Carnegie Hall Musicians Bring Exclusive Concert to Parkside Haven

This Spring, Westhab’s Parkside Haven community was treated to a private concert by world-class musicians. Ensemble Connect, a Carnegie Hall program that brings free music to underserved communities, performed to a packed crowd at the rapid re-housing center and treated families to an eclectic mix of Mozart, Schubert, and Villa-Lobos. The tango was especially a hit given the Venezuelan roots of many residents!

Ensemble Connect engaged residents to create an interactive experience, with audience members clapping and dancing. The youngest residents were encouraged to share their feelings about the music. One resident, a father of a daughter with a physical disability, shared that he plays classical music for his daughter daily and was brought to tears by her joy from Ensemble Connect’s performance. 

“By the time it started, there was standing room only,” shared Nicole Mylan, AVP of NYC Housing Programs. “We could have never anticipated how much the families would appreciate the music. Everyone who was in the building came!”

The connection between the residents and the ensemble’s Venezuelan violist was extraordinary. The performance prompted conversations among the audience about music, culture, and their journeys. 

Ensemble Connect violist, Ramón Carrero Martínez shared, “I was pleased to be asked to lead the concert in Spanish for the residents. It was a special moment for me because of our commonalities, there was even someone from my hometown of Caracas! As a Venezuelan, I am very proud to be part of the prestigious Ensemble Connect and enthusiastically share all the work the musicians put into creating these interactive performances for all New Yorkers. It was incredibly meaningful for me to perform for all the families at Parkside Haven community.”

The relationship between Ensemble Connect and Westhab began with an inquiry from the Carnegie Hall program to the nearby Park Savoy Rapid Re-Housing Center, operated by Westhab. Since then, Westhab staff have engaged the ensemble to bring prestigious music to various sites, including the all-senior population at Westhab’s Queens Boulevard, and now Parkside. 

Westhab relies on its amazing network of community partners, like Ensemble Connect, to help fulfill its mission of Building Communities and Changing Lives. Ms. Mylan added, “It is amazing to see the halls of a shelter filled with world-class music. It is not the venue people expect to see this in, but it demonstrates that everyone appreciates and deserves the beauty of world-class music. Ensemble Connect has a fantastic mission and has helped spread the joy of music at Westhab!”

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Posted in Westhab Stories.