Harrisburg, PA (November 18, 2022) – Theatre Harrisburg has announced the recipients of the 29th Awards for Distinguished Service to the Arts in the Capital Region (Arts Awards). Ya-Ting Chang and Peter Sirotin, musicians and music educators, will receive the “Award to an Individual” and Sankofa African American Theatre Company will receive the “Award to an Organization, Company or Group.” The Awards will be presented on Saturday, May 20, 2023, in a Kennedy Center Honors-style theatrical gala at Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in downtown Harrisburg. The event is open to the public and proceeds benefit Theatre Harrisburg.
Ya-Ting Chang and Peter Sirotin are distinguished musicians, music educators, collaborators, and arts administrators. Peter, a violinist, and Ya-Ting, a pianist, are Co-Directors of Market Square Concerts. Peter has been Concertmaster of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra since 2011. In 1997 they co-founded the Mendelssohn Piano Trio, with which they have performed over 500 concerts and recorded 15 CDs. They have been Artists in Residence and Adjunct Instructors at Messiah University since 2002. The couple have toured North America, Europe, and Asia, both as soloists and chamber musicians. Their multiple recordings have received critical acclaim and can be heard on many major classical radio stations in the U.S. They have collaborated in performance with world-renowned performers, given masterclasses in the U.S. and abroad, and served as adjudicators in competitions.
Sankofa African American Theatre Company was incorporated on June 6, 2017 with a mission to engage and enrich the Harrisburg region around African American history, culture, and perspective on relevant issues through thought-provoking theatre. Now in its sixth season of programming, Sankofa AATC has connected thousands of students and community members in its diverse community through renowned and original performance art works by African American authors, poets, playwrights, and musicians. Sankofa AATC collaborates with local and regional artists and arts organizations to create spaces that facilitate civic dialogue and healing around the African American experience.
Sankofa’s origins date to late 2015, when the founders of Open Stage of Harrisburg and actors from the cast of several August Wilson productions began serious dialogue about the need for a local theatre presence in which actors of color could take ownership of telling their own stories. This dialogue led to the formation of a founding committee under the leadership of Sharia Benn and Don Alsedek that worked for over nine months missioning, visioning, and planning for the organization, now known as Sankofa African American Theatre Company.
Since 1989, the Awards for Distinguished Service to the Arts in the Capital Region have honored artists and arts leaders, philanthropists and visionaries, educators, organizations and companies. Honorees are chosen by a panel of past recipients. The theatrical gala is presented by Theatre Harrisburg, the region’s oldest performing arts organization, founded in 1926. Proceeds from Arts Awards support the work of Theatre Harrisburg. Additional details and information about reservations will be forthcoming on Theatre Harrisburg’s website.