10th annual benefit concert launched the holiday season!

The 10th Annual New York City Christmas: A Concert to Benefit ASTEP was a smashing success! With a sold out show, over 200 people gathered at Joe’s Pub on Mon Dec 10 to celebrate the holiday season while raising funds for vital arts programming for young people from underserved communities.

This benefit concert and album is special labor of love created by the incomparable music director, orchestrator and arranger Lynne Shankel (Allegiance, Bare, Altar Boyz, Cry-Baby) and performed by an incredible line-up of artists, including Tony Winner Lindsay Mendez (Carousel, Wicked, Godspell, Everyday Rapture), Sierra Boggess​​ (​Little Mermaid, Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock​), ​Gerard Canonico​​ (​Be More Chill, Groundhog Day)​, ​Becca Gottlieb ​​(Nicholas Nickleby, Grand Theft)​, ​Chester Gregory ​​(Motown, Sister Act,​ ​Dreamgirls, Hairspray), ​David Josefsberg ​​(The Prom, The Wedding Singer)​, ​Derek Klena ​​(Anastasia, Wicked),​ ​​Melody Madarasz​​ (Mad Libs Live, The Little Mermaid ​(tour)​),​ ​Lauren Marcus​​ (​Be More Chill, The Jonathan Larson Project)​, ​​Eric William Morris​​ (​King Kong, Corum Boy​),​ Alyse Alan Louis ​​(​Amelie, Disaster!, A New Brain (​ CityCenter))​, ​Shea Renee (​Allegiance)​, ​Marissa Rosen​​ (​Bedbugs, My Big Gay Italian Wedding​),​ ​​recording artist ​Anya Singleton​​, and Sally Wilfert​​ (Assassins,​ ​The Adventures of Tom Sawyer​).

Also appearing will be musicians Shankel (Piano),​ Joe Mowatt (Drums), Randy Landau (Bass), Peter Calo (Guitar), Eric Davis (Guitar), Summer Boggess (Cello), Max Mosten (Violin), Colin Brigstocke (Trumpet), Harry Hassell (Saxophone) & Scott Kreitzer (Saxophone)

A big thank you to everyone involved, especially our event sponsors!

Volunteer Spotlight: Ali Dachis


This week, our Volunteer Spotlight is on Ali Dachis!


Why do you volunteer with ASTEP?
Because I believe in the transformative power of the arts. Because it makes me feel good and allows me to have personal connections with the world around me.

How long have you been volunteering with ASTEP?
Almost 7 years!

What programs have you been a part of with ASTEP?
artsINSIDEOUT, ICC, WIN, ASTEP on STAGE!, Ecuador, Artist As Citizen Conference, KCACTF, RYSA/IRC, and Hole in Wall Gang Camp. I think that’s it?

What is your favorite memory from an ASTEP program?
This year (2018) in South Africa for ArtsINSIDEOUT (2018) my 6 year olds had just made flying butterflies in our art class, and I asked them what sound do butterflies make? (Thinking they would be silent) and they made the most beautiful gentle fluttering sounds. It surprised me and brought me such joy. It’s the small things.

Thank you, Ali, for volunteering with us at ASTEP for 7 years! You have been a vital part of so many of our programs, and we cannot do our work without you!

To learn more about ways YOU can get involved with ASTEP, email Sami Manfredi at sami@asteponline.org.









Announcement: Fall 2018 Jennifer Saltzstein Kaffenberger Fellowship Recipients

ASTEP is thrilled to announce that Katrina Yaukey and Will Thomason have been selected as recipients of the 2018 Jennifer Saltzstein Kaffenberger Fellowship!

The Fellows will be taking the lead as Program Facilitators at our ASTEP on STAGE! sites in Harlem and the Bronx with CHOICES Alternative to Detention Programming. At this program, Will and Katrina will help ASTEP Volunteer Teaching Artists share their magic with young people who have been involved with the justice system. This program will give students the ability to share their voices and choices through the arts, all while having fun!

The Jennifer Saltzstein Kaffenger Fellowship gives this unique opportunity to individuals who closely model Jennifer’s personal values and skill set and ensures all young people, regardless of their backgrounds, will experience the transforming power of the arts, much as the arts impacted Jen’s life.

“It’s an incredible and unexpected privilege to have been chosen for this fellowship. The way in which Jennifer’s family has chosen to honor her legacy with this program is a gift to so many people. It’s wonderful that Jennifer’s passion for the arts will continue to be shared by many people!”
– Katrina Yaukey, 2018 Jennifer Saltzstein Kaffenberger Fellow

“ASTEP has easily been the highlight of my Fall. I have enjoyed playing word games in the Bronx, building relationships with high-schoolers in Harlem, and hanging out and sharing music with kids living in a residential facility next door to my apartment in Washington Heights, and all of these opportunities to share and grow are thanks to ASTEP programming. Becoming a Jennifer Saltzstein Kaffenberger Fellow further excites and inspires me to give to these ASTEP programs. I will aspire to give passionately and compassionately, as I understand Jennifer did. I look forward to my continued involvement with ASTEP, and I thank you for making it possible to do so.”
– Will Thomason, 2018 Jennifer Saltzstein Kaffenberger Fellow


Volunteer Spotlight: Nate Rothermel


This week, our Volunteer Spotlight is on Nate Rothermel!

Why do you volunteer with ASTEP?
My impulse to volunteer with ASTEP has a lot to do with the fact that I identify with and champion its mission: to provide opportunity and experiences in the arts to communities and places which are impoverished of such. There is a genuine care and purpose at the core of each ASTEP program, and being a part of that and of service to that is an absolute honor.

How long have you been volunteering with ASTEP?
I have been volunteering with ASTEP for 5 years: I started volunteering with my ASTEP Chapter at Albright College my freshman year, and have continued volunteering to today!

What programs have you been a part of with ASTEP?
I have volunteered with and been the Artistic Director of ASTEP at Albright, taught in ASTEP’s Teach for India program, and am currently the President of ASTEP’s National Chapter Committee.

What is your favorite memory from an ASTEP program?
Each morning at Teach for India my students and I would walk to the classroom we utilized in their village, and along the walk we would share conversations about our days, about the differences and commonalities between India and the United States, and about our lives–hopes, dreams, stories. There’s something special about these walks and conversations, because they illuminate for me how vital it is to foster meaningfully shared experiences, and hopefully bring us one step closer to breaking the cycle of poverty existing in our world. 

Thank you, Nate, for volunteering with us at ASTEP! The initiative you take to do amazing work does not go unnoticed, and we cannot do our work without you!

To learn more about ways YOU can get involved with ASTEP, email Sami Manfredi at sami@asteponline.org.







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