News Releases

St. Michael Academy Fine Arts Program Awarded $66,500 Grant, Strings Attached

Strings at SMA

From The St. Michael Foundation

Moved by St. Michael Academy’s (SMA) desire to fully-immerse students in a Classical Fine Arts experience, a private foundation with ties to Northern Michigan funded a $66,500 grant request to enhance the Academy’s art studio and expand its Music program to include Gregorian Chant and a Strings Program—complete with new instruments.

“When we learned of Saint Michael’s plans to add a serious music and art program to its curriculum, we were delighted,” reads a statement from SMA’s gifting Foundation. “For centuries, the Church has communicated God’s truth and goodness through the beauty of her sacred music and art. Our hope is to re-introduce students to this great tradition with deep and lasting benefits.”

“Thanks to the unbelievable generosity of our donors, St. Michael Academy can now elevate its Fine Arts Program to its proper place at the heart of our Classical Catholic curriculum.  For beauty to truly save the world, as Dostoevsky urges, we must first make the fine arts accessible. With this tremendous support, along with our new Fine Arts faculty, SMA students are poised for artistic greatness in the years ahead.”

Meeting his benefactors, Mr. Augustin Zehnder, an accomplished violin player and member of SMA’s Music department, conveyed his gratitude and excitement to share his passion for Liturgical and Classical Music through instrumental instruction and student performances.

New to SMA this year, Mr. Martin Beers, whose teaching competencies include Mathematics, Science, Philosophy, Latin, Greek, and Theology—also specializes in Music Theory and Gregorian Chant. Mirroring Mr. Zehnder’s enthusiasm, Mr. Beers added, “I am overjoyed to enrich the spiritual lives of our students with Gregorian chant and the profound liturgical tradition of the Church.”

Ms. Elizabeth Kovacs, SMA’s instructor for Art History and Studio Art, with degrees in Art History and Theology, expresses great appreciation for the new studio supplies. “I intend to train students in the classical Academy style of art instruction. Young students can develop masterful skill through rigorous effort with proper materials, which we are very fortunate to now possess.”

SMA’s goals for this grant goes beyond the Academy’s walls. When contacted, Ms. Judy Zorn, Executive Director of Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, expressed her support for SMA’s commitment to music education and new ability to expand its reach with string instruction. “We look forward to working with St. Michael Academy to bring musical enrichment to our area.”

“St. Michael’s integrated curriculum guides students through history—relating the effects of music, art, and literature to critical events that shaped the world’s borders, cultures, and religions, and vice versa,” explains Mr. Andrew Moe, SMA Humanities teacher and Liturgical Minister. “These connections provide students with a solid understanding of and desire to seek truth, goodness, and beauty. With a perspective set in faith and reason, they will bring hope to future generations.”

Families interested in learning more about St. Michael Academy’s classical Catholic education are encouraged to visit stmichaelupnorth.org and contact Dr. Richard Brake at 231-881-9025. Established in 2013, St. Michael Academy is the first Catholic high school in the Little Traverse area since 1972, and Northern Michigan’s only Classical school.