Number 1, Volume 1 | May 2019
Note from the Executive Director
Dr. Leslie Jones
It is with unbelievable pride and happiness that I announce that The Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School is up and running, and most significantly, we are thriving! 

Due to the outpouring of support and the overriding desire to see the FMDG Music School remain a vibrant part of New York City, we began our semester without interruption in January 2019. Through our long-standing relationships with the NYC Coalition of Community Schools of the Arts, commercial music rental space, and VISIONS, we have started our new chapter as an independent community music school.

Currently, the adult instrumental and vocal program of individual lessons continue, our ensembles are rehearsing vigorously and the Comprehensive Music Program for Young People (CMPYP) is in full swing (more on that program later). The traditional, seasonal cycle of performances is moving forward with spring dates and plans are underway for fall 2019. Please review the section on our upcoming performances for more details. 

There is not enough space in a newsletter to adequately praise the committed faculty members of FMDG Music School. They all have been exceptional. We have newly hired a fabulous young team of professionals in the Accessible Music Technology Division: Konrad Kamm (our first D’Agostino Accessible Music Technology Fellow), Richard Thai (our second D’Agostino Accessible Music Technology Fellow), and Daniel Gillen (Braille Music Proofreader and former student extraordinaire).

I am immensely grateful for the kindnesses shown to the FMDG Music School in this chapter of our 106-year history. A phrase that we think is apropos: “We are the oldest start-up music school in New York City and beyond!” I believe that most people receiving this newsletter know that the Music School is indeed fortunate to have Dr. Dalia Sakas, Director of Music Studies, and Amanda Wheeler, Director of Music Administration, as part of the trio of women who believe wholeheartedly in the mission, students and outreach of the FMDG Music School.

I look forward to sending updates and progress on a quarterly basis to all of you, our constituents, and informing you of our performance activities. I personally thank you for the opportunity to lead and take you along with us on this extraordinary adventure in music, education and advocacy. —Leslie  
  Location, location, location... In the Community
three students sitting in front of the 92 Y School of Music sign
The FMDG Music School is fortunate to have strong connections to colleagues in the music and vision communities. Thank you to those who opened their doors to us at the critical moment!

All of our programs are thriving in these locations. We will consolidate our teaching into one or two locations when feasible.

92Y and its School of Music . Led by Director Yana Stotland. With approval given by 92Y Deputy Executive Director, Alyse Myers, the Music School has a home for its Saturday, Comprehensive Music Program for Young People. Without skipping a beat, we began our spring semester on schedule, January 26, 2019. We are flourishing there. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Yana.

Kaufman Music Center Having found a home for our children, next was finding space for individual adult lessons. Kaufman Music Center's new Executive Director, Kate Sheeran, reached out and offered to fit us into their already-burgeoning schedule of classes and lessons. We are excited to have found new opportunities, learning together and from each other.

VISIONS—Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired . From the outset, VISIONS has been a grand friend to the Music School, led by the warm-hearted CEO Nancy Miller. Now our esteemed Vocal Ensemble has a home rehearsal space every Wednesday evening from 6 to 8pm. In return, we are providing a Steinway grand piano and have offered performances for in-house events. 

