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Inclusivity . Accessibility . Arts for All 




Church Street School for Music & Art (CSSMA) is a unique nonprofit community school for the arts located in Lower Manhattan. Since 1990, we have been dedicated to making high-quality arts programming accessible to a diverse range of students. We believe in the transformative and therapeutic power of the arts and specialize in facilitating each student’s connection to their authentic creative voice.



Welcome to our annual fundraiser THE EVENT! We are ecstatic to have you here with us celebrating Church Street School and helping to raise money in support of our unique haven for the arts that has been serving this community for 34 years. This year, we have made fostering accessibility and inclusivity in the arts our central mission. Creating creative spaces that are available and accommodating to ALL is a lifelong passion that is near to my heart both as the mother of a child with autism and as someone who has spent their career advocating for equal representation in the arts. However, it is not a goal that I or any of us at Church Street School can achieve without the support of our community. Below you will find a list of initiatives that we will be fundraising for during the 'Raise the Paddle' portion of the evening. Please take a look and show your support for inclusivity and accessibility at Church Street School for Music & Art by lifting your paddle and helping us reach our EVENT goal of [...] raised by the end of the evening. 


Dr. Christina Placilla

Executive Director,

Church Street School for Music & Art



Learn more about the programs, initiatives, & events supported by THE EVENT. 


Student Scholarships, a Key Part of Access to the Arts for All! 

In-School Programs that Bring Church Street School’s Music & Art Enrichment Classes

and Events to Institutions Across NYC.

Free Adult and Senior Chorus Programs.


One 72 Teen Program Event (There are 12 Per Year)!

A Community Concert Featuring Church Street School’s Faculty.

A Free Open Concert Series in Downtown NYC.


One Year of Funding for Any of Church Street School’s Student Ensembles.

CSSMA’s Bi-Annual Recital Seasons, One of our Key Community Building Events!

Piano Tuning and Instrument Maintenance.


Snacks for Church Street School’s After School Program.

Upkeep for our Water Filtration System.

One Sponsored Music Therapy Session for a Family with Demonstrated Need.

Special Community Events and Workshops at Church Street School.

Musical Accompaniment for One Free Senior or Adult Chorus.

& So Much More!

Get Your Paddles Ready! Raise the Paddle & The Live Auction Will Begin at 8:15pm.


7:00 PM

Check -In, Welcome, Opening Performances, & Hors D'oeuvres


Tribeca Jazz Institute Jazz Ensemble:

Ravi Campbell, Tomas Martinez, Teo Perez, Brandon Suarez, & Caleb Tobachman

Abagael Cheng


Abby Levin - Church Street School  Development Director

Chris Marte - District 1 Council Member

8:00 PM

Honoree Presentations


Thandness Palmer & the Tribeca Jazz Institute Jazz Ensemble:

Ravi Campbell, Tomas Martinez, Teo Perez, Brandon Suarez, & Caleb Tobachman


Rob Elder - Chair of the Board, Church Street School for Music & Art

Cathleen E. Mclaughlin - EVENT 24 Honoree, Board Member, Parent, & Supporter

Johanna Kopp - EVENT 24 Honoree & CSSMA Faculty Memeber

8:15 PM

Raise the Paddle & Live Auction


Dr. Lisa Ecklund - Flores - CSSMA Co-Fouonder and Former Executive Director

Dr. Christina Placilla - CSSMA Executive Director

Lucas Hunt - Auctioneer, Hunt Auctioneers


Abby Levin - Church Street School  Development Director

9:00 PM

Live Music, Dancing, & Silent Auciton


The Event Party Band:

Kevin Bernstein, Kevin Hailey, Noah Lexi, Abby Payne, & Kenneth Shaw


Cathleen E. McLaughlin

CSSMA Board Member, Parent, Student, & Supporter

Cathleen has been a part of the Church Street School community for over 16 years. In that time she has worn many hats as a parent, Board Member, student, and supporter. Her Church Street School journey began when she was looking for a music program for her child Abagael and her nephew Cail. Immediately drawn to the warm, open, and creative learning environment CSSMA provided, she enrolled both children and has been part of the school in one way or another ever since. 


Cathleen was a vital benefactor during the move from Warren Street to White Street and has provided invaluable counsel time and time again in her role as Finance Committee Chair on the CSSMA Board of Directors. Additionally, to this

day, both she and her son Nate attend weekly private instrumental music lessons with CSSMA Faulty Members Liz Asti and Johanna Kopp.


