BERKELEY HEIGHTS— The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) presents a concert featuring the CAFÉ Choir on Friday, December 14, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. at the Chatham United Methodist Church located at 460 Main Street in Chatham. The concert is free and open to the public.

Under the direction of WIPA faculty members Timothy Maureen Cole and Jamie Baer Peterson and featuring residents of Brighton Gardens of Mountainside and Sunrise of Madison, the choir will perform holiday classics and popular standards including Edelweiss and My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music, White Christmas, Deck the Halls, Moon River, and Can’t Help Falling in Love. The choir will be accompanied by pianist Christine Ciuffreda and guitarist Rob Heinink, both faculty members at WIPA’s Performing Arts School.

Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts, one of 63 HEART Grant recipients awarded by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders this year, received $1,500 for its CAFÉ (Creative Aging for Everyone) Choir, a 12-week choral program for adults ages 55 and better that explores musical themes (e.g., Jazz, Rock, Great American Songbook, Classical) chosen by the participants. The Union County HEART (History, Education, Arts Reaching Thousands) Grant Program provides funding for 63 artists, historians and local non-profit organizations annually. The Freeholder Board established the HEART Grant Program in 1998, in recognition of the importance of culture and the arts to the Union County economy and quality of life.

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The innovative program supports projects that directly benefit the residents of Union County, that enhance appreciation for the arts, history, and the humanities, and raise awareness that cultural assets are a vital part of community well being, economic development and cultural heritage tourism in Union County.

The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.

Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 1,500 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 15 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve 500 students in grades 3 – 12 by audition. Beginning with Out of the Box Music and Pathways classes for young children, WIPA offers private lessons, group classes and ensembles for all ages and all abilities. We believe in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and believe that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay. We teach all instruments and voice and have a robust musical theater program.

Based in Paterson, New Jersey, the Paterson Music Project (PMP) is an El Sistema-inspired program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts that uses music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing. PMP provides intensive, free musical training to students throughout Paterson after school. PMP launched its first site at the Community Charter School (CCSP) of Paterson in January 2013 with 32 second graders and has since added a new class of students each year. Since its inception, PMP has partnered with the Paterson Public Schools to open the Paterson Public School 1 and 26 site as well as the CCSP 21st Century Community Learning Center Program to start a winds and brass middle school program. Last year, PMP partnered with William Paterson University’s Music After School Program to create a central band site at the Norman S. Weir School to serve over 60 students. This year, Paterson Music Project will be partnering with the Rosa Parks Performing Arts High School in Paterson to host the PMP Saturday Program which includes large ensemble rehearsal, Community Choir, Afro-Fusion Percussion Ensemble, and private lessons. There are now over 250 students in the program across the city of Paterson grades 1-8.

Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 10 counties. All of WIPA’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.