Usdan Co-Founds the Wyandanch Youth Center Chorus

Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, the renowned summer arts day camp, has partnered with the Wyandanch Family Center/wyandanch Youth Center to form the new Wyandanch Youth Center Chorus. The Chorus gave its ...

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Wyandanch, NY - July 11th, 2014 - The new Wyandanch Youth Center Chorus is a children’s ensemble that has been created this year by Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts. The program is one part of Usdan’s initiative to support arts education on Long Island and in the Boroughs. The Chorus presented its first concert on June 10 at the Wyandanch Family Life Center where the 50-member group, consisting of first to fifth graders, performed classical, Broadway, folk and contemporary pop music. Composers included Rodgers and Hammerstein, Woody Guthrie, Bobby McFerrin and Pharrell Williams. The choral director is Melody Hall, the Assistant Teacher for Usdan’s Junior Chorus. The accompanying pianist was Andres Maldonado.

The Wyandanch Youth Center Chorus is a partnership of Usdan Center and the Family Life Center/Wyandanch Youth Center. It was established to give children a positive choral experience and since January, rehearsals have been held twice a week. The program is sponsored by Russell Albanese, a new member of Usdan Center’s Leadership Council and an award-winning “Green” real estate developer. Mr. Albanese is currently building Wyandanch Village, a major revitalization project in the area. In addition to his sponsorship of the Chorus, Albanese has underwritten scholarships for selected chorus members to study music at Usdan during the 2014 summer season.
Dale Lewis, Executive Director of Usdan Center, says of the new project, “We are enormously excited by this initiative which is enabling us to bring the arts into the lives of a new community of children. We are grateful to Mr. Albanese for making it possible.”
At the helm of his family’s 64-year-old real estate development business, Russell Albanese has more than 30 years experience in planning, designing and constructing office and residential buildings, much of it focused on making those projects environmentally sustainable. The Albanese Organization built the country’s first certified green residential buildings in Battery Park City in 2003, and in 2008 the firm opened the 33-story Visionaire in Lower Manhattan, which garnered a Platinum LEED rating. The company also transformed the 110,000-square-foot office building at 1001 Franklin Ave. in Garden City, the first Long Island multi-tenant office building to be totally retrofitted for LEED certification. In 2012, Russell Albanese was honored by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Long Island chapter.
The Wyandanch Family Life Center, Inc., directed by Jeanine Reynolds, focuses on the social and educational development of children, and on providing a safe place for children to learn and play. In furtherance of that mission the Center also operated the Wyandanch Youth Center, with a variety of sports and social activities for children and their families.
Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, counts among its alumni actors Natalie Portman, Olivia Thirlby and Jackie Hoffman, and singers Jane Monheit and Mariah Carey. It has introduced the arts to more than 60,000 Tri-State Area children since its founding in 1968. The Center is open to all young people from age 6 to18. No audition is needed for most programs – rather, admission is based on anexpression of interest in the arts. Each summer, 1,600 students are transported to the Center in air-conditioned buses each day. One-third of Usdan’s students attend on scholarship. Although the mission of the Center is for every child to establish a relationship with the arts, the unique stimulation of the Center has caused many to go on to arts careers. Alumni include members of Broadway shows and major music, theater, and dance ensembles such as the Boston Pops and the New York City Ballet.
A special feature of each student’s program is the Center’s series of daily assemblies known as the Festival Concerts. These are short educational performances by distinguished artist and by Usdan students as well. In addition to its regular programs, Usdan offers special opportunities for advanced high school- age performing artists in music and dance. Usdan Center is a beneficiary agency agency of the UJA-Federation of New York and is chartered by the Regents of the State of New York. For more information, write to Call (631) 643-7900, or visit