Duane Foster | St. Louis Public Radio

Duane Foster

Normandy High School teacher Duane Foster said it was a luxury to spend seven weeks of this school year in the off-Broadway production of "Angtigone in Ferguson."
Gregg Richards | Theater of War Productions

Normandy teacher Duane Foster recently returned from an unusual sabbatical: a role in an off-Broadway production of “Antigone in Ferguson.”

Foster made his New York debut in “Ragtime” 20 years ago, then came home to St. Louis in 2006 and became the theater and music teacher at Normandy High School. Performing in the chorus and as a soloist in “Antigone” for seven weeks in August and September provided a long-awaited chance to return to the stage.

Now, in his second week back in St. Louis, Foster is working to translate his recent New York experience into projects that will benefit his students.

The St. Louis Classical Guitar Society wants to help the Ferguson healing process, one guitar at a time.

Through grants, the Ferguson Guitar Initiative is donating guitars and lessons to fifth- and sixth-grade students in the Normandy and Ferguson-Florissant school districts starting next week.

Timothy O'Leary, left, Duane Foster and Jermaine Smith discuss #WithNormandy, Sunday's community concert at Normandy High School.
Erin Williams / Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

“We are all one in song,” said Duane Foster, which is the idea behind Sunday’s #WithNormandy: A Concert for Peace and Unity.

The Normandy High School Choir, directed by fine arts teacher Foster, will participate in the concert at the school, along with an all-star cast of performers that includes Denyce Graves, Christine Brewer, Julia Bullock, Erika Johnson, Derrell Acon and Jermaine Smith.