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Jane Monheit, Mateusz Kolakowski at Usdan Center This Summer
(Published: June 10, 2009)

Usdan Center For the Creative and Performing Arts (www.usdan.com), now entering its 42nd season and declared a "Best Of" class or camp for 2009 by TimeOutNY/Kids, NY Metro Parents and Long Island Press, will open its series of Festival Concerts, private educational performances for its students, on Monday June 29 at the Center's 200-acre woodland campus. These will be in addition to many special workshops that will offer by the visiting artists for Usdan students. The Center's 2009 season runs from June 29 to August 14. Usdan is located at 185 Colonial Springs Road, in Huntington, Long Island.

The daily concerts are presented at Usdan's 1,000-seat McKinley Amphitheater at 12 Noon and again at 12:30 PM each of the festival. The concerts expose students to the best of music, dance and theatre while they are pursuing their studies in these fields. After several weeks of attending the artist performances, students take over and perform onstage themselves. In addition, there are on-site exhibits displaying the work of visual arts students.

This year's schedule of Festival Concerts opens Monday June 29 with Metropolitan Klezmer, whose performances of Yiddish genres have been called "Impeccable yet electrifying (Village Voice)." On succeeding days, artists include jazz singer and Usdan alumna Jane Monheit (July 17); and Polish jazz pianist Mateusz Kolakowski (July 14 and 15), a prizewinner of the International Chopin Competition.

Mateusz Kolakowski will also conduct workshops on July 14 and 15 with sideman, with students from Usdan Center's Jazz Department.

Usdan Center has introduced the arts to more than 50,000 Tri-State Area children since its founding in 1968. The Center is open to all young people from age 6 to 18. No audition is needed for most programs - rather, admission is based on an expression of interest in the arts. Each summer, 1,600 students are transported to the Center in air-conditioned buses each day. One-third of Usdan's students attend on scholarship. Although the mission of the Center is for every child to establish a relationship with the arts, the unique stimulation of the Center has caused many to go on to arts careers. Alumni include singers Jane Monheit and Mariah Carey, actresses Natalie Portman and Lisa Gay Hamilton, and members of major music, theater, and dance ensembles such as the Boston Pops and the New York City Ballet.

In addition to its regular programs, Usdan offers special opportunities for advanced high school-age performing and visual artists. These include Music Staff Internships, a Summer Ballet Intensive, and a year-round program of immersion in the visual arts for selected high school students, the Usdan Honors Art Collective. The Collective, open to talented art students in grades 9 to 11, begins at Usdan Center during the summer, and continues through the following May with bi-weekly meetings at Usdan, and at New York's great museums and galleries. Usdan Center is an agency of the UJA-Federation of New York.
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More Information: http://www.usdan.com


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