Usdan Center and Bethpage Partner to Form Usdan/Bethpage Scholar in the Arts

Print Email

Five talented Long Island music students will receive a unique opportunity to study and perform at Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts this summer, thanks to a new charitable scholarship program developed by the Usdan Center and Bethpage Federal Credit Union. The Usdan Center/Bethpage Scholar in the Arts program will give accomplished students who otherwise couldn't attend Usdan, the opportunity to study at the award winning summer arts day camp. The students have been chosen for their fine musicianship and for their achievements as outstanding representatives of their communities.

Speaking of the program, Executive Director Dale Lewis said: We are proud to become partners with one of Long Island's most community minded organizations. Bethpage Federal Credit Union is a leader in Long Island banking, while it is also a pacesetter for corporate philanthropy in our region. I am delighted to welcome Bethpage into the Usdan Center family, and am grateful to the Kirk Kordeleski, President and CEO, and to his staff for their generous support of Long Island's young artists.

As part of the Usdan/Bethpage scholarship program, five individual Bethpage community branches will, in effect, adopt a Usdan/Bethpage scholar, and host an event in each community branch during the summer. The students were introduced to their Bethpage branch sponsors at a June 8, 2011 reception that took place at Usdan Center.

The arts offer invaluable benefits to our communities, and the many deserving student artists that live and study on Long Island, said Kirk Kordeleski, President & CEO, Bethpage Federal Credit Union. Bethpage is privileged to be able to partner for the first time with the Usdan Center and develop this one-of-a-kind scholarship program for these five talented young artists.

The winners of the Usdan/Bethpage Scholar in the Arts program are: Karin Aristy of Westbury; Justin Cheung of Commack; Matthew Mantione of Port Jefferson; Alon Simpson of Bay Shore, and Kirsten Schmidt of North Massapequa. Bethpage community branches in Commack, Bay Shore, Port Jefferson, Westbury, and Massapequa are sponsoring their awards.



KARINA ARISTY is a Senior at Westbury High School. She has studied the Violin for 10 years and has been concertmistress for four years. She is a member of the Gemini Youth Orchestra. In addition to being a talented musician, Karina is also a scholar. She is ranked #6 in her High School class, and belongs to numerous Honor Societies.


ALON SIMPSON lives in Bayshore, and is a Junior at Brentwood High School. Alon was recently selected for the All-County Band and Jazz Ensemble. He is a member of Brentwood's Tri-M Music Honor Society, and is a leader in the Brentwood High School Band. In addition to having been named a 2011 Usdan Center/Bethpage Federal Scholar, Alon will be attending Usdan as a Music Staff Intern.


KIRSTEN SCHMIDT is a Junior at Plainedge High School in Massapequa. Kirsten has studied the flute for seven years. She has participated in the All-County Band for many years, and was chosen to participate in a 2010 master class with the world famous flutist, Sir James Galway.


JUSTIN CHEUNG is a Junior at Commack High School. He has studied the violin for eight years, and is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, the Model United Nations, the Commack High School Chamber and Pops orchestras, and National Junior Honor Society. Justin is also a competitive swimmer, and in 2010 became the record holder for the 50 Meter Freestyle event in the Metro JCC Swimming Invitationals. He was a 2009, 2010, and 2011 medalist in the Long Island Math Fair, and he has been selected as an All-County violinist for the past four years.


MATTHEW MANTIONE is a Freshman at Comsewogue High School in Port Jefferson. He is a trombonist who has been studying for eight years, and is the first chair player in Comsewogue's concert band and jazz band. Matthew is a member of the Gemini Youth Orchestra, with which he will perform at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall this spring.

Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts (, is the nation's premier not-for-profit summer arts day camp. Usdan, now entering its 44th season, has been declared a Best Of camp by TimeOutNY/Kids, and by NY Metro Parents, and Long Island Press. Usdan is open to all young people from age 6 to 18, and no audition is needed for most programs. Admission to Usdan is based on an expression of interest in the arts. The Center is situated on a 200-acre woodland campus in Huntington, Long Island, to which 1,600 students travel each day on buses that depart from neighborhoods throughout the New York metropolitan area. Although Usdan's mission is for every child to establish a skill-based relationship with the arts, the unique inspiration of the Center has caused many to go on to professional careers. Usdan's 60,000 alumni include actors Natalie Portman and Lisa Gay Hamilton, singers Jane Monheit and Mariah Carey, Tony-Award winning playwright Michele Lowe, Grammy-Award winning producer Adam Abeshouse, Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra conductor Adam Glaser, and members of major American orchestras, dance, and theater companies.

Usdan was formed to provide children with the arts as a companion for life through great teaching, and the camaraderie of fellow students whose bond is their love of the arts. Usdan offers more than 40 programs in orchestra, band, chorus, guitar, piano in the Music Department; ballet, modern, jazz, and tap dance in the Dance Department; musical theater or drama in the Theater Department; creative writing, fashion design, chess nature and ecology, and organic gardening. A special feature of each student's program is the Center's series of Festival Concerts, daily educational performances by distinguished artists. Some of those who have appeared at Usdan include James Galway, Yo-Yo Ma, Canadian Brass, jazz artists Jimmy Heath, Jon Faddis, Cark Terry, and Jane Monheit, the Tokyo String Quartet, the Limon Dance Company, and stars of numerous Broadway shows.

Usdan's Long Island campus includes 70 award-winning studios and theaters, each providing an inspiring collaboration with the Center's magnificent woodland. Usdan is a beneficiary agency of UJA-Federation of New York, and the Center is chartered by the Regents of the State of New York.

Bethpage Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative, existing solely to serve its members and has experienced rapid growth in recent years to become a strong alternative to banks. Bethpage was approved for the largest federal community charter in the U.S. in 2003 and now is Long Island's largest credit union and leading community financial institution with over 180,000 members, 22 branches and 60 shared service center locations throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties. As a financial cooperative, Bethpage offers better rates, lower fees and a full menu of personal and commercial financial services.

Bethpage maintains branch locations in Bay Shore, Bethpage, Central Islip, Commack, Elmont, Farmingdale, Freeport, Glen Cove, Hempstead, Huntington, Levittown, Lynbrook, Massapequa, Melville, Mineola, North Babylon, Port Jefferson, Riverhead, Seaford, Smithtown, Roosevelt and Westbury with over 250 surcharge-free ATMs in King Kullen, 7-Eleven, Walgreen's and Costco locations throughout Long Island. For more information, call 1-800-628-7070 or visit