GPAC in the NEWS

GPAC Announces $40,280 in Grants to Local Performing Groups and School-based Arts Programs

Germantown TN, August 20, 2019 --- GPAC has awarded $40,280 in grants to local performing arts groups and school-based arts programs located in the City of Germantown. The GPAC Arts Grant program is one component of the GPAC Arts Education Fund, which provides support for several arts education programs, some scholarships and the arts grants. “The purpose of the GPAC Arts Grant is to support arts-focused programs in Germantown, consistent with our belief that the arts strengthen communities,” says Parke Kennedy, GPAC’s Director of Development.

Grants are awarded through a competitive grant-making process emphasizing innovative arts experiences, artist support, public and private partnerships, comprehensive planning procedures, and financial stability.  Applications are scored by a diverse panel of citizens and artists/arts educators representing a variety of genres. As the grant administrator, GPAC does not participate in the scoring. Grant panel meetings are open to the public. The grant program is overseen by Kennedy and GPAC’s Programming Director, Emily Hefley. 

The recipients of the FY20 GPAC Arts Education Grants are:

Farmington Footlights Booster Club                      

Germantown Community Chorus                          

Germantown Community Theater             

Germantown Orchestra Parent Group                  

GHS Fine Arts Department                         

Germantown Symphony Orchestra                       

Houston Band Boosters

Houston High School Theater Boosters                 

Houston Middle School Band Boosters                  

Iris Orchestra, Inc.                                     

Madonna Learning Center                         

Memphis Oral School for the Deaf            

Poplar Pike Arts Guild                                            

Riverdale Raider Theater

 GPAC will accept applications for FY21 GPAC Arts Grants in July of 2020.


For over a decade, the City of Germantown provided $40,000 to the Germantown Arts Alliance with the understanding those funds would be distributed as grants to performing arts groups and school-based arts programs located in the City of Germantown. In January of 2016, the Germantown Arts Alliance ceased operations and transferred their grant-making efforts to GPAC. Committed to careful stewardship of City funds, GPAC embraced the creation of an arts grant-making program, established guidelines and criteria consistent with Tennessee Arts Commission standards, developed an online application system, and created a grant-awarding process.

 The GPAC Arts Grant program is operated under the umbrella of the GPAC Arts Education Fund. For more information or to donate to the Arts Education Fund, please contact Parke Kennedy at (901) 751-7505 or

Germantown Performing Arts Center is located at 1801 Exeter Rd. in Germantown TN, 38138. Box office hours are Monday through Friday 10am – 5pm and three hours prior to performances on weekends.

Germantown Youth Symphony Member Monica Fleck Appointed to the United States Naval Academy and Selected to the All-National Orchestra Among Many Other Accomplishments

Hutchison Graduate Credits Youth Symphony for Helping her Build Skills Needed to Excel Academically and Musically

MEMPHIS, TENN., June 11, 2018 – Germantown Youth Symphony Class of 2018 graduate Monica Fleck’s academic excellence and musical prowess has earned her numerous awards and recognitions as well as an appointment to the United States Naval Academy. The 2018 graduate of the Hutchison School has been with the Germantown Youth Symphony since 2011 and credits her participation in the program with helping her develop the skills and work ethic necessary to excel.

An accomplished musician, Fleck began her musical studies at age three and plays the violin and viola, dances ballet and sings. She has been recognized with eight All-West berths and five All-State berths in Choir, Violin, and Viola, and was also selected to the All-National Orchestra in Viola Performance. She is frequently selected to play for award ceremonies, chapel events and in the orchestra for school musicals at Hutchison. Fleck has participated in Ballet Memphis's Junior Company since 2012 and was recognized with Ballet Memphis’s prestigious Louise Rooke Merit Award. 

“Music has been such a big part of my entire life and being part of the Germantown Youth Symphony Program has helped me realize some incredible goals and better prepared me for my future,” says Fleck. “I have learned so much about what it really takes to set a goal and work towards it, make sacrifices, balance priorities, and lean on others for support. I am excited and anxious about what comes next, but I am more confident in myself because of everything I have learned and experienced.”

Fleck’s commitment to excellence extends beyond her passion for music. Academically, she has received numerous honor society nominations as well as College Board awards, including the National AP Scholar award, and she was a Candidate for the United States Presidential Scholars Program. Fleck graduated from Hutchison with honors certificates in both Arts and Sciences and received special recognition for achieving the highest overall GPA during her senior year, as well as the highest overall GPA throughout her high school career. She will be accepting an appointment to the United States Naval Academy where she will continue her orchestral studies while majoring in Aerospace Engineering.