Funkadelic Studios . Our pop, rock and jazz ensembles as well as our individual guitar students are enthusiastic about their new digs. The staff at Funkadelic, led by Dawn Orlando, has welcomed our students wholeheartedly and our students, in turn, are very happy to be in professional space that other rockers, jazzers and commercial musicians use to rehearse and practice. We are part of the ‘happening’ scene in Midtown Manhattan!
FMDG Music School Youth Make Their Musical Mark
Matthew Herrera singing with orchestra
Matthew Herrera (11) was selected by audition to perform the treble solo in a performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. The performance featured the combined choirs of the Chancel Choir of the Presbyterian Church and the choir of Drew University as well as a full professional orchestra conducted by Dr. Matthew Webb. It took place on Sunday, April 28, 2019 at the Presbyterian Church in Morristown, New Jersey.
Madeline Mau at piano
Madeline Mau (12) attends West Windsor-Plainsboro Community Middle School in New Jersey. She plays first violin in the seventh grade orchestra and also plays in the violin section of the CMS Chamber Orchestra. She was accepted by audition into the prestigious Princeton Girl Choir, and sings in the Soprano One section. Maddy is a wonderful pianist and will be one of the featured musicians at FMDG Music School’s fall event on October 3, 2019 at the DiMenna Center, NYC.
Diana Murray
Diana Murray (13) is an 8th grader at Hunter College High School. She is one of three percussionists in her school's junior orchestra, which includes students from 7th-9th grades. She also led the drum circle in a recent showcase of her school's African American Cultural Society (AACS). The showcase featured dances, poetry readings, songs and a video montage. Diana's work at the FMDG Music School was instrumental in giving her the knowledge and confidence to lead the drum circle and to join in two dances. 
Logan Riman (14) was selected to perform and to share his story at Radio City Music Hall - Garden of Dreams in April 2019. Since its inception in 2006, Garden of Dreams has hosted its annual Talent Show at Radio City Music Hall. Each year, children from various Garden of Dreams partner organizations are presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform on the Great Stage. For one incredible evening in front of their family and friends, the children perform with talent, emotion and passion, forgetting their problems and celebrating their voices.
Every Saturday Mateusz Rogowski (17) leaves his home in Pennsylvania to attend classes at the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division, specializing in voice. He was awarded the Josephine Luby Precollege Scholarship in the fall of 2018. He has kept his connection to the FMDG Music School as well so that he can get materials for his classes transcribed into braille music. During a break in his schedule, he drives over to the FMDG Music School at 92Y to work on accessible music technology with Konrad Kamm and work on counterpoint exercises and other theory assignments.
Matthew Whitaker (18) began studying at the FMDG Music School at the age of 5 and is still actively connected. He is now traveling internationally as an 18-year jazz sensation. In 2019 Matthew was a winner of the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award for his original composition, “Emotions!”, which was composed for and premiered at our 2019 Metropolitan Museum of Art concert. Matthew embarks on his spring tour at the end of April with performances in Amsterdam, Paris, Bremen, Kassel, New Orleans, Baltimore, St. Louis, and culminating with an appearance at Dizzy’s Club in New York. He has been accepted into The Juilliard School and Berklee College of Music for undergraduate studies. 
2019 Performathon Extraordinaire
The public launching of The Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg Music School occurred on February 23, 2019 at venerable Steinway Hall. With gratitude to Karen Beluso, Director of Institutional Sales, the venue proved to be a wonderful place to debut our School and our talented students. We all believe that the performances matched the elegance and prestige of the venue. Each year students have performed with excellent musicianship, stage presence and deportment but this year, the students of all ages reached new heights.  

We are also excited to share that we set a record in funds raised: $20,125.00.  In previous years (13 to be exact), our top gross was $7500. This year's total almost tripled that amount! The message came through loud and clear to us and all present: Everyone who is involved with the Music School values and appreciates the FMDG Music School and wants to see it continue. What a wonderfully affirming message to receive!
Upcoming Performances
Helen Keller International Gala Performance (invitation only); May 8
Featuring performances by FMDG Vocal Ensemble and singer Lynnette Tatum

Comprehensive Music Program for Young People End-of-Year Recital
Date: June 8, 2019 
Time: 2 pm
Location: Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library at  40 West 20th Street  between 5th and 6th Avenues
The public is welcome.

A New Beginning: Evening of Pop, Rock, and Jazz Performances with Jam 59, VIPs, and Frasco and Friends
Date: June 21, 2019 
Time: 7 pm
Location: Greenwich House Music School at  46 Barrow Street  between Bedford and Bleecker Streets
The public is welcome.

