‘Mr. Music’ to receive arts award
The 16th-annual Arts and Cultural Heritage Arrowhead Arts Awards celebration will take place tomorrow (May 30) from 6-8 p.m. at the Backus Community Center in International Falls.
During this ceremony, the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council will present the Maddie Simons Arts Advocate Award to regional musician and teacher John Faith, who has made significant contributions to the arts in the Arrowhead Region.
He has spent his career teaching music, band, orchestra, giving lessons, and developing an exceptional commitment to both students and the community.
Faith started his music career performing across the U.S. and Europe in the U.S. Navy band, which played for such dignitaries as John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, U.S. vice-presidents Humphrey and Mondale, and the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.
Since 1970, he has been teaching music at the International Falls Public School, as well as being heavily-involved in bringing music to the community through performing, teaching classes, arranging concerts, and bringing in outside performances.
Faith has been a member of such groups as the Rainy Lake Community Orchestra, the Borderline Community Orchestra, the Fort Frances City Band, and other musical ensembles.
He also served as president of the Backus Community Center.
Faith’s advocacy for the arts is well-documented–one example being his work to preserve and save two historic school buildings in the community (the Alexander Baker School and the E.W. Backus Jr. High School) from being demolished.
He and his colleagues formed a non-profit corporation and purchased the buildings in 2002, with the goal of restoring them as a center for the performing arts (now the Backus Community Center).
Throughout his career, Faith has inspired and influenced many while having never sought out or coveted any recognition for his work.
He has devoted countless hours of his own time with music lessons, and has purchased musical instruments for students with his own funds.
Faith’s passion for music, teaching, mentoring, and performing continues to have an impact to this day on thousands of people in Koochiching County and beyond.