GENEVA – This year, St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy will honor three award recipients at their annual Dinner with the Arts event, held on Sunday, April 30 at 151 Genesee Street.  Each award winner has had a significant impact on the Academy’s past, present and future. 

Community Award for Extraordinary Support for Music and the Arts: Donna Davenport

Donna Davenport, Professor of Dance at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS), served as Dean of Faculty for St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy (SPCAA) for over four years (January 2016 to July 2020) and was an active member of the Support Board for seven years. In collaboration with the amazing Arts Academy’s administrators and faculty, Davenport renewed the Cello Studio and designed four new programs: Musical Beginnings, the Guitar Studio, String Explorers, and the Power of Dance at the Boys and Girls Club. In addition to expanding instruction, Davenport served on the Capital Campaign committee and produced two concerts at the Smith Opera House, Music and Dance Celebrations, featuring performances by talented SPCAA students and their professional teachers.

Davenport has been an active performer and choreographer for over 25 years, presenting her work primarily in Rochester, Ithaca, and Geneva, NY. At HWS, she has served as an endowed professor, four terms as Chair of the Dance Department, and as Associate Dean of Faculty and Coordinator for the Social Justice Studies and Arts & Education programs. Nationally, she has served as a Teagle 

Scholar and currently co-chairs the Think Tank for Dance in Education. In Rochester, she is co-director of Dances at MuCCC. She received her doctorate and master’s from Temple University in Philadelphia and earned undergraduate degrees (BA and BFA) in Psychology and Dance at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

Davenport served on the founding Editorial Board for the Journal of Dance Education and co-founded Artists Coalition for Change Together (ACCT) in Rochester. Currently, she teaches arts education, dance performance, improvisation, embodied activism, choreography, yoga and mindfulness. She has designed and taught courses with scholars in philosophy, music, writing & rhetoric, and studio art, including two semesters abroad in Rome, Italy, and published various articles, a book chapter, and conference proceedings. She is currently working on a textbook called The Mindful Body for college athletes and dancers.

Distinguished Alumni Award: Abigail Adams DuPrau & Meredith Beckley

This year the SPCAA Support Board gives the Distinguished Alumni Award to two former Academy students. Abigail Adams and Meredith Beckley were inspired by their mutual love of musical theater to create the first “Grand Night for Singing”, a theatrical cabaret which the choir continues to put on every tour year as a fundraiser for their trip to the UK.

Abigail Adams DuPrau has been part of St Peter’s Community Arts Academy since she was a young girl, and has been reaping its amazing benefits ever since. She was one of Wendra Trowbridge’s first voice studio students and still works with her for lessons and auditions. Her passion for Musical Theatre inspired her and Meredith Beckley to create the first ‘Grand Night for Singing’ cabaret, which the choir still puts on every tour year as a fundraiser. Abby further gave back to the Academy by organizing and performing in multiple musical theatre revues, the most recent being the ‘Broadway Princess Revue’ which was a successful fundraiser.

Though Abby now works with an Investment Firm in Pittsford, NY, she continues to pursue theatre and has had private training with some renowned Broadway stars such as Laura Osnes, Beth Leavel, Carrie St. Louis, and Nancy Opel. Some of Abby’s favorite roles she has played in area productions include Princess Fiona in “Shrek the Musical”, Inga in “Young Frankenstein”, Ulla in “The Producers”, and Fastrada in “Pippin”. She can next be seen this June playing Roxie Hart in SCP’s production of “Chicago” for the second time – a role she is thrilled to be playing.

Music has been part of Meredith Beckley’s life for as long as she can remember. She started piano lessons when she was 7 with Jewel Hara, her choir director at St. Michael’s Antiochian Orthodox Church. At age 9 she studied voice with Meredith Hudson through Hobart and William Smith

Colleges music department. 

Meredith sang with St Peter’s Community Choir and took private voice lessons with Wendy Trowbridge. She was part of the first choir to tour England; an unforgettable experience. 

Being involved in her community is important to Meredith Beckley. She is a member of “So Noted”, an A Capella group of local musicians. She recently fulfilled a lifelong dream of music directing and playing piano for RENT. This summer she will be working with Theatre444 as music director for “Alice By Heart”.  

In addition, she provides piano accompaniment for Geneva Middle School Chorus and plays in the pit orchestra for Geneva High School as well as other area schools. Meredith currently works as a Psychiatric Registered Nurse at Seneca Community Counseling Center providing care to patients seeking treatment for addiction and other mental health disorders. Meredith is proud to be an alumnus and is forever grateful to St Peter’s Community Arts Academy. She made lifelong friends there, some of which she still performs with today.

St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy offers lessons and performances in choirs, piano, violin, cello, organ, voice, dance and guitar for all ages and now serves more than 300 students from 16 area schools in a five-county area in large part due to the dedicated core of instructors and staff, all of whom are professionals in their field. Embracing its theme of “Arts for All,” the St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy is open to students of all ages and levels of skill regardless of financial means or religious affiliation. For donations or more information, check


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