the Festival of Trees at Dyer Library, the tree lighting at Southern Maine Health Center, weddings, and other celebrations.
Music teacher Wilkinson knows these four students well. In addition to directing them in the quartet, she also instructs them in the orchestra at Thornton Academy. She appreciates the quality of the painting.
"The artist really captured the personality of each of the members of the quartet,” Wilkinson said.