Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester


Conservatory to Celebrate 90th Anniversary at Milestone Benefit Event

Tuesday, May 07, 2019


Entertainment Legends to be Honored at Nonprofit Community Music School Gala

At the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s 18th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic and Gala on Monday, June 24, the White Plains nonprofit community music school will celebrate its 90th anniversary with a star-studded benefit. Comedy icon and Westchester County resident Robert Klein and musical maestro of Broadway, television, and film Marc Shaiman will be honored for their distinguished careers and contributions to the performing arts at the event to be held at Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase, NY. 

“We’ve been fortunate to have so many music icons involved with the Conservatory over the years,” Music Conservatory of Westchester Executive Director and Edgemont resident Jean Newton said. “It’s a real honor, and the perfect way to kick off our 90th anniversary year.”

The Music Conservatory of Westchester’s rich 90-year history dates back to 1929, when it was established at Scarsdale’s “Hyatt House” under the direction of Nicolai Mednikoff. Among the school’s original board of musical advisors were renowned cellist Pablo Casals, violinist Harold Bauer, and opera singer Elisabeth Rethberg. Today, in White Plains, the Conservatory provides the extraordinary benefits of music to all in our community, serving more than 2,800 students each year from 4 months to over 80 years old. The Conservatory is celebrating this year’s milestone with musical community events, including its upcoming 18th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic and Gala.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Music Conservatory and our passionate and dedicated staff, we are thrilled to have such a great lineup for our 90th Anniversary gala as we celebrate our community and the important mission of bringing music, healing and joy to our students and scholarship recipients,” Conservatory Board President and Scarsdale resident Joel Breitkopf said.

 Robert Klein

Robert Klein, known for his long-standing, four-decade comedy career, will be honored with the Lifetime Award. He opened the doors for the comics who have followed in his footsteps as the first comedian to appear in a live stand-up comedy concert on HBO. A life-long New Yorker with two-time Emmy nominations for his HBO comedy specials and two Grammy Award nominations for Best Comedy Album for Child of the Fifties and Mind Over Matter, he is often considered a legend by fans and is a favorite at The Tonight Show with 100 appearances to date. He also received a Tony Award nomination and a win from the LA Drama Critics Circle Awards for his performance in the Neil Simon musical, They’re Playing Our Song. In addition to his countless on-stage credits, he is also recognized for his wit and humor in film roles and in recurring guest-starring roles on television in Law & Order and Will & Grace.

“The Music Conservatory of Westchester puts its resources into the most wonderful and imaginative pursuits, proving that the gift of music can do so much. It is my honor to be honored by them,” said Lifetime Award honoree Robert Klein.

 Marc Shaiman

Marc Shaiman will receive the Legacy Award from the Music Conservatory of Westchester for his incredible contributions to music both onstage and onscreen. A Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winner, and seven-time Oscar nominee, he is known for his songs and scores of such Broadway favorites as Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and television’s Smash, The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live, as well as more than 10 appearances as musical director of the Academy Awards. He also wrote music for films When Harry Met Sally, Sister Act 1 & 2, A Few Good Men, and Hocus Pocus. Mr. Shaiman was nominated for the 2018 Oscar for Best Original Song and Score for Mary Poppins Returns. He is currently working on a musical version of Some Like it Hot for Broadway. For decades, he has composed some of the most memorable soundtracks and scores.

The Music Conservatory of Westchester features teachers looking to give music students a step up and a helping hand to our veterans, and it all takes place in New York, the state I call home! Just those things prove to me that it is a wonderful organization, and I am humbled and excited to have been chosen for this wonderful honor!” said Legacy Award honoree Marc Shaiman.

Stellar musical performances by Tony Award nominees and Broadway stars Kate Baldwin, Jennifer Damiano, and Carrie St. Louis will round out the fabulous evening award ceremony and gala dinner. Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and host of New York’s Classical Radio Station WQXR, Elliott Forrest, will emcee the event.

 Elliott Forrest

“You have an opportunity to broaden your horizons through music at the Conservatory,” Executive Director Jean Newton said. “Music brings people together like nothing else. It’s the magic ingredient.”

Proceeds from the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s 18th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic and Gala will support its Music Therapy Program improving the lives of children and adults with disabilities as well as its Healing Our Heroes music therapy program serving U.S. military veterans with combat-related injuries and Scholarship Program providing students from financially-deserving families with access to quality music training. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.musicconservatory.org/golf-and-tennis-classic.


