Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester


Conservatory to Celebrate its Own Along with Stars at Golf & Tennis Classic

Monday, May 22, 2017

On June 26, the Music Conservatory of Westchester will hold a star-studded awards dinner following its 16th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Fame icon Darlene Love and Academy Award-nominated actor Chazz Palminteri. Yet, it’s two members within the not-for-profit community music school’s community who arguably might be the biggest stars of the show.

 

Darlene Love

 

Gianna & Chazz Palminteri

Laurence Keiser, who joined the Conservatory’s board in 2000 and currently serves as its Vice President, will receive the White Plains’ organization’s Distinguished Leadership Award for his years of service. “He is incredibly generous in every way, supporting our mission, serving as Vice President, and connecting us to important community resources,” Jean Newton, the organization’s executive director, said.

“My philosophy may differ from that of some of my fellow board members, but we respect each other’s positions for the good of the Conservatory. I greatly respect the talents and dedication of those with whom I work,” Keiser said.

 

Laurence Keiser


And while he's “humbled” by receiving the honor, the White Plains resident stressed “I don’t do what I do for recognition. I do it out of love of music and this institution.”

Speaking of a love of music, Alice Cabral of Hawthorne will also have a big night on June 26. The 12-year-old voice student has shared her love of music with the Conservatory, and has honed her skills there since 2013. She will be the first recipient of the Darlene Love Vocal Scholarship that evening.

“Our Scholarship Program breaks down financial barriers, giving every student a chance to fulfill their musical dreams,” Newton said.  “Alice exemplifies this – she’s a dedicated, talented student and a wonderful young person.  We’re so proud of her.”

 

Alice Cabral


So is Alice’s mom Elsa Cabral.  “It is an honor and a privilege to receive this scholarship under the name of Darlene Love. Alice is a very capable girl, she is persistent and responsible. I always tell her that with hard work, she can make her dreams come true.”

She continued, “I extend my thanks to the Music Conservatory. Thank you very much for believing in her and giving her this great opportunity.”

Keiser and Cabral are part of a big evening for the Conservatory. Love will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for her career in the arts. Chazz and wife Gianna will receive the Arts Achievement and Community Leadership Award for their extensive film and theatre credits, charitable work, and arts advocacy.

Performances by Tony-celebrated artists will follow the awards ceremony.  Two-time Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis will emcee and perform along with Tony nominees Robert Cuccioli and Mary Bridget Davies. Tony winner Adriane Lenox will also perform.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the school’s Music Therapy Institute, which provides music programs for those with special needs, its Healing Our Heroes program which provides music therapy for returning military veterans, and its Scholarship program for low-income students.

To purchase tickets or sponsorships, visit www.mcwevents.org. For more information or to schedule an interview with any of the honorees or performers, please contact Jon Chattman at jonchattman@gmail.com.

 

Save the Date for an Amazing Night!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


We are thrilled to announce
that on June 26, the Music Conservatory of Westchester will hold a star-studded awards ceremony in which it will honor Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend, Darlene Love, and Oscar-nominated star of screen and stage, Chazz Palminteri and his wife Gianna Palminteri. It will also award a longtime member of our board of trustees, Laurence Keiser, for his leadership.

Following the awards presentation, a cabaret performance of Tony Award - celebrated artists will light up the night. This is an event you won't want to miss!

Conservatory Included in Westchester Toyota's 22nd Give Back Campaign

Tuesday, February 28, 2017
The Music Conservatory of Westchester is honored to be included in Westchester Toyota's 22nd Annual Give Back Campaign this year. We've previously been fortunate to win this, and it'd mean the world of us to win this again and use the funds toward our scholarship program! Please see below on how to vote or CLICK HERE! Thank you.

Keys to Success: Conservatory Student Sets Record at Fundraising Event

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Ailey Ann Simon performed “Silent Night” at the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s Performathon, a biennial fundraising event in which students perform and compete for prizes by getting family and friends to sponsor them.  In the weeks leading up to the Dec. 10 fundraiser and marathon day of recitals, the nine-year-old piano student from Elmsford was quite vocal in trying to raise enough money to secure the event’s grand prize of a Petrof Upright Piano.

“It takes a village,” Hartsdale’s Marian Richardson said with a smile, noting that her granddaughter was relentless in approaching family members, friends, and parishioners at her church to sponsor her performance.  That hard work eventually paid off - literally. Ailey raised $1,260 – a record in Performathon’s ten year history – and the young girl took home her very first piano. 

“It takes a village...” 

