The Ilse Newell Fund for the Performing Arts
A 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization
INConcert is committed to cultural enrichment, raising awareness of the musical arts and providing support for student creative development.
only with your help can we achieve our mission to share the enjoyment of music throughout the Franklin County Bay Area on Florida's Forgotten Coast.
This is the 35th year of Ilse Newell concerts on the Forgotten Coast. The concert series is named for Ilse Newell, who moved here in the early 1980s, sang in the choir at Trinity Episcopal Church, and was active in promoting arts activities in the community.
After her untimely death in 1985, an anonymous donation of $10,000 was made in her memory, and provided the finances to establish a performing arts fund in her name.
The initial organization of the concert series was done by George Chapel, then President of the Apalachicola Area Historical Society. But it was Bedford and Eugenia Watkins who took on the challenge from the beginning and made The Ilse Newell Fund for the Performing Arts a respected and prestigious concert venue on the forgotten coast.
Bedford and Eugenia, both trained musicians, came to this area in the early 1980s after Bedford retired as Head of the Piano and Harpsichord Department at Illinois Wesleyan College. Through their leadership and vision they brought in talented musicians to perform classical and choral music, with Trinity Episcopal Church as the venue. From the beginning they kept admission prices low so the performances were affordable to everyone in the community.
By 2011 they could no longer continue in that role, and leadership of the Ilse Newell Fund was transitioned to a board of directors who continue the work today.
Today’s board members are: Rick Watson, president; Robert McMillan, vice president; Shirley Taylor, secretary; Mark Curenton, treasurer; Carol Guild, marketing: Ginny Griner, Karen Brown, Paul Brown, Liz Sisung, and Fran Edwards, board member emeritus.
Celebrating 35 years of musical concerts
Eugenia and Bedford Watkins