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Brooklyn Conservatory of Music celebrates culture, music and a turning of the pandemic corner

More than 150 musicians brought 20 neighborhood stages to life

May 27, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The streets of Park Slope were alive with music on Saturday, May 15 during the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music’s (BKCM) Spring Benefit, a free community music festival that spanned 20 stages – including stoops, sidewalks, school lots and gardens.

BKCM invited its neighbors to enjoy more than 150 musicians, including BKCM students and faculty, as well as local artists and world-renowned musicians like the Grammy Award Winning Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, who kicked off the festivities at the event’s Main Stage – P.S. 321. Everything from hip hop to classical, sea shanties to ’80s covers could be heard during the outdoor festival, creating a joyful and reinvigorating moment for a city turning the corner on the pandemic.

“During a year in which lives were so profoundly disrupted, we knew that music education would be more essential than ever,” said BKCM Executive Director Chad Cooper. “We worked hard to remain a hub for the community, closing for only three days, quickly pivoting to meet the needs of thousands of our students and clients – and all without layoffs, furloughs, or reduced wages for any of our 165 faculty and staff. Our free Spring Benefit allowed us to thank our community for remaining with us through challenging times, support musicians whose careers have been deeply impacted by the pandemic, and give the gift of music to our neighbors and partners across the city. We couldn’t be any more thrilled to have brought thousands of people together with music and help turn the corner on a really tough year.”

In addition to more than 1,500 BKCM families, friends and festivalgoers, other guests seen moving to the music included Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Zellnor Myrie, District 39 Council Member Brad Lander, and District 52 State Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon.

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Attendees dance at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music Spring Fling. Rathkopf Photography

Ticket purchases (which allowed access to food and drinks) and donations big and small supported the day’s musicians as well as financial aid to BKCM’s community programs – including Music Partners and Music Therapy, which reach thousands of youth and adults across all five boroughs of New York City.

In addition to the Main Stage at P.S. 321 and the BKCM Brass Stoop, performance stages included: the Treble Without a Cause Teen Stage at Milk Bar; selections from The Music Room at Spoke the Hub; the Dime Community Bank Klezmer Stage; Perfect Pitch Puppets at Puppetworks; Byrne it Up! Swing and Rumba Dance Stage at the Old Stone House; the Investors Bank Stage: Velvet Vocals; 80s Jams – Slope Style at The Commissioner/High Dive; Chamber Bash at Old First Reformed Church; plus the Bluegrass Jam; Jazz Trios; Student Stars; the Aria Area; Deep Blue Sea (Shanties); Dynamic Duos; Sondheim & Friends Singalong; Tots! Tunes! Pantaloons!; Beatboxing, Rhymes and Life; and Drumming Around the World – hosted on private stoops and spaces throughout the neighborhood.

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