Arts & Entertainment

Press Releases

People with disabilities join Kean music students and Roselle children's choir in special concert

John Drescher (left) and Terrell Ross (right) flank Kean University music department professor Robert Rocco, who taught the two members of Community Access Unlimited to play the radio baton.

"We're All in This Together" was the theme of a collaborative community concert held last night at the Wilkins Theater at Kean University. The concert featured 30 adults with disabilities who are members of Community Access Unlimited (CAU) and attend the agency's Academy of Continuing Education (ACE), 35 Kean University music students and alumni and a choir of more than 90 students from the Roselle School district.

Community Access Unlimited (CAU) is a statewide Elizabeth-based 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, in areas including housing, vocational and life-skills training, education, advocacy and recreation.

The concert was an outgrowth of ongoing collaboration between Kean's music department and ACE, according to Marguerite Modero, director of the academy. Kean students have been working with ACE students in their music appreciation class.

Sign Up for E-News

 

"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."

 The united ensemble performed a variety of songs, including "Bohemian Rhapsody," "One More Day," songs from Broadway plays "Les Misérables," "Shrek the Musical" and "Seussical" and the theme piece, "We're All in This Together."

"All our songs are meant to make a statement," said Modero. "They speak to self-actualization, becoming the person you want to be and living the life you want to live."

CAU members John Drescher and Terrell Ross were among those who participated and played a radio baton, one of only 10 such instruments in the world. The radio baton allows a performer to conduct and control a musical score stored in a computer, similar to how a conductor leads an orchestral performance. Drescher and Ross practiced for months prior to the concert with Kean music faculty member Robert Rocco.

Drescher, who has always been interested in music, said the concert was very meaningful to him.

"It felt great," he said. "I had a great time and I loved when everyone was giving us a standing ovation. It was a night I'll never forget."

The concert also served as a learning tool for those Kean students who participated and for the wider public, according to Schraer-Joiner and Modero.

"It's a great message for my students who work with people with disabilities," Schraer-Joiner said. "It helps them understand music is tactile and everyone, regardless of background, should be able to express themselves."

"This is one more step in public awareness that people with disabilities have talent and should be able to show it," said Modero.

About CAU

Community Access Unlimited (CAU), celebrating its 36th year of success in 2015, supports people with special needs in achieving real lives in the community.  CAU provides support and gives a 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 rights.  CAU serves more than 5,000 individuals 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.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Clark

Operation Iraqi Freedom: Stephen C. Benish, United States Army, Pfc., 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division

Stephen C. Benish was awarded The Bronze Star Medal 

"for meritorious service from 11 August 2004 to 28 November 2004, while assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 503 Infantry Regiment, 2d Brigade Combat Team, 2d Infantry Division.  He gave the ultimate sacrifice during combat operations supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Private First Class Benish’s duty ...

First Congregational Church of Westfield Hosts ‘Journeying Across the Divide: Communicating with the Other’

May 26, 2017

FIrst Congregational Church of Westfield will host a forum on communicating during divisive times titled “Journeying Across the Divide: Communicating with the Other” on Sunday, June 4, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 125 Elmer Street in Westfield. This event is free and open to the public. 

A follow-up to an earlier FCC seminar titled “Preserving Safety, ...

Memorial Day Remembrances at Clark Elementary Schools

CLARK, NJ - On Friday, May 26, both Valley Road School and Frank K Hehnly School in Clark, celebrated Memorial Day with their annual assembly programs. Local veterans visited the schools and shared stories about their service.

Mrs. Mary Arrowood, first grade teacher at Hehnly, spoke to the students in both elementary schools about the importance of taking some time this weekend to remember the ...

Drug Bust: Over $60K in Illegal Drugs and a Firearm Seized from Scotch Plains Home

May 26, 2017

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Detectives from the Scotch Plains Police Department, the Union County Narcotics Strike Force and the Union County Special Weapons and Tactics Team executed a search warrant at 518 Forepaugh Ave. in Scotch Plains that led to the arrest of two residents and the seizure of more than $60,000 in illegal drugs, local officials said in a release issued on Thursday ...

Obituaries

PLAINFIELD -  Anna ( nee Mieszkalski ) Bozek, 97, passed away peacefully on Monday, May ...
Read more
SOUTH PLAINFIELD - John J. “ Bottles” Greco, also known as "Bruh", 70, ...
Read more

Summer Vacation Without Breaking the Bank

When setting your family budget, often the first thing that gets slashed is the summer vacation. However, if you plan ahead, you can find simple ways to save and keep your vacation on the calendar. Here are a few ideas.

Flexible location. Sometimes you just want to get away to recharge and the location isn’t the biggest factor. If your heart isn’t set on a specific city, find a ...