In total, the event, which featured over 200 students performing, netted $6,129. Funds raised will go to the Conservatory’s scholarship program as well as the launch of a new electronic keyboard classroom. Fittingly, young Ailey is a scholarship student. The Conservatory provides tuition assistance on a sliding scale for qualifying youth ages 18 and under. Scholarships are provided for up to 95 percent of tuition (the Conservatory does not provide full scholarships). All scholarship awards are based upon household income, family size, and special financial considerations. Scholarship applications are kept confidential and must be updated yearly.  Save

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Armacost Quartet Headlines Annual Jazz Brunch

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

(LARCHMONT, NY) On Oct. 23, the Music Conservatory of Westchester held its annual Jazz Brunch at the Larchmont Shore Club at 1 Oak Bluff Ave. in Larchmont, featured Hastings-on-Hudson’s Tim Armacost and his quartet. Proceeds from the event went toward the not-for-profit White Plains music school’s scholarship program.  

 Board President Joel Breitkopf of Scarsdale welcomes the crowd to the Music Conservatory’s annual Jazz Brunch at the Larchmont Shore Club.

  (L-to-R) Conservatory Dean of Students and Faculty Doug Bish of Beacon, Board President Joel Breitkopf of Scarsdale, and Executive Director Jean Newton of Edgemont.

  Hastings-on-Hudson’s Tim Armacost and his quartet perform at the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s annual Jazz Brunch on Oct. 23 at the Larchmont Shore Club. Hastings-on-Hudson’s Tim Armacost and his quartet headlined the event. 

 On Oct. 23, the Music Conservatory of Westchester hosted its annual Jazz Brunch at the Larchmont Shore Club at 1 Oak Bluff Ave. in Larchmont, featured the Tim Armacost Quartet (Harvie S, Jason Tiemann, Jay Azzolina). Armacost is a Grammy-nominated saxophonist who has recorded 14 albums, and has composed for Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Photos by Alye Carlevaro

 

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Conservatory Announces Annual Jazz Brunch

Saturday, October 01, 2016

On Oct. 23, the Music Conservatory of Westchester will host its annual Jazz Brunch. This year's event, which takes place at the Larchmont Shore Club at 1 Oak Bluff Ave. in Larchmont, will feature the Tim Armacost Quartet. Armacost is a Grammy-nominated saxophonist who has recorded 14 albums, and has composed for Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Tickets start at $185. For more information on the event, visit www.musicconservatory.org/jazzbrunch or contact (914) 761-3900 x113.

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Michael Welling's Speech Honoring the Music Therapy Institute

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"It is truly an honor and privilege to be standing up here tonight. This is true for a number of reasons but at the top of that list is the fact that more than any other audience, all of you will fully understand and appreciate the impact and the role that music and more specifically the Music Therapy Institute has played in our lives. Full disclosure, neither myself nor my wife Susie have any musical talent. In fact, we rarely agree on the same music, Reggae being the one major exception. So this entire “Matthew experience” has been as surreal as you can imagine. After Matthew was discharged from his 143 day stay at Sloan Kettering, we knew we needed to do whatever we could to help Matthew catch up. Matthew was in preschool at the John A. Coleman school in White Plains and at that time our biggest concern was his inability to hold a spoon. We overheard another family talking about music therapy so we thought, “let’s let him play with some drum sticks and maracas to build up those fine motor skills.”  Well, little did we know that we were about to unleash the beast – and hopefully the source for funding Matthew’s college education.    

Tina Brescia and James Maxson joined "Team Matthew" 7 years ago when he was just 3 years old. Donald Stevens joined the team shortly thereafter. Collectively they have not only helped to shape Matthew the musician, but they helped shape Matthew the person.  Musical talent is one of the greatest forms of human expression, but being able to use music to help others learn to express themselves is one of the greatest forms of gift giving. The therapists from MTI give this gift every day. I have seen their impact on Matthew and on many, many of the other students at MTI, big and small, young and old, musically inclined and not. Through his years at MTI, Matthew has learned more than music. He has learned about cooperation, teamwork, adversity, anxiety, hard work, satisfaction and success. He has grown up, developed, matured – to a point – in their care. Without them, he would not be who he is today. But more significant than being his therapists, more significant than being his music teachers, they have become important and valuable members of Matthew’s life  - as his friends… and his band.  

"Through his years at MTI, Matthew has learned more than music. He has learned about cooperation, teamwork, adversity, anxiety, hard work, satisfaction and success."

