Arts & Entertainment

Student at Temple Emanu-El in Westfield Creates Rock Concert to Benefit Musical Education for Children

Temple Emanu-El student Matt Levine is organizing a benefit concert for the organization Little Kids Rock as part of his bar mitzvah service project.
Bad Habit: Andres Holguin, guitar (Old Bridge), Loren C. Fortna, vocals (Scotch Plains), Mark Tully, bass (Hawthorne), Mine Dellipaoli, drums (Long Branch).
Clockwise from top: Matthew Krajewksi, guitar ; Charlie W. Jackson, drums (Scotch Plains); Eric Harrison, vocals (Scotch Plains); Mike Doktorski, bass; Eric Kvortek, keyboards
Matt Levine playing at the EEF MusicFest 2016 with guitar teacher Loren C. Fortna

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Terrill Middle School seventh grader and Temple Emanu-El student Matt Levine is organizing a benefit concert for the organization Little Kids Rock as part of his bar mitzvah service project. The event will feature local bands at the Crossroads restaurant and music venue in Garwood on Sunday, June 11 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Little Kids Rock is an organization that provides music education in areas where music has been cut for budgetary and financial reasons. The organization has helped over 500,000 students nationwide. A guitarist and an aspiring singer-songwriter, Levine knew this was how he wanted to make a difference.

“Everybody should have music in their lives. Music has enriched my life, made me a better person and I can’t imagine my life without music and my guitars,” said Levine. “I want to help other kids have that same opportunity.”

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Levine performed at last year’s SPF EEF MusicFest at Crossroads and, remembering that experience, knew having his own benefit concert to share in his passion for music was his calling. Referring to music as his “creative and therapeutic outlet for my innermost thoughts and feelings,” Levine credits several people, including his dad and his music teacher, for making this idea a reality.

“My dad first told me about Little Kids Rock and after some research, I knew I wanted to be a part of this cause,” explained Levine.

Once Little Kids Rock expressed their excitement and enthusiasm toward the idea, Levine contacted Crossroads owner Lee Frankel about hosting the event. Frankel, known to be accommodating for several fundraising and musical events throughout the year, agreed to book the venue. Between Levine and his guitar teacher at Scotch Plains Music Center, Loren C. Fortna, who both worked to contact local bands and groups, five bands are slotted to perform at the benefit on June 11 – including Fortna’s own group, Bad Habit.

Below is the lineup for the performances.

Above the Moon (Madison, NJ)
A four-piece that melds indie pop melodies with 90’s rock intensity. 

The Mylars (Union, NJ)
The Garden State's newest super-charged rock and roll outfit with a back story too good to even try and embellish. 

The Well Wish 
A female-fronted quartet blending the sounds of alternative and indie rock based out of New Jersey.

Bad Habit (Scotch Plains, NJ)
We are excited for the long anticipated reunion of Bad Habit with Loren C. Fortna 

Eric Harrison's Crash Chorus (Fanwood, NJ)
Singer/Songwriter Eric Harrison and the semi-legendary musical collective known as Eric Harrison's Crash Chorus.

Levine also plans to perform a short set of his own original music at the event, as will Lexi Melnitsky, an SPFHS sophomore. In addition to the benefit, Levine has set up a crowd rise page for those that may want to help but are unable to attend.  From both of these efforts, he hopes to raise at least $2,000 for Little Kids Rock.

Click here to donate on the Crowd Rise page .Levine will become a bar mitzvah in September at Temple Emanu-El in Westfield.

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