FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 7, 2020
Contact: Michelle Tabnick, (646) 765-4773, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bloomingdale School of Music
A Virtual Spring Benefit
Honoring Josh Wiener and George Oliphant
Thursday, April 16, 2020, at 7 pm
Bloomingdale School of Music announces a virtual spring benefit Bloomingdale ONLINE on Thursday, April 16, 2020, at 7 pm. The evening will be broadcast via Zoom and attendance is available by registering at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bloomingdales-virtual-spring-gala-fundraiser-tickets-102045767638.
Bloomingdale ONLINE honors Josh Wiener, president of SilverLining, Inc., and George Oliphant, host of NBCUniversal’s hit TV series “George to the Rescue.” The event’s host Laurie Berkner, a Bloomingdale parent and star of The Laurie Berkner Band, leads a thank you to Josh and George for their recent renovation of Bloomingdale School of Music’s David Greer Recital Hall and backyard, which will be featured on the April 11 episode of “George to the Rescue.” The benefit will include video performances by Bloomingdale School of Music students and members of the Broadway Ensemble.
Each year, Bloomingdale School of Music organizes a spring benefit punctuated with inspiring performances by BSM students and faculty. The benefit honors members of society who have shown a commitment to high-quality music access. This annual event raises money for Bloomingdale’s Student Scholarship Fund to provide scholarships for students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.
“We’re trying something new with our benefit this year – just as our whole school has transferred to online learning and connections to make our mission happen, we decided to move our spring benefit online too,” said Erika S. Foreska, Executive Director, Bloomingdale School of Music. “Given the challenges our families, faculty, and whole community face, we are excited for this opportunity to celebrate our community as well as raise much needed funds to support our scholarship fund, as well as our faculty who teach our students and who have been deeply affected by the cancellation of so many of their gigs. We are looking forward to an evening of music, celebration, and joy amidst these challenging times.”
Donations are accepted at www.bsmny.org/donate.
Josh Wiener grew up helping his dad repair their family’s Manhattan UWS townhouse. At 6 years old, he was sorting nails; at 11 he was mixing plaster and rebuilding walls; and now, Josh’s company, SilverLining Inc., is renovating some of Manhattan’s most lavish apartments and townhouses as a high-end general contractor specializing in luxury residential building projects in New York City and the surrounding area.
In 1981, Josh met Bloomingdale Board President Ken Michaels at Vassar College, and the two have been buddies ever since. Josh took a few drum lessons at Bloomingdale as a child, and when he heard about our building, he introduced “George to the Rescue” to us. His company, SilverLining, was instrumental in the renovation of Bloomingdale’s concert hall and backyard, bringing together more than 25 vendors to donate time, resources, and materials, as well as oversee all construction.
George Oliphant is a popular Emmy award-winning host of NBC’s “George to the Rescue,” a weekly national home improvement show. George and his team of contractors and interior designers travel the nation rescuing the homes of deserving people. The warm and bubbly Oliphant he got his start as a touring children’s theater actor. He launched his TV career as a veejay for MTVu, MTV’s college music channel, and then on MHD, MTV’s first high-definition music channel.
Eventually, he began working on an NBC show called Open House with a segment called Open House to the Rescue, which was the foundation for George to the Rescue. The show started out in New York but has been picked up by NBC stations across the map. Each week, Oliphant and his crew set out to change lives by “rescuing” the homes of people in need. The show featuring Bloomingdale School of Music will air in April, 2020, and can be seen on the “George to the Rescue” YouTube channel.
Laurie Berkner has been a professional musician since 1992, but her success as a children’s recording artist was a surprise to her. “It was so unexpected,” says Laurie. “I’d been performing in rock bands and struggling to write original music. Writing music for kids has not been a struggle at all. The more I started working on material for children, the more I realized that it opened up creativity in me that I never knew I had.”
These days critics widely acknowledge Laurie’s major contribution toward launching what is now dubbed the progressive “kindie rock” movement – i.e. less saccharine, more rocking music that is not dumbed down for children. But it wasn’t simply an enormous amount of talent that helped create an entire genre and skyrocketed Laurie to her current position as “the queen of kids’ music” (People magazine). It was an ability to gain parents’ enthusiasm for the songs as well. According to Laurie, “When I’m writing a song, I’m thinking about whether the kids will like it and whether I’m going to connect to them through it. I’m also thinking about whether I want to sing it over and over again, so I guess that’s the part that connects with adults. ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm’ is a great song for kids, but I couldn’t sing it 100 times!” Laurie and her family have lived in the Bloomingdale neighborhood for years and her daughter studied percussion, piano, and composition for more than seven years at BSM.
Founded in 1964, Bloomingdale School of Music is dedicated to the belief that music changes lives and everyone should have access to high-quality music education regardless of economic status, race, religion, ability level, or gender. Bloomingdale is a music-driven community center where all are welcome to join and learn about music from top faculty. We are dedicated to our mission – to make music education accessible to all who want to learn – and remain focused on supporting this mission through our values.