“In addition to providing a sense of community, the Germantown Youth Symphony Program also pushes students to keep improving,” says Emily Hefley, Programming Manager and GPAC Youth Symphony Director. “The program emphasizes the importance of training and provides them a solid foundation to help them be successful.”

Monica Fleck at the National Association for Music Education All-National Honor Ensemble

Monica Fleck at the National Association for Music Education All-National Honor Ensemble

Germantown Performing Arts Center Names Two Pu-Qi Jiang Excellence in Music Winners

MEMPHIS, TENN., May 14, 2018 – Germantown Performing Arts Center (GPAC) has reconized two oustanding local high school students as Pu-Qi Jiang Excellence in Music winners for the first time in the history of the award. Named in honor of the Germantown Youth Symphony Orchestra’s (GYSO) founding music director and conductor, the annual scholarship is awarded to a rising senior student who displays excellence in talent, musicianship, attendance, dedication, ability to work with an ensemble, and overall personality and attitude.

“We are incredibly proud of our youth symphony orchestra members and their commitment to being positive role models in the orchestra and the community,” said Emily Hefley, Programming Manager at Germantown Performing Arts Center. “There are so many amazing young people in the group. We were honored to be able to recognize two winners this year instead of just one.”

The 2018 award winners represent the best and brightest of the Germantown Youth Symphony Orchestra:

  • Jeffrey Huddleston II attends Overton High School and was the youngest member to join the youth symphony at the age of 10. Huddleston is always fully prepared for rehearsals and frequently asks the music director for suggested practices in extended techniques: from developing his ear and perfect pitch, to help on solos, or helpful scales to use while soloing over a jazz chart.

  • Ginny Paige Velasquez attends Faith Heritage Academy and is frequently selected to represent the Youth Symphony in civic engagements because of her poise and grace. Velasquez consistently demonstrates dedication, musicianship, and talent, both in and out of rehearsals. She is responsible and always helpful, often staying after rehearsal to help clean up or perform other needed tasks.

Pictured (from left to right): Ginny Paige Velasquez, Jonathan Schallert (Music Director), Jeffrey Huddleston II

Pictured (from left to right): Ginny Paige Velasquez, Jonathan Schallert (Music Director), Jeffrey Huddleston II

GPAC Accepting Applications for Arts Grants

Deadline June 29 - Grant Workshop May 15.

MEMPHIS, TENN., May 8, 2018 – Germantown Performing Arts Center (GPAC) is now accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2019 Arts Grants for Germantown schools and nonprofits. The application deadline is June 29, 2018. Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to attend a free workshop on May 15 as this is a competitive grant process. Application and guidelines for the Arts Grants are available on the GPAC website at

“The City of Germantown and GPAC are deeply invested in fostering an environment in which art and culture flourish for the benefit all residents and visitors,” said Emily Hefley, Programming Manager at Germantown Performing Arts Center. “These grants give organizations that are dedicated to developing the arts in this community support to help them achieve their goals.”

GPAC Arts Grant Funds are earmarked for projects by Germantown-based schools and nonprofits devoted to strengthening the arts in the community by:

  • Engaging students, residents and community members with exciting and innovative arts experiences

  • Cultivating new partnerships between organizations for one project

  • Further developing current arts projects by contracting professional artists

Since 2016, the fund has awarded more than $85,000 to 15 different schools and nonprofits.

GPAC is offering a free grant workshop on May 15 from 10 to 11 a.m. where interested applicants can learn about the most recent changes to this program. Applications will be reviewed and scored by a panel composed of arts professionals with knowledge and experience in the arts, schools and non-profit sector. Grantees will be notified of the results on August 10, 2018.

Important Dates:

Application Deadline - June 29, 2018, 5 p.m. to Parke Kennedy at  

Grant Workshop - Tuesday, May 15, 10-11 a.m. Interested participants should RSVP to Emily Hefley at

Previous Arts Grant recipients include:

  • Germantown Middle School’s “The Sky Is the Limit!” which included a performance by High Expectations Aerial Arts (High Expectations) as well as programming by Playback Memphis. GMS seeks to create a mutually safe, productive, and rigorous environment which facilitates the development of the whole child and promotes life-long learning.

  • Memphis Oral School for the Deaf’s Do Ri Mi Music Therapy Program, which provides weekly music therapy to preschoolers with hearing loss that enhances their listening skills and speech and language development.

  • Riverdale Elementary Art School Arts Program which includes a Visiting Author program, Cultural Arts Events, and Theater/Music Performances.

To learn more visit:

GPAC Names Watkins Studio Theater In Honor of Longtime Supporters Jeanette and William H. Watkins Jr.

MEMPHIS, TENN., April 26, 2018 – Germantown Performing Arts Center (GPAC), recently announced the naming of its black box theater as the Watkins Studio Theater in honor of longtime supporters and Germantown residents Jeanette and William H. Watkins, Jr. The entrance to the theater will receive a capital investment and environmental refresh along with the name change.