Thanks to them, during his time in Music Therapy Matthew has achieved more then we could have ever imagined. In fact, just last year Matthew achieved more then we could have ever imagined. In February of 2015 Matthew debuted his first album in an 1 ½ hr concert in front of 150 people at the Conservatory. Susie and I thought “Wow, 9 years old and his own album debut concert.” We did not think it could get better than that. But we were wrong. In June Matthew performed his original hit “Sunshine” in front of a packed house at Radio City Music Hall during the Garden of Dreams talent show.   Susie and I thought “Wow! 9 years old, performing at Radio City.” We did not think it could get better than that. But we were wrong. In November Matthew again performed "Sunshine" to open the Premiere of the Radio City Christmas spectacular in November. We did not think it could get better than that. But we were wrong. Two weeks later in December Matthew performed during half time of a NY Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. We did not think it could get better than that. But we were wrong.  

Having Matthew here with us today. Healthy. Happy. Well adjusted. A quality human being who already understands giving back and bringing joy to others. That is better than all of that. And all of this is made possible, thanks to the support, love and tireless work by Tina, Lisa, Donald, James, Peter and all of the music therapists at MTI. Matthew is just one example, and I am not even sure he is the best example, of the impact of music therapy, the difference that can be made through music therapy, and the life changing and life long benefits of music therapy. And about that, we are not wrong.   We are trying to raise money for MTI scholarships to bring this type of support to other children and for the Veteran’s scholarship to help expand the “Healing Our Heroes” program. Every dollar helps. Every dollar makes a difference."

 

(above) Michael Welling cheering on his son Matthew at the Music Conservatory of Westchester's recent Golf & Tennis Classic honoring the Music Therapy Institute

(top) (L to R)  Susie, Matthew and Michael Welling are all smiles at the MCW's Golf & Tennis Classic, June 20th, 2016

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Music Conservatory's Annual Golf Classic Sets Record with $127,000

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

“Most Successful Event Ever” Honored Music Therapy Program and Board President  

With a tally of roughly $127,000 in net proceeds, the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s 15th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic – held June 20 at Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase - proved to be its biggest ever. The event, which was held June 20 at Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase, honored the organization’s Music Therapy Institute (MTI), outgoing Board President Rodd Berro, and featured several special performances.

  (L-to-R) Music Conservatory of Westchester’s Executive Director Jean Newton of Edgemont, Board President Joel Breitkopf of Scarsdale, and Trustee Mary Bianco of California were all smiles.

“It was thrilling to have so many generous supporters turn out for this amazing event,” said Jean Newton, the not-for-profit community music school’s executive director. “In every respect, from the spirit of celebration to the unprecedented net proceeds – it was our most successful event ever.” Proceeds from the event will go toward MTI, whose co-directors Tina Brescia and Lisa Sandagata were honored with the not-for-profit community music school’s very first “Power of Healing” Award.

  (L-to-R) Music Conservatory of Westchester’s Board President Joel Breitkopf of Scarsdale, Music Therapy Institute (MTI) Co-Directors Lisa Sandagata of Ossining and Tina Brescia of Norwalk, Director of Communications Jon Chattman of Mamaroneck, Board Treasurer Nancy Goodman of Larchmont, and Development Manager Aishling Quinn of Yonkers present Sandagata and Brescia and their program with the organization’s Power of Healing Award.

In its 30th year, MTI has become the largest provider of community-based music therapy, adapted instruction and professional development in the greater Westchester region providing private and group sessions to individuals with special needs. In 2014, the program expanded to serve military veterans with combat-related injuries through the “Healing Our Heroes” program. The enrolled veterans along with MTI student Matthew Welling, who has studied and regularly plays with James Maxson and Donald Stevens, performed at the event together.

  Matthew Welling of White Plains performs with military veterans enrolled in the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s Healing Our Heroes program.

"Being able to use music to help others learn to express themselves is one of the greatest forms of gift giving.” 

Moments before Board Vice President Joel Breitkopf of Scarsdale and Board Treasurer Nancy Goodman of Larchmont presented the honor to Brescia and Sandagata, Matthew’s father Michael Welling of White Plains said,  “Musical talent is one of the greatest forms of human expression. The therapists from the MTI give this gift every day. But being able to use music to help others learn to express themselves is one of the greatest forms of gift giving.” He continued, “I have seen their impact on Matthew and on many, many of the other students at the MTI, big and small, young and old, musically inclined and not.”

Outgoing Board President Rodd Berro of Armonk receives the Distinguished Leadership Award from Board Chair Robert Heath, also of ArmonkSave 

 Berro was also honored at the event for his five years as board president. The Armonk resident is president of Pegasus Asset Management Inc. in Suffern, received the Distinguished Leadership Award by last year’s recipient: Board Chairman Robert Heath. “It has been such an honor to be the president of the board for this amazing organization,” said Berro, who resides in Armonk. As has been the case for the past three “Classics,” the celebratory awards dinner also featured a Broadway revue.

