Eclectic musical groups to celebrate Esther Chester’s legacy
Esther Chester left a legacy of music, love and art. Her musical instrument series of paintings garnered the attention of Bill Clinton, who was given her painting of a saxophone for his Manhattan penthouse.
On Feb. 16, at the age of 94, Esther Chester left behind her husband, Sam, and her lasting legacy. On Tuesday, April 24, she will be remembered and celebrated with a memorial concert at Toll Gate High School.
After Esther died, Sam reached out to friend Anne Siesel, Warwick’s public school curriculum director, who came to know the Chesters when they donated several of Esther’s paintings to Toll Gate.
Sam asked Siesel if she could plan a memorial concert for his late wife.
“There have been other groups that have done concerts in her honor, but this is a true memorial concert with groups she was involved in,” said Siesel.
The concert, free to the public, will include performances from the Chopin Club, Music Mansion musicians, opera singers, Toll Gate bands and chorale and Winman chorale. There will also be student artwork on display.
Siesel asked that all of the pieces being performed or displayed be based on Esther’s personality.
“Whatever they did should speak to Esther’s character and her work,” said Siesel, who has been busy bringing together performers for the concert.
The night will culminate with a performance by Sam Chester, who will play a song he wrote for and about his wife on his violin. While he’s playing, Temple Am David’s Rabbi Richard Perlman will read a poem he wrote about Esther.
“Goosebumps, goosebumps!” said Siesel.
In addition to the performance, lithographs of Esther’s artwork will be on sale in the lobby of the school’s auditorium. Signed lithographs will be sold for $100 and unsigned for $50.
Proceeds from the lithographs will go directly to arts programs in Warwick.
All of the performers are donating their time and talents. The space, equipment and setup is being donated by Toll Gate and Winman Junior High.
“They’re very gracious,” said Siesel. “It’s wonderful.”
Although formal attire isn’t required, Siesel suggests that everyone wear something that sparkles.
“Esther loved everything that sparkled,” said Siesel. “We’ll be ‘blinging.’”
The concert will take place on Tuesday, April 24 at 7 p.m. at the Toll Gate High School Auditorium. Admission is free.