“We are humbled and honored to recognize two longtime supporters of GPAC by naming the primary arts education space the Watkins Studio Theater, dedicated to Jeanette and Bill Watkins,” said Paul Chandler, Executive Director Germantown Performing Arts Center. “Jeanette and Bill have made this community a better place. This dedication is our way of honoring and thanking them for their commitment and unending support of the arts and arts education.”

William H. Watkins Jr. has served on the GPAC board, and together the couple with their family has supported GPAC and arts education in the community for more than 20 years. The Watkins Studio Theater will be the home of the popular Jazz in the Box series and GPAC’s education programs, including the celebrated music education program, Peanut Butter and Jam, after school ballet classes, the GPAC Youth Symphony Program, summer arts camps, master classes, ArtSavvy, and pre-concert conversations with both IRIS Orchestra and Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

Located in the northwest corner of the GPAC facility, the Watkins Studio Theater’s lobby and entrance area will receive significant enhancements, with capital upgrades scheduled this summer, including modernized wall finishes, seating, restrooms, and signage. The area will be more accessible, comfortable, and user-friendly for patrons, parents, and others using the theater.

2018 / 2019 Jazz in the Box Schedule in the Watkins Studio Theater

September 21, 2018 - Johnny O’Neal Trio
October 19, 2018 - Sinne Eeg
November 16, 2018 - Johnny Hughes Trio
January 18, 2019 - Debbie Duncan
February 22, 2019 - Kevin Bales
March 22, 2019 - Anthony Wilson

GPAC Announces Individual Season Tickets Starting at $15 for the 2018 – 2019 Season On Sale Now

Individual tickets start at $15 and go on sale April 11 for Germantown Performing Arts Center’s 24th season which includes Bobby McFerrin, Shawn Colvin, the new Center Stage Series, the return of Ballet Memphis to the GPAC stage for the first time in 15 years, and much more.

MEMPHIS, TENN., April 11, 2018 – Germantown Performing Arts Center (GPAC) announced today that individual season tickets for the 2018-2019 season inside the Duncan-Williams Performance Hall start at $15 and go on sale Wednesday, April 11. The $15 price point is expected to make the arts and GPAC more easily accessible to a broader segment of the community. For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact the Box Office at 901-751-7500 or visit

“We are very excited to be able to offer the community individual tickets to our 2018 – 2019 season starting at just $15 and we hope to see a lot of new arts lovers inside the Duncan-Williams performance hall this season. For more than 24 years, GPAC’s goal has been to present the highest quality artistic endeavors that showcase the many different aspects of the performing arts to educate, engage, enrich and transform our audiences,” said Paul Chandler, Executive Director of Germantown Performing Arts Center. “Part of that commitment is growing our regional partners by inviting groups like Ballet Memphis to be part of our performance season, creating new programs like the Center Stage Series, and expanding our physical presence, all to appeal to a wider audience.”

The GPAC 2018 – 2019 season offers something for everyone from the American Music Series, featuring masters and up-and-coming artists showcasing a diverse range of American music, to the Jazz Series, featuring a diverse group of artists showcasing their individual styles of jazz, to the Center Stage Series, an innovative program designed to explore the finest in international touring performing artists in dance, theater, world music, and experimental genres.

The American Music Series

The American Music Series kicks off the 2018-2019 season with an opening night headline performance by superstar Bobby McFerrin, the artist behind the global hit song “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” The series continues with Take Me To The River New Orleans, which celebrates the musical history, heritage and legacy of one of our most unique cultural jewels, New Orleans; Bela Fleck, Zakir, Hussain, and Edgar Myer, three masterful genre-benders and leading virtuosos moving with ease among the worlds of classical, bluegrass, and world music; Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver with Flatt Lonesome, bluegrass legends paired with new and progressive pickers; and Shawn Colvin, a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter whose songs are a slow-release of craft and catharsis that become treasured, lifetime companions for their listeners.

The Jazz Series

The Jazz Series features arguably jazz’s greatest patriarch Ellis Marsalis; Memphis saxophonist Charles Lloyd & The Marvels; innovative jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch and his Pocket Orchestra; Jazzmeia Horn, jazz singer and winner of the Thelonius Monk Institute Competition and the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition; and the jazz series finale, the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour.

The Center Stage Series

The Center Stage Series is an innovative program designed to explore the finest in international touring performing artists in dance, theater, world music, and experimental genres to include: Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan, a mesmerizing, spectacular, fabulous show of poets, troubadours, musicians, dancers and fakir (fire eater) from the country of Maharajas; the Soweto Gospel Choir, under the direction of Beverly Bryer; the iconic dance troupe Dorrane Dance, led by 2015 MacArthur Fellow Michelle Dorrance, pushing the artistic boundaries of tap as both dance and music; and concludes with a Ballet Memphis performance of a “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” combining comedy, theatrics, and dance, marking the return of Ballet Memphis to GPAC following a 15 year hiatus.

