UNION COUNTY, NJ--Musicians with developmental disabilities and Kean University music majors will host a collaborative concert Jan. 5 at the Wilkins Theater at Kean University beginning at 7:30 p.m. About 25 members of the Academy of Continuing Education (ACE) for adults with disabilities will be joined by about 20 Kean music majors. Choirs from middle schools in Elizabeth, Rahway, Roselle Park and Union will also perform.

Among the songs the ACE and Kean students will jointly perform are "Seasons of Love" from the musical "Rent;" "Defying Gravity" from the musical "Wicked;" "Seize the Day" from the musical "Newsies;" "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper; and "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles.

"We wanted songs that are self-affirming and reflect the feeling of community that we're fostering, as well as acceptance, which we feel is an important message in these times," Marguerite Modero, musical director at ACE said.

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Kean music majors have been working with ACE students for three years, helping them learn and appreciate music and teaching them how to play instruments. Last year the Kean and ACE students formed bands called CAU Rocks and The Keaniacs. The two will combine for the collaborative concert.

"Music is the great unifier," said Lyn Schraer-Joiner, Kean's music education coordinator. "It connects all people equally and brings them together. Music bonds and that's what happened to us."

"Music is the great equalizer in that it gives our students the chance to achieve what everyone else can achieve," Modero added.

The concert is open to the public. There is no cost to attend and registration is not required.

This arts program was made possible in part by a HEART (History, Education, Arts Reaching Thousands) Grant from the Union County Board of Freeholders.

ACE is a program of Community Access Unlimited, a statewide nonprofit providing support programs and services to adults with disabilities as well as youth served under the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to enable them to live independently in the community, providing support in areas including housing, vocational skills, and life-skills training, education, advocacy, and recreation.

About Community Access Unlimited

Community Access Unlimited (CAU), celebrating 38 years in 2017, supports people with special needs in achieving real lives in the community. CAU provides support and gives voice to adults and youth who traditionally have little support and no voice in society. CAU helps people with housing, life skills, employment, money management, socialization and civic activities. CAU also supports opportunities for advocacy through training in assertiveness, decision-making and civil right. CAU currently serves more than 6,000 individuals and families, with the number served growing each year. For more information about CAU and its services, contact us by phone at 908.354.3040, online at www.caunj.org or by mail at 80 West Grand Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202.

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