Veterans and Broadway Stars Perform to Raise Funds at Music Conservatory of Westchester Benefit

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Broadway stars joined with Conservatory stars at the stunning, successful 17th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic benefit event for the Music Conservatory of Westchester on June 25th. Pictured from left to right: Board President Joel Breitkopf, performer Kevin Chamberlin, emcee Christine Pedi, honoree Randy Graff, Executive Director Jean Newton, honoree Roger Bart, and performer Christopher Sieber.

Dreams do come true! The Music Conservatory of Westchester raised more than $313,000 in gross proceeds from the White Plains nonprofit’s 17th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic at the Brae Burn Country Club! Monday, June 25 was a beautiful day for golf and tennis, and an incredible evening to honor Tony Award winners Roger Bart and Randy Graff, and celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Conservatory’s Healing Our Heroes music therapy program for military veterans.

Conservatory Executive Director and Edgemont resident, Jean Newton said, “It was truly thrilling to see so many generous individuals, and Broadway stars, come out to support our mission of providing the extraordinary benefits of music to everyone in the community. Healing Our Heroes is just one example of how the power of music changes lives. These programs are the heart and soul of the Conservatory.”

 Healing Our Heroes veterans and music therapists rocked the ballroom at Brae Burn Country Club with incredible performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and original song “Pride of America.”

The dinner program began with a warm welcome by Executive Director Jean Newton and Board President, Joel Breitkopf of Scarsdale in the country club’s grand ballroom. During this address, all veterans, active duty soldiers, and veteran families were asked to stand as they were thanked for their service. Subsequently, the Healing Our Heroes veterans band was introduced for their soaring performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and an original song, “Pride of America.” Guests were moved by the veterans’ music and a standing ovation honored their performances.

Emcee and host of Sirius XM Radio’s On Broadway station Christine Pedi kept the evening moving seamlessly with hilarious and shockingly accurate-sounding celebrity voice impersonations. She introduced entertaining musical performances by Broadway stars Christopher Sieber and Kevin Chamberlin in the voices of Joan Rivers and Liza Minnelli, respectively. Chamberlin presented long-time friend Roger Bart with the Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award, followed by a dynamic duet of “Henchmen Are Forgotten” from the musical Triumph of Love.

Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award honoree Roger Bart entertained nearly 300 guests with a dynamic duet of “Henchmen Are Forgotten” from Triumph of Love with friend and Broadway favorite Kevin Chamberlin.

“It was a magical evening,” said Ms. Randy Graff, who was honored with the award for Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre at the benefit event.

At the end of the evening, Conservatory Dean of Students and Faculty, Dr. Douglas Bish introduced honoree Ms. Graff with a sincere speech about the power of music education, and his love of Broadway music. With a true finale, Ms. Graff performed a brilliant rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables, which ended the evening perfectly.

 Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre Award honoree Randy Graff ended the evening with to a standing ovation-worthy rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables.

Nearly 300 guests came together to support the Conservatory’s signature mission-based programs – Scholarships for financially deserving students, Music Therapy for children and adults with disabilities, and Healing Our Heroes.

Celebrating 5 Years of Healing Our Heroes and Honoring Tony Award Winners at 17th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic

Monday, May 14, 2018

 

For its 17th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic, the Music Conservatory of Westchester will honor both Broadway and our nation’s heroes who have served to protect our freedoms.

On June 25 at the Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase, NY, the not-for-profit White Plains, NY community music school will follow up last year’s record-breaking fundraiser with a Broadway benefit event also celebrating the 5th anniversary of its Healing Our Heroes music therapy program for military veterans. After a day of golf and tennis, Tony Award winners Roger Bart and Randy Graff will represent Broadway’s best as special honorees for each of their 30 years of extensive and impressive work in the performing arts. Clearly, the Music Conservatory of Westchester knows how to organize a “Classic” event worthy of a standing ovation.

Conservatory Board President, founder of the Healing Our Heroes program, and Scarsdale resident Joel Breitkopf said, “We provide scholarships for youth and for military veterans who live and thrive in our community.”

The Music Conservatory of Westchester established the Healing Our Heroes program in 2013 to provide music therapy and related music instruction for U.S. military veterans who are dealing with combat-related injuries both physical and emotional. Veterans in the Healing Our Heroes program receive two years of individual music therapy services at no cost to them with scholarship aid, as well as participation in two weekly drop-in group sessions and Music Sharing Events, enabling veterans to share their music and experiences of life after their service and how music has helped them in the process.

