April 25, 2016 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
540 Nepperhan Avenue Yonkers, NY 10701
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
The Westchester Center for Jazz and Contemporary Music, Yonkers (YoHo)
Thursday May 12, 2016. 2pm
Mayor Mike Spano To Attend
Debut Performance By Joey Berkley’s Bandits
The Westchester Center For Jazz And Contemporary Music is pleased to announce it will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its just completed 1,700 square foot space in the historic Alexander Smith Carpet Mills Complex in Yonkers, located at 540 Nepperhan Ave.
The space has undergone $240,000 in renovations and includes a performance stage, audience seating and a lounge.
The building is also home to the YoHo Artist collective a diverse group of over 75 artists practicing their crafts.
Mayor Spano is scheduled to be on hand to offer a few remarks and to assist in the ribbon-cutting.
“We’re delighted Mayor Spano has agreed to join our celebration.” said Liz Sander.
Beginning in May, The Westchester Center for Jazz and Contemporary Music will offer ensemble programs for musicians of all ages and skill levels, as well as courses in theory, jazz improvisation and composition. Programs at the Center are expected to cost about $145 per month. The Center will offer scholarships for those in financial need.
After searching the area for a jazz ensemble program that would challenge their sons, Paul and Elizabeth Sander decided to create their own program and formed The Westchester Center for Jazz and Contemporary Music. The Sanders then appointed Joey Berkley, a successful professional musician and educator with a career spanning over 30 years, to be the Center’s director.
“Having seen Joey work with both teenagers and adults, he has an unique ability to engage and challenge students to achieve their best. The first time I saw him teach, I knew immediately this was the person I wanted to work with” Liz said.
The school’s ensembles directed by Berkley will also include professionals from his bands to participate and contribute to the teaching process. One of the key components of the Center’s programs is to bring in professionals to share their experience and advice while playing alongside the students, helping them to sharpen their skills.
Brought up as a jazz musician firmly rooted in the tradition of Coltrane, Miles, and Monk, Joey developed his own sound by incorporating these influences. Berkley’s career as a tenor saxophonist, recording artist has evolved through a variety of stages: first as an in-demand sideman; to the founder/leader of various bands including Joey Berkley Quartet (JB4), Funkasaurus Rex, Four Good Reeds and the Westchester Jazz Orchestra, to present day band, Joey Berkley’s Bandits.
In May, Joey Berkley’s Bandits will release their self-titled album. The Center will be sponsoring a series of performances in the Tri-State area celebrating the album’s release; the first being at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Liz Sander is executive vice president and chief actuary at Odyssey Reinsurance Co. in Stamford, Ct. Paul Sander is a former software development professional who is a teacher and doctoral candidate in theology at Fordham. The Center is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a national nonprofit arts organization which is able to accept tax deductible donations on the Centers behalf.
“This is our way of giving back to the community and supporting the arts” says Liz.
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