Emily Bear

Emily Bear

The Ardee Awards, which recognize local excellence in the arts, will be presented at the 8th annual Fete Oct. 22 at Mayo Civic Center.

The evening will include a performance by Emily Bear, a Los Angeles-based pianist and composer.

Unlike in previous years, there will be no sit-down dinner served. Instead, attendees with VIP tickets will be invited to a reception with hors d'oeuvres, wine, and meet-and-greet session with Bear at Rochester Civic Theatre. The main program, including Bear's performance, will be in H.W. Mayo Presentation Hall at the civic center.

The changes in the format were based in part on feedback from attendees in previous years, said Bari Amadio, of the Arts and Cultural Trust, which puts on the event.

"People said they didn't care about the meal, but they liked the entertainment and seeing the winners," Amadio said.

"Plus, with somebody of Emily's caliber, it doesn't work in a ballroom," she said. "Really, Presentation Hall was the only place we could have it."

The Ardee Awards are named in honor of former Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede, who was a strong supporter of the arts during his 16 years in office. 

This year's recipients:

-- Mayor's Award for Public Art: Art4Trails

-- Excellence in Arts Education: Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestras

-- Outstanding Youth in Arts: Emily Lin Deng

-- Outstanding Greater Rochester Arts: Winona Symphony Orchestra

-- Outstanding Artist: Doug Sween

-- Outstanding Champion for the Arts: John Sievers

-- Outstanding Community Partnership for the Arts: Mayo Clinic

-- Leadership in the Arts: Jere Lantz

Bear, 18, was a child prodigy who at age 5 was the youngest performer ever to take the stage at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago. At age 6, she appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres TV program (and has returned regularly) and performed at the White House.

She was mentored by Quincy Jones, who produced her first album, "Diversity," in 2013. In 2017, she was the youngest performer in the history of the Night of the Proms tour of Europe.

Bear's music ranges from classical to jazz to modern pop. She performs solo and with large symphony orchestras.

Although Bear lists Rockford, Ill., as her hometown, her father, Dr. Brian Bear, trained as a hand surgeon at Mayo Clinic, and her mother, Andrea Bear, performed as the narrator in the Rochester Civic Theatre production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

The VIP reception is from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., with the program starting at 7 p.m.

What's your reaction?