FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 20, 2020
Contact: Michelle Tabnick, (646) 765-4773, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bloomingdale School of Music’s Virtual Community Concert Spring Benefit
Bloomingdale ONLINE Raised More Than $30,000.
Bloomingdale School of Music’s first virtual community concert and spring benefit Bloomingdale ONLINE on April 16, 2020 raised more than $30,000 in support of the school’s Student Scholarship Fund. The evening was broadcast via Zoom to an audience of several hundred live viewers throughout the country. The event can now be accessed online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ls2pX7-eALY&feature=youtu.be. Additional donations are accepted at https://secure.givelively.org/donate/bloomingdale-school-of-music-inc/.
Bloomingdale ONLINE honored George Oliphant, host of NBCUniversal’s hit TV series “George to the Rescue” and Josh Wiener, president of SilverLining, Inc. The event’s host Laurie Berkner, a Bloomingdale parent and star of The Laurie Berkner Band, led a thank you to Josh and George for their recent renovation of Bloomingdale School of Music’s David Greer Recital Hall and backyard, which was featured on the April 11 episode of “George to the Rescue.” The benefit included video performances by Bloomingdale School of Music students, faculty, and members of the Broadway Ensemble both from their homes and from the renovated concert hall (previously recorded).
“Bloomingdale School of Music’s students, faculty, and staff are truly amazing,” said Ken Michaels, Board President, Bloomingdale School of Music. “Their ability to change gears and put together a beautiful virtual program to celebrate George and Josh on such short notice was nothing short of stupendous. Bravo to everyone!”
“It has been my joy and pleasure to lead Bloomingdale School of Music for the past six years,” said Erika S. Floreska, Executive Director, Bloomingdale School of Music. “The ability for music to connect us virtually was demonstrated by this event and the added bonus of inviting friends from across the country to what has been a local NYC gathering meant we were able to expand our mission even more. We adapted, kept our community feel, and had a terrific evening that raised more than $30,000 so far to support our future scholarships.”
“I am so moved by this online presence. It just shows you nothing will stop this wonderful community. A testament to the New York spirit! Congratulations and many prayers for safety and good health to you all and your families,” said attendee Chris Risley.
“BSM is amazing!!! From the admin and staff, to the faculty, to the students and incredible families who make up the heart and soul of the school!! So proud to be a part of BSM!!!” exclaimed Bloomingdale School of Music faculty member Tereasa Payne.
Each year, Bloomingdale School of Music organizes a spring benefit punctuated with inspiring performances by BSM students and faculty. This year’s event included a variety of performances including songs from Thoroughly Modern Millie, Fun Home, Cats and Fiddler on the Roof as well as piano, guitar, trumpet, flute and percussion performances of pieces by composers from Bach and Mussorsky to contemporary composers. The benefit honored 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, and this year is more important than ever.
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 aired on April 11, 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.
Bloomingdale School of Music gratefully acknowledges the support of the Baisley Powell Elebash Fund, Edwin Caplin Foundation, theBay and Paul Foundations, the Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, Con-Edison Arts and Culture Grants, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, the Hyde and Watson Foundation, the Jarvis and Constance Doctorow Family Foundation, the Lotos Foundation, the National Guild for Music Education, Columbia Community Service, the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, New York City Council Member Helen Rosenthal, the Manhattan Borough President, Exploring the Metropolis, Con-Edison, the D’Addario Foundation, the Turrell Fund, the Libby Holman Foundation, the Associated Chamber Music Players, the M&T Charitable Fund, the TD Bank Charitable Foundation, Apple Bank, and HBO.