Fonza to receive George M. Irwin Lifetime Achievement Award during Arts Quincy gala


Les Fonza | Photo courtesy of Arts Quincy

QUINCY — Musical educator and Quincy native Les Fonza will be awarded the George M. Irwin Lifetime Achievement Award for Music and Performing Arts during Arts Quincy’s 75th anniversary gala on Saturday, Dec. 10.

The award is in recognition of a lifetime of commitment and dedication to excellence in music education and performance in the Quincy community and surrounding area.

In a press release, Arts Quincy executive director Laura Sievert said, “It’s our honor and privilege to acknowledge Mr. Fonza with our most prestigious honor. Les has made an incredible mark on Quincy’s young musicians and has continued to share his gifts with his hometown.”

Fonza is a 1963 graduate of Quincy High School. He served in the military and earned a degree in music education from Western Illinois University. He started his teaching career in Dwight, then taught in Jacksonville before joining the music faculty at QHS in 1988 following Eddie Allen as the director of Quincy High School band.

Following is a list of some of the ensembles and organizations Fonza has been a part of:

  • Quincy Public Schools
  • Quincy Symphony Orchestra
  • Quincy Concert Band
  • Quincy Park Band
  • Quincy Community Theatre Pit Orchestras
  • Illinois Missouri Men’s Chorus
  • The Hannibal Rivermen
  • Ben Bumbry and the Messengers
  • Big River Swing Machine
  • Quincy All-Star Clarinet Choir
  • Bullis Rutter Big Band
  • Steward for Bethel AME Church Choir
  • Steward for Bethel
  • Jacksonville Symphony

The George M. Irwin Lifetime Achievement Award is sponsored by WGEM, the Quincy Herald-Whig and
the Oakley-Lindsay Foundation along with the businesses and individual members of Arts Quincy.

Arts Quincy was founded in 1947 as America’s first community arts council. It has been committed to increasing fine arts access for Adams County and the surrounding area for more than 70 years. The organization promotes and supports music, dance, visual arts, theater, literacy, history and humanities programs year-round.

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