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Volume 4, Number 1 | July 2022

Note from the Executive Director
Photo of Dr. Leslie Jones

The Fil has another year under its belt! And what a year it’s been. As you peruse this newsletter, you'll see that our success is sung through our students’ voices. They have been amazing throughout the first year, back in person from the pandemic. My words can only enhance what they are achieving and draw attention to the positive effects and life-changing results of keeping The Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School alive and thriving. 

I’ll keep updating everyone on the happenings at The Fil. Stay tuned—there is always more than enough news to share!

 —Leslie Jones, Executive Director

A Spring Season of Performances

Animation of a thermometer mixed with our FMDG logo

Sixteenth Annual Performathon

Once again, the FMDG Music School students came through with wonderful performances, fun interviews, and funds raised. Our annual March Performathon attracted over 500+ audience members (live and virtual) in 2022. With the professional assistance of 92NY, and our own Pablo Rodriguez, we livestreamed this three-hour event featuring both youth and adult students. You can still see snippets of the performances on our YouTube channel.

Gif of Hao Wen Deng playing piano

End of Year Recitals: 

Adults and CMPYP

Our youth and adults shone brightly in end of year recitals. What we have learned is there always needs to be a designated person to record these events. Sound quality or video angles from mobile phones don’t always capture the performances appropriately! Going forward we will correct this by hiring a professional or having an avid volunteer videographer to assist! Please enjoy the link of our highlights video.

Photo of Max dacing

Tap Dance Showcase

In January 2022, we began a terrific partnership with 92NY Harkness Dance Center. Following on the heels of virtual classes in dance appreciation-movement, FMDG Music School executive staff noted a keen interest in a stronger participation in the world of dance. Through the direction of Allison Manning, Director, School of Dance at the 92NY Harkness Dance Center, The Fil implemented two levels of tap dance to begin—youngsters and teens. Max Pollak, tap dance/body percussionist/musician extraordinaire, led these classes to a joyous conclusion at the May showcase. Our students were fabulous! We will be introducing tap dance to adults in the fall.

Photo of Maya, Vinnie, and Lana singing together

National Anthem in Central Park

Thank you to Francesco Magisano, one of our graduates who still sings with the adult vocal ensemble, for leveraging his position as Director, NYC Metro Region & Tri Achilles, with Achilles International, by inviting a CMPYP trio to sing the national anthem at the start of the Achilles International Hope & Possibility 4M Race, June 26, 2022. His comment was that he was “fulfilling a dream of partnering two of his favorite organizations for the betterment of individuals everywhere with vision loss.” Alto Maya Graves assisted her peers, Iolanta Mamatkazina, soprano, and Vinnie Wang, second soprano, by recording each part separately, syncing together all the parts, and transmitting them electronically so the trio could practice after FMDG Music School closed between spring and summer semesters! We sent this link to everyone but here is a repeat in case you missed it the first time!

New Website

Screenshot our FMDG website


We are thrilled to reveal our new website to everyone! After a six-month period of intense work, we propelled a soft launch on July 13th and are now tweaking and fine-tuning alt-text and other aspects to ready for a hard launch after Labor Day. With so much happening at The Fil, we knew that it was time to tout our accomplishments to the world. Many of you may recall, the need to scramble in November 2018 to design a logo and build a website in quick succession so that we could begin our independence with a new look, new feel, and rebirth. We succeeded and we owe deep gratitude to Amanda Wheeler and Chris Kuo for making that happen. We have now passed a milestone and are moving forward with panache! 


Photo of Anthony Vine

Creatives Rebuild New York

We are very pleased to share the news that FMDG Music School and composer Anthony Vine received an Artist Employment Program (AEP) grant from Creatives Rebuild New York (CRNY). We are one of 98 AEP participants chosen from over 2,700 applications! Read the press release here. Thanks to this grant Anthony Vine will be with us for the next two years. He will share his skills and expertise as a composer. As part of the collaboration, Anthony will compose a piece for our "The Fil at the Met” concert to be held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 19, 2023.

Consumer Technology Association logo

CTA Foundation Special Grant

A shout-out to CTA Foundation (Consumer Technology Association), an organization that has spent a decade leveraging technology to enable people of all ages and abilities to live, work, and play in a connected and independent manner.  As part of their tenth anniversary celebration, we were invited as one of ten past grantees to submit a video and summary of our work. Based on donor votes, the top nonprofit would receive a $10,000 grant and the other nine would receive $1000 each. I am honored to announce that FMDG Music School won the $10,000 award, which was unveiled at a virtual celebration on July 14.

Students’ Achievements 

Photo of Hao Wen during the 2022 National Braille Challenge

Hao Wen Deng won first place in the Freshman Division of the 2022 National Braille Challenge which took place in Los Angeles. He also received the special award for Excellence in Spelling. We know his braille reading skills will help him read the complex music scores he is studying. 

Gif of Matthew performing George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue

And celebrated alumni Matthew Whitaker recently performed George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue for the opening of the Aspen Music Festival. Matthew performed in Aspen the next day again with his own band. See Matthew live in the New York area this week at Little Island NYC’s @littleislandnyc Music and Dance Festival (July 20 & 21 at 8pm and at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (August 19 at 7pm).

Fridays at The Fil

Our plans of expansion, starting fall semester 2023, include bringing tap dance to our adult population. One solution of encouraging adult students to return to in-person learning is the offering of a new Friday afternoon package of classes in addition to individual lessons (similar to CMPYP). We plan to offer: Tap Dance; Drum Circle and Latin ensemble; Voice Lab; group ukulele instruction; and a music appreciation class. Students love the challenge of group learning, social interaction, and performing together. Currently we have a twenty-five-member vocal ensemble and two pop/rock/jazz groups.  

Mark Your Calendars for Upcoming Fall 2022 Events

  • Open Houses: August 22 (virtual) and September 6 (live)
  • Back to School Date: Tuesday, September 6, 2022
  • Conversations with The Fil: October 10 at 7pm featuring composer Anthony Vine

Call for Volunteers!

Animation of hands together around a heart

We are in need of volunteers for our Saturday CMPYP (youth) program as well as for special events and concerts. Skill sets desired are helping with refreshments, sighted guiding, ushering, photography or any special abilities which would be helpful to our student body. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Richard Thai at [email protected] or 315-842-4542.

Philanthropy and You

FMDG Music School is succeeding, in part, because you all have been generous with your support. We cannot do it alone and we appreciate all gifts, large and small. If you wish to make a donation supporting the FMDG Music School students, please consider making one now! Visit our website,, or mail a check to the School’s business address.  We thank you for helping us in our quest to succeed!

Checks may be made payable to:

The Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School (FMDG Music School)

2130 Broadway, Suite 1904

New York, NY 10023

Make a donation!
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