This weekend, the memory of a young life lost at Sandy Hook lives on through a benefit concert.
Four years ago, the family of Chase Kowalski started a youth triathlon program in honor of their son. Now this weekend's concert, which will bring members of the New York Philharmonic to Connecticut, is another way of remembering him while raising money for that program that is so near to them.
"Carter asked his friends from the Philharmonic if they'd be interested in doing a benefit concert and they all were ecstatic about it,” Chase’s mother Rebecca Kowalkski said.
Rebecca Kowalkski said she didn't know a thing about classical music or who Carter Brey was when the wife of the principal cellist with the New York Philharmonic reached out to her, shortly after Sandy Hook.
A friendship blossomed first and that long-shelved idea to hold a concert will finally become a reality this Sunday at Waterbury's Palace Theater, when Brey, along with friends and colleagues from the Philharmonic perform at Chasing the Music, which is a benefit for The Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski Sandy Hook Memorial Fund.
"The fact that these are world renowned musicians that are coming to Connecticut,” Kowalkski said. “They play in the New York Philharmonic on a regular basis and the Philharmonic takes them out of the country. To have them come to Connecticut for us, for a benefit concert, is so beautiful, and really a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Kowalkski said Chase, loved sports, even competing and winning his very first triathlon at just six years old. That's why in 2014 they launched Race 4 Chase, a free 6-week triathlon program, teaching kids how to swim, bike and run. The proceeds from this weekend’s concert will help that program continue to grow.
"Everything we get goes back into the Foundation and we give to the kids,” Kowalkski said. "We've taken this from three programs in the greater Waterbury YMCA, through Jim O'Rourke's tutelage and brought it to three states, 20 programs and we still want to make it bigger."
While world-class musicians will be donating their time and talent, it will have a community feel.
Artwork from Sandy Hook students will be displayed during the concert with the creative writings of Newtown High School students will introduce the pieces.
Kowalkski said Chase would have been in the fifth grade, learning about music.
"We've had a lot of people donate tickets for kids. Our Race for Chase kids are coming at no charge with their guardians,” Kowalkski said. "Newtown community children, Waterbury community children, they're all able to see these amazing musicians free of charge, to get a sample of what its really like to experience the symphony."
For more information on this weekend's concert, click here.
To purchase tickets, click here.
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