Tony nominee Tony Yazbeck wraps up a stellar evening with a tap dance at the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s 15th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic.

Broadway veterans Karen Mason and Rye’s John Treacy Egan performed as did recent Tony nominee Tony Yazbeck. Sue Anderson accompanied Egan and Yazbeck. Overall, Breitkopf, who succeeded Berro as board president July 1, summed up by saying, “The golf outing was an incredible record-setting event for the Conservatory. We had the most amount of attendees at both golf and dinner and many folks were new to the organization, which bodes well for next year's event.” The new board president, who is Principal of Alchemy Properties, added, “The highlight of the evening was clearly the music therapy students playing music for the crowd which was spellbound by the energy and passion of the musicians.”

Broadway veteran and Westchester resident John Treacy Egan starts the show off with “Sit Down Your Rockin’ the Boat” from Guys and Dolls.  

All photos by Alye Bea Carlevaro

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Autism Awareness Month and 30 Years of Music Therapy!

Monday, April 18, 2016

April is National Autism Awareness month! This year also marks the Music Conservatory's Music Therapy Institute's 30th Anniversary. Our amazing Music Therapy Institute has made an amazing and lasting impact on this school and the community. We are so proud of  the faculty, staff and students of MTI that have worked so hard to make it what it is today, 30 years later.

Congratulations MTI and may April be a month of action, awareness, inclusion, appreciation and acceptance. The Conservatory will be honoring the Music Therapy Institute at our Annual Golf and Tennis Fundraising Event this June, please show your support! For more information on our Music Therapy Program visit our website: http://www.musicconservatory.org/

Music Conservatory’s Annual Golf “Classic” to Feature Three Honorees and Broadway Revue

Monday, April 11, 2016

 Celebrating major milestones within their organization along with a major star of the stage and screen, the Music Conservatory of Westchester has announced its three honorees for its upcoming:

15th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic 
Monday, June 20th 
Brae Burn Country Club
Purchase, NY

The nonprofit community music school will honor its Music Therapy Institute, its Board President Rodd Berro, and Tony Award winner Laura Benanti. Tony nominee Tony Yazbeck (On the Town) will perform as will Benanti. The awards will be handed out at a celebratory dinner following a day on the greens and courts. Funds raised from the event will help support the Conservatory’s Scholarship Program, enabling deserving students to make their musical dreams come true and for special needs students and military veterans to take music therapy or adapted instruction.

Eventbrite - Music Conservatory of Westchester's 15th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic

 

Celebrating major milestones within their organization along with a major star of the stage and screen, the Music Conservatory of Westchester has announced three honorees for its upcoming 15th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic on Monday, June 20 at Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase. The nonprofit community music school will honor its Music Therapy Institute, its Board President Rodd Berro, and Tony Award winner Laura Benanti. The awards will be handed out at a celebratory dinner following a day on the greens and courts.

In celebration of its 30th year, the Music Therapy Institute (MTI) will receive with its very first “Power of Healing” Award. Establish in 1986 through a $5,000 seed grant from the Westchester Community Foundation, the Institute was the first community-based music therapy program in Westchester County. Since then, it has become the largest provider of community-based music therapy, adapted instruction and professional development in the greater Westchester region providing private and group sessions to individuals with special needs. In 2014, the program expanded to serve military veterans with combat-related injuries through the “Healing Our Heroes” program. MTI students will perform following the award ceremony.

Longtime Conservatory trustee and current Board President Rodd Berro of Armonk will also be honored at the event, receiving the Distinguished Leadership Award. Berro is president of Pegasus Asset Management Inc. in Suffern.

As has been the case for the last two “Classics,” the evening will culminate with Broadway-centric performances by talents from the Great White Way. Tony Yazbeck, who received a Tony nomination for his role in On the Town will perform, along with four-time Tony nominee Laura Benanti, who won a Tony for her portrayal of Gypsy Rose Lee in the Patti Lupone revival of Gypsy. She will also be honored with the Conservatory’s Achievement in the Arts Award for her distinguished career, which includes Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Nine and Into the Woods on Broadway, and The Good Wife and Nashville on television. The actress may currently be seen in the hit CBS series Supergirl and on Broadway in She Loves Me.

Proceeds from this event will help us to continue to provide music therapy to enhance the lives of children, adults, and U.S. military veterans with disabilities throughout the community.

For more information, please contact us at info@musiced.org.



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