Guest ColumnsThe White Plains Examiner

Broadway Stars Come Out to Support Music Conservatory of Westchester

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Jennifer Damiano with Music Conservatory of Westchester students at the gala benefit on June 24.

The Music Conservatory of Westchester celebrated its 90th Anniversary with more than $335,500 raised at its 18th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic and Gala, held June 24 at Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase.

Iconic comedian and Westchester resident Robert Klein and award-winning music composer and lyricist Marc Shaiman, were honored for their illustrious careers with musical performances by Broadway stars Kate Baldwin, Jennifer Damiano, and Gizel Jiménez, emceed by WQXR radio host Elliott Forrest.

Performer Gizel Jiménez, currently starring in Broadway’s Wicked, opened the Gala portion of the event with her impressive vocal talent with musical selections from Frozen and Little Women the Musical. Six talented Conservatory voice students, Nicole Cayales, Colin Dunsky, Tiana Kaga, Sophia Manalang, Leila Martinez, and Melissa Wang, sang with Tony Award-nominee Jennifer Damiano for a heart-felt rendition of “What a Wonderful World.”

As thirteen-year-old Conservatory scholarship student who sang at the Gala, Leila Martinez stated, “The Conservatory has really encouraged me.” She added, “I feel like being a singer would be really fun, because then I get to do what I love.”

Broadway star Jennifer Damiano also performed the Oscar-nominated Marc Shaiman song “Where the Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns. Two-time Tony Award-nominee Kate Baldwin’s voice soared in her performances of “Ribbons Down My Back” from Hello, Dolly! and “New York, New York.”

During his acceptance speech for the Conservatory’s Legacy Award, Marc Shaiman amazed the audience with an unexpected, special performance of a song he wrote for the Emmy-nominated TV show Smash with surprise guest, rising star Sarah Rose Shaiman.

The White Plains nonprofit community music school raised funds for its Music Therapy Program for children and adults with disabilities, Healing Our Heroes music therapy program serving U.S. military veterans, and Scholarship Program providing financially-deserving students with the chance to achieve their musical dreams.

The Music Conservatory of Westchester was founded in 1929 and today serves 2,800 students each year from 4 months to over 80 years old. A Scholarship Program provides tuition assistance for financially deserving students. The Music Therapy Institute brings music into the lives of 2,000 children and adults with disabilities each year through on-site and outreach programs. Healing Our Heroes offers military veterans a specialized music therapy program to help with recovery after their service.

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