GPAC 2018-2019 Season

September 15, 2018 - Bobby McFerrin
September 28, 2018 - Charles Lloyd & The Marvels
October 5, 2018 - Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan
October 20, 2018 - Take Me to the River: New Orleans
November 2, 2018 - Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer & Zakir Hussein
November 4, 2018 - Soweto Gospel Choir
November 10, 2018 - Ellis Marsalis Quintet
January 11, 2019 - Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver with Flatt Lonesome
January 12, 2019 - Fred Hersch Pocket Orchestra
January 26, 2019 - Dorrance Dance
February 2, 2019 - Jazzmeia Horn
March 30, 2019 - Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour
March 1, 2019 - Shawn Colvin
May 4, 2019 - Ballet Memphis: Midsummer Night's Dream

In addition to individual show tickets, GPAC offers whole season subscriptions, series packages, and Flex Passes. Individual show tickets, season subscriptions and series packages are available for purchase online or by calling the box office at 901-751-7500. Flex Passes, which allow guests to choose four or more shows and save 20%, are only available by calling the box office.

Master Chef José Gutierrez and Germantown Mayor Mike Palazzolo Cooking Up a Great Performance at GPAC 2018 Annual Gala Celebrating Culinary Arts

As event Co-Chairman, Chef José Gutierrez will orchestrate a one-of-a-kind gourmet meal served on the GPAC Stage at the Duncan Williams Performance Hall to help raise funds to support the continuation of world-class performance and arts education at GPAC.

MEMPHIS, TENN., March 13, 2018 – Germantown Performing Arts Center supporters will enjoy a treat like no other at the 2018 GPAC Gala celebrating the culinary arts April 7, 2018 as co-chairs Germantown Mayor Mike Palazzolo and world-renowned Master Chef, José Gutierrez orchestrate a one-of-a-kind culinary arts celebration complete with a gourmet meal specially designed for this event by Chef Gutierrez and served on the GPAC stage, a culinary cocktail hour, big band entertainment, an awards presentation, a live auction, and much more.

“I am honored and very excited to have been paired with Mayor Palazzolo to chair such an amazing and important event to help fund arts and education in Germantown. This is going to be an incredible evening and an unforgettable experience on the GPAC stage for all of us,” said Chef José Gutierrez, Event Co-Chair and owner of River Oaks Restaurant.

Proceeds from the event fund the world-class performances and arts education program for the Germantown Performing Arts Center, a 501(c)3 organization. Individual tickets to the GPAC 2018 Gala celebrating the culinary arts are $250 and can be purchased by calling GPAC at 901-751-7500. Those interested in sponsoring this incredible event may contact Parke Kennedy, Director of Development at or 901-751-7505.

“I am humbled to join Chef Gutierrez as co-chair of such an important event, highlighting two significant elements of our city – the arts and the culinary industry. As an active member of the GPAC board and the Germantown community, I am deeply invested in the future of entertainment and the arts in our community,” said Event Co-Chair Mayor Mike Palazzolo.

The delicious, starry night itinerary will include, but is not limited to:

  • Sumptuous gourmet meal on the main stage, personally prepared by world-renowned Master Chef José Gutierrez

  • Signature cocktails created by in-house master mixologist Brad Pitts

  • Cocktail tasting sponsored by Old Dominick Distillery

  • Culinary Cocktail Hour featuring fun food conversations and demonstrations by Memphis favorites, including Justin Fox Burks (The Chubby Vegetarian), Ryan Trimm (Sweet Grass), NoraLee Bowles (Simply Delicious) and Jesse Crittendon (Villages at Germantown)

  • Full bar with cocktails, champagne, wine, and beer

  • Presentation of the 2018 Chairman's Award and Patron of the Arts Award

  • Live Auction with auctioneer Jeff Morris, Owner of Morris Realty & Auction Group

  • Raise Your Hand for Education fundraiser benefitting the GPAC Arts Education Fund

  • Live entertainment for guests to dance the night away

“We are very excited to have Mayor Palazzolo and Chef Gutierrez chairing the 2018 GPAC Gala celebrating the culinary arts on April 7. The gala is always a wonderful event for GPAC as well as the Germantown community and provides a great way for supporters to enjoy an excellent meal by one of the best chefs in the country in the unique and special environment of the GPAC stage while raising money for performance and arts education in our community,” said Paul Chandler, Executive Director of Germantown Performing Arts Center.