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Education Through Music 30th Anniversary Gala Raises $1 Million to Keep Music Alive in Public Schools

Students singing at gala

Education Through Music celebrated its 30th Annual Benefit Gala on Monday, June 13, 2022 at Cipriani 42nd Street. The gala included over 400 people and raised over $1M. ETM makes music education a reality for 20,000 K-12 students in under-resourced NYC schools annually.

The first in-person event in three years honored Peter Riguardi, Chairman and President of Jones Lang LaSalle’s New York Tri-state Region. Thomas Carroll, a devoted music theater teacher at PS 154, received the Teacher of the Year award. Student Franklin Fortuna was awarded the winner of the Original Composition contest, and Paul Hennessee won the Adult Songwriting contest. American opera singer Norm Lewis emceed the event and wowed the crowd of over 400 people with a moving performance of “The Impossible Dream.”

“ETM was founded 30 years ago to advance equity in NYC schools, driven by the belief that every student deserves access to high-quality music education,” said Richard Bernstein, Chair of ETM’s Board of Directors. It takes an ensemble of passionate people to ensure our work continues to impact the lives of countless students who would otherwise have no music education at school,” he said.

We McDonald singing with students at gala

The highlight of the evening, with a standing ovation, was an emotional performance of three songs by 45 choral and orchestral students from MS180. They were joined by Season 11 contestant of The Voice, Wé McDonald, who was a guest artist this year for ETM.

In his acceptance speech, Riguardi commented, “Music has been an important part of my life and is essential to a well-rounded education. ETM’s efforts positively impact a student’s social and emotional learning. We need more music not less,” he said.

“We are providing children and school communities opportunities to grow, to heal, and most critically at this time, to unite,” said Janice Weinman Shorenstein, Executive Director. “This gala brings us together in a common mission to sustain and grow this organization so that we can impact the development of thousands more students who flourish under our teaching and tremendous support,” she said.

(Photos by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Education Through Music)