Over a decade ago, a photo of Israeli-American violinist Itzhak Perlman appeared on the cover of the Rotarian Magazine that was delivered to Rotary Club members nationwide.
In the photo, Perlman is seated in Carnegie Hall with a violin in his hands. A pair of crutches lay next to his chair. Perlman is a survivor of polio, a disease he contracted at only four years old – well before Israel began a national immunization program.
“I was very lucky in making a good recovery and learning to walk with crutches,” he wrote in an essay in The Jerusalem Post in April 2015. “While the virus made normal use of my legs impossible, my hands were spared, and I could pursue a long and successful career as a violinist, doing what I love.”
Polio eradication is one of the primary missions of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, a service club whose mission enables Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through the empowerment of health, the support of education and the alleviation of poverty.
Fargo-Moorhead is home to five local Rotary Club chapters who have been part of the international effort to reduce the number of polio victims from 350,000 every year to 33 in the last 12 months through its program Polio Plus.
After the local chapters saw the photo of Itzhak Perlman ten years ago, inspiration struck, and that’s when the annual Recital With a Cause event began.
“His action sparked an idea within our community to put on a benefit concert to raise awareness and contribute to our worthwhile Rotary,” says Fargo West Rotary Reception Chair Bill Roden. “I firmly believe in the Rotary motto being service above self, the beliefs held by all Rotarians and the many civic projects the F-M area Rotarians have contributed to.”
This year, Recital With a Cause takes place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 2 at Bethesda Lutheran Church and features highly talented high school musicians who want to share their musical gifts while joining the Rotary in its quest to eradicate polio.
Hosted by FM Symphony Executive Director Linda Boyd, Recital With a Cause includes performances by the following award-winning high school musicians involved with the F-M Area Youth Symphonies: flutist Eric Bergeman, violinist Hanson Chen, violinist Phillip Dowdell, cellist Maria Clare Lusardi and clarinetist Andrew Rutten.
Admission to Recital With a Cause is free, but a free-will offering will be taken for Polio Plus. Attendees will have the opportunity to enter prize drawings for tickets to the FM Symphony, FM Opera, FMCT, MSUM Straw Hat Players and Trollwood Performing Arts. A meet and greet with the musicians follows immediately after the recital.
For more information on Recital With a Cause, click here.