Rotary Foundation donates to Dogwood Festival

Published 9:50 am Friday, February 15, 2019

DOWAGIAC — Just before noon Thursday, Dogwood Fine Arts Festival Chairperson Jim Benedix received a big check — physically that is.

It took two people to hold the nearly 4-foot-long check straight as Benedix posed for a photo to celebrate the donation by a local organization. 

The Dowagiac Rotary Charitable Foundation donated the large check — carrying the amount of $500 — to the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival Thursday. The funds will be used to underwrite a performance by the Vienna Boys Choir, which will be taking place at 7 p.m. March 11 at the Dowagiac Middle School Performing Arts Center. Tickets are currently on sale for the performance at

The March performance will mark the first time that the Vienna Boys Choir has visited Dowagiac. The famous chorus is comprised of four separate ensembles of boys between the ages of 10 and 14, totaling 100 choristers at the Vienna Boys Choir school at any given time.

The group has been renowned as one of the finest vocal ensembles in the world for more than five centuries, having been formally established at Vienna’s Imperial Chapel in 1498 by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. Today’s Vienna Boys Choir is comprised of young singers from all over the world who are admitted by audition. The choir visiting Dowagiac in March includes boys hailing from Austria, Cambodia, China, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and the Philippines.

“I’m excited to have them here in Dowagiac,” Benedix said. “It’s rare to get such a world-class act in this area. The quality and notoriety of [the group] are very special. They are regarded as one of the best in the world.”

Benedix said he is grateful for the donation by the Dowagiac Rotary Charitable Foundation, which he said will help make the March show a success. He added that contributions such as this help cover costs that tickets sales alone cannot cover.

“It feels good [to receive the donation], and it’s nice to have the support of the community,” he said.

Dowagiac Rotary Charitable Foundation President Larry Crandall said that the foundation has donated to the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival several times in the past and that he is glad the donation this year can go toward the Vienna Boys Choir performance next month. He added that the decision to donate to the concert was unanimous by the foundation board.

“We try to donate to worthy causes in our community,” Crandall said. “We always try to support [Dogwood] and many other organizations and causes. … That’s what we do as Rotarians. We try to give back.”