Organizers, officials, and local residents are basking in the wake of the Heifetz International Music Institute’s first season at Mary Baldwin College, noting the positive reception the program received and the hard work of those who made it happen.
Staunton Mayor Lacy B. King, Jr. has issued a proclamation in honor of MBC President Pamela Fox and her husband, Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dan Layman, for their work in bringing the unique music program to the city and their personal efforts to make the program a success.
The six-week program drew to a close at its final public concert August 9.
“The partnership between Mary Baldwin College and The Heifetz International Music Institute has become a significant economic driver and source of tremendous community pride,” the proclamation reads. “I … hereby express deep appreciation for the vision, the encouragement, and the support of Dr. Pamela Fox and Mr. Dan Layman and their invaluable contribution in helping to bring the Heifetz International Music Institute and its superb group of talented musicians to Staunton.”
Not only were Fox and Layman instrumental in bringing Heifetz to Staunton, they provided much needed support to the program — sometimes in unexpected ways. In the wake of the massive June 29 windstorm that knocked out power on campus, Fox and Layman scrambled to find alternative accommodations for the musicians to practice.
“Dr. Fox jumped right on the bandwagon, getting us space in First Presbyterian Church, and Dan said ‘Use the [President’s] house,'” said Justin Reiter, Heiftetz executive director. “We are just overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. Dr. Fox and Dan were key players in us coming here. And we fit perfectly into Dr. Fox’s vision of where the college is going.”
Nearly a year ago, Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling traveled to Staunton to announce that Mary Baldwin would become home to the prestigious music program, where dozens of the world’s most talented string musicians would spend their summers working with top performers to improve their playing and their communications skills. While firm numbers are not yet available, packed houses at each concert point to the potential economic success for Staunton.
“What was interesting was in the last three weeks of the Institute we saw new faces every week,” Reiter said. “The word was getting out across the valley. Also interesting was that because there was such a buzz, people who came to town for another reason were attending the performances.”