BOONE, N.C. — With hopes of inspiring others’ philanthropy, Nancy and Neil Schaffel and the Murar Foundation have made a $1 million matching gift to the endowment for Appalachian State University’s An Appalachian Summer Festival. The gift will support the annual festival’s programming of music, dance, theater, film and visual arts.
“This generous gift builds on the legacy of a remarkable family who has strengthened our university arts programs in so many ways,” said App State Chancellor Sheri Everts. “This commitment establishes a strong foundation for An Appalachian Summer Festival that enables it to grow, flourish and enrich the cultural life of our campus and community for generations to come.”
An Appalachian Summer Festival is presented each July by App State’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs and annually attracts an audience of around 28,000.
“By designating this gift in support of all the arts disciplines that make the festival unique and distinctive,” the Schaffels said, “our hope is to sustain a wide range of programming geared to almost every artistic taste and preference — which has been key to the festival’s growth in recent years.”
According to Denise Ringler, director of arts engagement and cultural resources at App State, the Schaffels’ gift will match every gift to the endowment fund over a five-year period, up to $1 million total. Ringler said the gift will not only inspire other festival supporters but will move the festival significantly closer to its endowment goal of $5 million. The gift reflects the Schaffels’ lifelong passion for the fine arts, she said, and encourages others to support university arts programming.
In 2011, the longtime High Country summer residents established a successful annual music competition as part of An Appalachian Summer Festival, which promotes the careers of young and emerging classical musicians. In 2014, they established a $1.2 million endowment in support of classical music programming for the festival. In past years, Nancy Schaffel has served on the advisory board for an Appalachian Summer Festival and Neil Schaffel currently serves on the board. The couple was designated honorary alumni of the university in 2014.
The Schaffels became acquainted with the university through Nancy Schaffel’s parents, the late Muriel and Arnold Rosen, who helped establish An Appalachian Summer Festival. The Murar Foundation was created by the couple to continue the legacy of the Rosens and to support the arts programming they said has been so important to them throughout their lives.
Sound support from the Schaffels
The Schaffels also made a significant gift in support of the renovation of Rosen Concert Hall — named in honor of the Rosens — in App State’s Broyhill Music Center, home to the Hayes School of Music (HSOM).
“The Schaffels’ support for this space will benefit our students, performers and audience members for years to come,” said HSOM Dean James Douthit. “Their support and love of classical music was the primary motivation for this gift.”
Funding from the couple enabled a 2016 study of Rosen Concert Hall for the purpose of developing and enhancing the acoustical capabilities of the room.
The ensuing renovation, the first phase of which is complete, included replacing reversible wooden panels along the room’s brick wall and installing a second set of acoustic clouds — two improvements that allow artists to hear each other in greater detail, enhancing the listening experience. The second renovation phase is on hold due to the pandemic.
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About An Appalachian Summer Festival
Presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, An Appalachian Summer Festival is an annual celebration of the performing and visual arts held every July in venues across campus. The festival, which features an eclectic and diverse mix of music, dance, theater, visual arts and film programming, began in 1984 as a chamber music series and retains strong roots in classical music. It attracts 28,000 visitors to the High Country each year and has been named one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society. Learn more at https://appsummer.org.
About the Hayes School of Music
The Hayes School of Music prepares young musicians for professional lives as performers, composers, music educators, music therapists, conductors and music industry professionals, ensuring the next generation of musical leadership for the state, region and nation. Noted for quality instruction by national and internationally recognized faculty musicians, the school offers four undergraduate degree programs and three graduate-level programs. Learn more at https://music.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.