Former Board President and Armonk resident Rodd Berro saw an opportunity to share the amazing proven success of Healing Our Heroes with a wider audience in the form of a documentary film. The Conservatory partnered with Ming Media and its principals, El Sawyer and Jon Kaufman to create feature-length cinematic experience about the program. As Executive Producer of “Healing Our Heroes: The Documentary,” Mr. Berro will present teaser footage from the documentary film to guests at the benefit event. This year, a portion of the proceeds to the Healing Our Heroes program will be dedicated to the documentary project.

“It is especially meaningful to me,” Mr. Berro said of being able to showcase the powerful footage from this film, “that is very close to my heart.”

In addition to celebrating the 5th anniversary of the Healing Our Heroes program, the Conservatory’s 17th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic will honor some Broadway luminaries for their impressive accomplishments in the performing arts, another important cause for the community music school.

Roger Bart will be honored with the Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award at the benefit event. He won the Tony award for his notable portrayal of Snoopy in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Also known for his performances in The Producers as Carmen Ghia, for which he earned Tony and Drama Desk nominations, and played that role in both the stage and film productions. In his successful career on Broadway, he originated the roles of Harlequin in Triumph of Love, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein and Tony in Disaster!. He can currently be seen on Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, opposite fellow Tony Award winner Neil Patrick Harris, and on the new Epix series Graves, starring opposite Nick Nolte and Sela Ward.

Randy Graff, Tony and Drama Desk Award winner for her performance in City of Angels, will receive the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre Award from the Music Conservatory of Westchester. She received Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for her role in A Class Act. Ms. Graff created the role of Fantine in Les Misérables with the original Broadway cast, a distinction of her extensive career. Her other Broadway credits include Fiddler On The Roof, Neil Simon’s Laughter On The 23rd Floor, Moon Over Buffalo with Carol Burnett, Falsettos, High Society, and Grease. She has performed roles at Lincoln Center Theatre and in the renowned Sondheim Festival at The Kennedy Center. Currently on the Musical Theatre faculty at the Manhattan School of Music, she teaches vocal performance to the next generation of Broadway stars.

Unforgettable cabaret performances from three-time Tony Award nominee Kevin Chamberlin and two-time Tony Award nominee Christopher Sieber will entertain guests throughout the evening award ceremony and dinner. Host of Sirius XM Radio’s On Broadway channel, Christine Pedi, will emcee the event.

At the Annual Golf and Tennis Classic, guests will be serenaded not only by Tony Award-celebrated artists but also by special musical performances from veteran participants in the Healing Our Heroes program.

“Our event is truly a win-win for our guests,” Conservatory Executive Director Jean Newton said of this year’s benefit. “They get a day of golf or tennis at a gorgeous club and a fabulous star-studded dinner, all to support a great cause.”

Mr. Breitkopf added, “It is an honor to support the Music Conservatory of Westchester as it touches the lives of thousands of folks in Westchester County every year.”

Proceeds from the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s 17th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic will support its Healing Our Heroes music therapy program benefiting military veterans with combat-related injuries, as well as the school’s Music Therapy Program improving the lives of children and adults with disabilities, and Scholarship Program providing students from financially-deserving families with access to quality music training. To purchase tickets, visit www.mcwevents.org.

Auction Items Needed for a Good Cause!

Tuesday, March 06, 2018


We need your help with our annual auction, benefiting our musical community! Is there a restaurant or business you love to frequent? Do you know someone who has access to tickets to a fun show, sports event, or experience? Do you have a time-share, cabin, or vacation home you would consider donating? The Conservatory is looking for donated items like these for our annual auction where proceeds all go towards our Scholarship Program, Music Therapy Program, and Healing Our Heroes program for military veterans.

We greatly appreciate your support as we prepare for our biggest fundraiser of the year! For more information and to donate, contact Laura Layne, Development Associate, at laura@musiced.org. Thank you!!

Music Conservatory Reaches New Heights With Annual Golf & Tennis Classic

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Laurence Keiser, Board Vice President, of West Harrison accepting the “Distinguished Leadership Award” at the 16th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic benefiting the programs at the Music Conservatory of Westchester.

Event Shatters Record; Nets $245,000 to Benefit Its Signature Programs

Records are meant to be broken. Last week, the Music Conservatory of Westchester reached an all-time high with $245,000 raised in net proceeds at its 16th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic, shattering last year’s record ($127,000) by nearly double – and that number will expand as donations continue to come in.  The not-for-profit organization held the 16th incarnation of their premier fundraising event once again at Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase.

The June 26 event began with a round of golf and tennis followed by a celebratory awards dinner. This year's entertainment was emceed by Tony Award nominee Constantine Maroulis and featured performances by fellow Tony nominees Robert Cuccioli and Mary Bridget Davies. Awards were presented to longtime Conservatory trustee and well-known attorney Laurence Keiser, entertainers and charitable couple Chazz and Gianna Palminteri, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Darlene Love.

