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Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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(Courtesy of Kaplen JCC on the Palisades) On Sunday, February 9, more than 900 music lovers filled the Bergen County Academies auditorium to celebrate the joy of music-making at the JCC Thurnauer School of Music’s 30th Gift of Music Gala Benefit Concert. The event raised funds to support the musical aspirations of students who want a high-quality music education regardless of their family’s financial means.

The featured artist, multi-Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin, was joined by Thurnauer student ensembles that included the Young People’s Chorus at Thurnauer and the Thurnauer Symphony Orchestra, as well as Thurnauer guitar groups. Together, they wowed and enthralled the audience with a diverse selection of exciting repertoire.

During the concert, Sharon Isbin spoke about the joy of music-making and the importance of bringing music to as many people as possible. She also applauded the school for making classical music accessible and affordable to students eager for the chance to learn to play an instrument.

The evening also included the presentation of the school’s Gift of Music Visionary Award to beloved community members Bernie Koster and James C. Ackerman, whose heartfelt remarks were a testament to their love of music and community, and the Distinguished Music Educator Award to Dianne Flagello, retired director of the Pre-College Division of the Manhattan School of Music, for her leadership and commitment to music education.

The concert was co-chaired by Andrea and Jerry Klein, Elana and Benjamin Silver and Raj and Laura Gurunathan who brought the guitar community together to create the Seth Himmelhoch Scholarship Fund for classical guitar.

The opportunity to support scholarships for music education is still possible by texting MUSIC to 201-299-6730 and visiting www.jccotp.org/gom. Anyone interested in making donations to the Thurnauer School of Music or other Cultural Arts programming at the JCC can contact Nina Bachrach at 201-408-1406 or email [email protected].

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