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City news, 29.12.2003 16:38

Beatle-funded school playground opens

Paul McCartney McCartney gave $5,000 to boarding school No. 38 after his visit to St. Petersburg in May. The school is located at 20/75 Rastannya Ulitsa. The playground is due to open Friday.

McCartney came to the city at the invitation of Anthea Eno, wife of musician Brian Eno, to officially inaugurate the work of a charity, the Menshikov Foundation.

"We actually flew into St. Petersburg," McCartney was quoted recently as saying by Britain's Observer newspaper.

"Anthea has links there, and after Brian did a masterclass at my old school, LIPA, she said I should do a master class there," McCartney said. "So when we started talking about Russia, I told the promoters I wanted to link in Anthea's offer to do a master class and cut the ribbon at an orphanage called the Menshikov Foundation."

McCartney's visit to the city also took in the State Hermitage Museum and the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, where he was presented with a certificate expressing the conservatory's wish to make him an honorary doctorate - though he has not yet been granted the actual honor.

Vsevolod Gakkel, the head of the local branch of the Menshikov Foundation, said McCartney was impressed by a performance that the boarding school's students gave to him. The brief concert included his piano piece "A Leaf" performed by student Katya Veselova and "Celebration" from his 1997 classical work "Standing Stone" sung by the school's choir. The foundation is a U.K. charity that operates in St. Petersburg to help musically gifted, but deprived children.

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