"This was the most successful event the Conservatory has had in the 22 years I’ve been here,” Executive Director Jean Newton said. “From start to finish, it was a triumph, and everyone had a great time!”  She noted that it was the first time in its history that the Golf & Tennis Classic "sold out." There were 120 golf players on the greens that day, and a 300-seat capacity ballroom filled for the entertainment that followed.

Cheryl and Joel Breitkopf, Board President of the Music Conservatory of Westchester, of Scarsdale take in the beautiful day at the Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase, NY.

Newton said many factors contributed to this year's success. First and foremost, the dedicated board of trustees helped ensure success. "They invited all their friends and colleagues to share in the festivities.” she said. “They truly love this organization and want to spread the word to everyone they know."

The executive director, who resides in Edgemont, also noted that her staff worked "around the clock" to make sure every detail was taken care of and that everything would proceed without a hitch. "This event was seamless. I'm so grateful to our staff," she said.

Lastly, Newton thanked everyone who came out to support the event, the "beautiful" club, and the show-stopping performers and honorees. The weather, she joked, also deserves some credit. "It was a gorgeous day," she said.

Keiser received the first award of the night for his Distinguished Leadership. Keiser, a partner at the White Plains-based law firm of Stern Keiser & Panken, LLP, is currently the board's vice president and has served since 2000. Last year’s honoree Rodd Berro, a longtime board member and past president, presented the award to Keiser. Berro's speech emphasized his colleague’s dedication and hard work, which he does with modesty and humility, for love of the institution – not for the recognition. Following a poignant speech by Keiser, his son Ross, a former vocal student at the Conservatory, paid tribute to his dad with a special performance.

Former student of the Music Conservatory of Westchester Ross Keiser of Armonk singing an aria in honor of his father, Laurence, who was honored at the 16th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic benefit.

Chazz and Gianna Palminteri received the Conservatory's Arts Achievement and Community Leadership Award for their extensive charitable work, their arts advocacy, and of course, their film credits.  Chazz Palminteri in particular has over 50 film credits including Bullets Over Broadway (Oscar nomination), The Usual Suspects, and A Bronx Tale, for which he was the writer and co-star. In her acceptance speech Gianna stressed the importance of the arts, while Chazz drew on a line from his signature Tale (and a phrase from his own father) - “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent,” pointing out that the Conservatory ensures that no talent is left unfulfilled.

Chazz Palminteri, Gianna Palminteri, Jon Chattman of Mamaroneck, and Jean Newton, Executive Director, of Scarsdale presenting the “Arts Achievement & Community Leadership Award” to the Palminteri’s.

Music icon Darlene Love rounded out the evening by receiving the Conservatory’s Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Board member Nancy Goodman of Larchmont. Conservatory voice student Alice Cabral of Hawthorne was named the first recipient of the Darlene Love Vocal Scholarship. After many thank yous and before bidding adieu, Love ended her speech the same way that she did during her acceptance speech at the 2014 Academy Awards (she represented the forgotten voices featured in the winning documentary film 20 Feet From Stardom):  “I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free,” she sang. As they did at the Dolby Theatre, the audience gave her a standing "O."

Darlene Love singing as she accepts her “Lifetime Achievement Award,” an honor bestowed by the Music Conservatory of Westchester.

The whole event deserves a standing ovation, according to Board President Joel Breitkopf.  “The board is so grateful that we were able to get record-breaking support from families and the business community that will contribute mightily to our scholarships,” he said. “Our children, seniors and veterans are going to benefit by the tremendous success of our best golf and tennis outing ever.”

Proceeds of the event will support three programs that are the heart and soul of the Conservatory: its Music Education Program for students of all ages, its Music Therapy Program for students with disabilities, and its Healing Our Heroes Program for Military veterans. The Conservatory awards sliding-scale scholarships for low income students and full scholarship for military veterans to participate in these programs. Founded in 1929, the Conservatory has provided the extraordinary benefits of music to everyone in the community for nearly 90 years.

Watch News12 coverage of this event HERE.

 Emcee for the annual fundraiser and Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis singing “Don’t Stop Believing” from the Broadway musical Rock of Ages.

 Music Conservatory of Westchester student and Darlene Love Vocal Scholarship recipient Alice Cabral of Hawthorne, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Darlene Love pose together at the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s 16th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic

Gianna Palminteri, Laurence Keiser, and Chazz Palminteri, all Westchester County residents and honorees of the evening stand together in support of the Music Conservatory of Westchester music scholarships.

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!

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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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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