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CSU announces Coke as Spivey Hall sponsor

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

While some people want to buy the world a Coke, the Coca-Cola Company wants to buy several future years of success for Clayton State University's Spivey Hall, the Morrow-based school has announced.

The university recently announced the Atlanta-based soft drink company has signed up to be a corporate sponsor of Spivey Hall's Twentieth Anniversary Season. Through the partnership, the Coca-Cola Company's sponsorship will be used to support performances, history projects, and improve some of the equipment at the nearly 20-year-old concert hall, which is located on Clayton State's main campus, in Morrow.

University officials, in a written statement, pointed out the Coca-Cola Company was a founding donor in the campaign to build Spivey Hall in the late 1980's. The concert hall opened on Jan. 23, 1991, with a concert performed by renowned violinist, Itzhak Perlman.

It's current concert season has been dubbed Spivey Hall's "Twentieth Anniversary Season" by officials at the concert hall, and at Clayton State.

"I am delighted and sincerely grateful that the long relationship between Spivey Hall and The Coca-Cola Company has been strengthened and rekindled through this sponsorship," said Spivey Hall Executive Director, Sam Dixon, in a written statement.

"As a founding donor of Spivey Hall, The Coca-Cola Company helped make access to first-rate classical, jazz, and world music possible for millions of people in Georgia and across the country," Dixon added.

The sponsorship will directly pay for the Jupiter String Quartet's "Project Jupiter" residency at Spivey Hall, a 10-panel retrospective display on Spivey Hall's history, due to open in January 2011, and the purchase of a new concert grand piano, the university has announced.

"Our $10,000 donation will be in the form of a sponsorship, which will be used to sustain the musical excellence at Spivey Hall," said Wanda Yancey, the director of communications for the Coca-Cola Company. She later added "Coca-Cola has a strong history of supporting arts programs. We have sponsored the National Black Arts Festival, the [Atlanta] Symphony Orchestra, and the Atlanta History Center.

"We believe it helps to make the community more vibrant," Yancey continued.

"Project Jupiter" is a three-year residency by the Boston-based Jupiter String Quartet, which is conducting music education outreach programs, focusing on string chamber music, at Spivey Hall, and at schools in Clayton, Henry and Fayette counties.

The retrospective display will highlight concerts given by international artists and ensembles, including the Spivey Hall Children's Choir, at Spivey Hall during its first 20 years, according to the university's press release on the Coca-Cola sponsorship. It will be a full-color display located in the concert hall's lobby.

The sponsorship will also put money into the Friends of Spivey Hall Piano Fund, which was begun with a financial gift from the Chaparral Foundation, according to the university. The fund has been set up to purchase a new Steinway grand piano for visiting artists to use during concerts at Spivey Hall, Clayton State announced in its press release on the sponsorship.

The university did not reveal how much the new piano would cost in its press release on the Coca-Cola sponsorship, and a Spivey Hall spokesperson could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

The Coca-Cola sponsorship, along with financial gifts from the Friends of Spivey Hall, will lead to the anticipated arrival of the new piano, later in the season, the university has announced.

"Our Twentieth Anniversary Season sponsorship reinforces our commitment to serve people of all ages through fine music, and to extend our tradition of artistic excellence as Spivey Hall enters its third decade," Dixon said.