We look forward to our future concert series in 2019-20 and will hope to return to our partnership and ‘home away from home’ at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. We are very grateful for our 21 years of partnership with The Met.
The FMDG Music School Vocal Ensemble performing at the Cloisters,
Ben Asen, Photographer
The FMDG Music School Vocal Ensemble performing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ben Asen, Photographer
Planning Ahead: Fall Fundraiser
Thursday, October 3, 2019: We will be holding our first fundraising evening to cultivate new relationships and debut a video presentation about the Music School. In addition to refreshments in the lovely Cary Hall of the DiMenna Music Center, we will showcase a few of our exceptionally talented students from The Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School. For more information, please check our website:
In The News
Shout Out to Our Professional Alliances
The Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School is incredibly fortunate to have the expertise, demonstrated professionalism, understanding, and diligence of the following three organizations to assist us on our new journey.
Lawyers Alliance for New York
In July 2018 the Music School was accepted as a client of Lawyers Alliance for New York, who are helping us in implementing our vision. We are gratified that Senior Legal Counsel, Judith Moldover, has been our wonderful advocate—with us each step of the way on our path to independence. 
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Thanks to the legal team led by attorney Daniel Berman, the Music School legal foundation was created with great care and expertise. Our application for 501(c)(3) was submitted in March 2019 and prepared thoroughly by associate Mariya Khvatskaya. Our incorporation was drawn up by associate Emilie Oberlis. A smooth transfer of assets from Lighthouse Guild was formulated and approved by this highly professional and competent team. A huge thanks to our Board member and a Director of The Filomen D’Agostino Foundation, David Malkin, for his assistance in making an introduction to Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP and enabling our legal work to move forward.
FJC—A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds
After a comprehensive application and review process, FJC accepted us as a client for fiscal sponsorship. We have been extremely satisfied with our ongoing partnership with them. Laura Hoffman and her team have provided the ability for us to raise funds under their not-for-profit umbrella.
Introduction to
The Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg
Music School Board of Directors
Travis Howe, Board Chair, Senior Vice-President at The Walt Disney Company.   Travis (as known to all of us), first and foremost, is a longstanding friend and volunteer of the Music School. Travis started working with our children in 2004, spending his time every Saturday at the Music School. How fortunate we are to have a Board Chair who understands the Music School from the ground up! 

Al Berr, Vice-Chair, retired NYSCA Deputy Director.  Al brings a wealth of experience and affinity for the arts sector in New York City. Introduced to us through our own Lisa Johnson, Al has faithfully attended our concerts and events. Al is providing wise and thoughtful insight to the Music School’s journey.

Christopher Kuo,Treasurer/Secretary, Vice-President at Credit Suisse Bank, Concert Pianist, and Philanthropist. Chris is a triple threat! He has amazing experience in raising funds and awareness of non-profit organizations who are changing society for the better, all while working in a demanding financial profession, concertizing as part of “Two Piano Journey” with his mother, Michelle, and serving on multiple non-profit boards.

David Malkin, Esq., of the Law Offices of David Malkin. David is a longtime benefactor and champion of the Music School through his role as Director of the Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation and his stalwart belief in the Music School’s ability to positively affect the lives of who those with vision loss. How fortunate we have been to be the recipient of the Foundation’s and both David and Marylyn Malkin’s support. 

Dalia Sakas, Assistant Secretary , and Leslie Jones, President, Staff.  No introductions are needed for both Dalia and Leslie. The dynamic duo have worked together as colleagues, duo pianists and friends for more than twenty years. They continue to share their passion, experience, musicianship and love of the students with everyone involved in our new chapter.

A separate Advisory Committee, reporting to this Board, will be convened at a later date to work on special projects. 
Philanthropy and You
What a start to 2019! As already mentioned, the Performathon exceeded all expectations this year. Also, individual giving included fifty-five new donors at the close of the first quarter of 2019. Corporate support included, for the first time, Goldman Sachs Giving Program. On the Foundation front, Lavelle Fund for the Blind Executive Director Andrew Fisher and his Board members voted to provide a grant to the Music School for the purpose of sustainability planning and capacity building. We have embarked on that initiative already. 

Now as an independent organization, FMDG Music School has been given the opportunity to apply for targeted grants to help us gain traction and achieve success.  
I have been reaching out to past supporters to inform them of our continuation and our need for support. While we are optimistic, like most charities, we need philanthropic funds to allow us to flourish. If you wish to contribute to the FMDG Music School, please visit our website:

The Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School begins this new chapter in its 106-year existence. With support from individuals like you, we will once again work with unrelenting perseverance and move toward a future that is bright and relevant to today’s world. 

On behalf of the students, families, faculty, staff and Board of Directors, we’d like to thank you—our supporters—for this opportunity to recreate our vision and mission for the future.