A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. Cathleen was a Partner at the law firm Paul Hastings for many years. She recently retired in 2023.

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Johanna Kopp

CSSMA Faculty Member for Nearly 20 Years

Johanna has spent nearly 20 years at Church Street School working tirelessly to bring out the best in her students and helping them become confident musicians. Born in Switzerland, the lifelong lover of music, art and all things creative, came to CSSMA after meeting CSSMA Co-Founder Dr. Lisa Ecklund-Flores at a talk lisa was giving at the then new NYC Dalcroze chapter.


Johanna received her B.M. in Primary Education from the University of Zürich, Switzerland, and her M.M. in Piano, Choral Conducting and Music Education from the Musikhochschule in Muenster, Germany. While teaching piano, rhythm, and theory at the Musikakademie in Basel, Switzerland, Johanna studied Acting & 

Cabaret at Intermedia Studio Basel, and African Drumming and Dancing in Basel and Paris. After moving to New York City, she studied composition and jazz with Kirk Nurock, and received her certificate in Dalcroze from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. In addition to Church Street School, Johanna teaches at the Mannes College of Music, the Lucy Moses School, and at the Musikakademie in Basel during the summers.


From VIP concert tickets to original art, ballroom dancing lessons, hotel stays,
and dining experiences, this year's auction has something incredible for everyone to get excited about.

All proceeds from THE EVENT silent auction support initiatives, programs, and events at
Church Street School that promote accessiblity and inclusivity in the arts for all. 



Kevin Bernstein is a Queens based keyboardist who is garnering attention for his soulful harmonies, commanding technique, and catchy songwriting. Kevin lends his keyboard skills to a variety of singers, bands, producers, and comedians in many different genres. Kevin has performed at venues in NY such as Irving Plaza, SOB’s, the Bell House, 54 Below, and has toured extensively in the US. He currently freelances as a keyboardist, but plays regularly in the Alison Shearer Band and Slow Riches, as well as his own solo project: K-Magic.

Hailing from Ventura, California, Kevin began taking piano lessons at 8 years old and within a few years, became inspired to write music and learn as much as he could. Fast Forward to 2010, He moved to NYC to study Jazz at the Manhattan School of Music. Kevin has been a beloved member of the CSSMA Faculty since 2016.


Ravi Campbell is an emerging talent in the jazz scene, particularly known for his work as a guitarist. Based in New York City, he has established a reputation for his unique approach, blending elements of Brazilian music and rock music into his work. His style is noted for its melodic focus, bringing a fresh perspective to standards as well as his own original compositions.

Campbell has performed with a range of talented musicians both locally and internationally. His performances have showcased his ability to draw from various musical influences, creating a dynamic and engaging experience for his audience.

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Chinese American soprano Abagael Cheng (she/her) is a singing artist who strives to break the boundaries of classical performance and bring social activism to the forefront of her work. Cheng sees her role in social justice and the arts to be one and the same: that of a storyteller. She works towards deepening relationships within and between communities by engaging audiences with relatable narratives and centering collaboration in her productions. She creates unique stories by combining song, spoken poetry, and movement in her staged song recitals to foster an atmosphere of community, growth, and vulnerability. Her most recent recitals showcase her passion for challenging classical norms through unconventional programming.

Most recently, Cheng co-created, co-produced, and performed a staged chamber recital, Awakening, as part of City Lyric Opera’s 2024 artist-led season. She won the first place 

prize in the voice division of the 2023 Delta Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, and will be competing in the finals of The Philharmonic Society of Arlington 2024 Young Artist Competition later this spring. During the 2023 season, Cheng premiered chamber works at Creative Dialogue France under the mentorship of Lucy Shelton, and sang in the annual Kurtág Festival at Bard College as a soloist in Messages of the late R. V. Troussova. Other performance highlights include her appearances as the Cabaret Soloist in the world premiere of The Final Veil by JL Marlor at the cell theatre and as Chocholka in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen at The Fisher Center at Bard. A New York City-based artist, she holds a Bachelor of Music inVocal Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Oberlin College & Conservatory. She recently completed her Master’s degree in the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at Bard College Conservatory of Music. In addition to her musical pursuits, Cheng will compete this summer on the U.S. National Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team at the World Ultimate Championships in Australia. She has won gold medals in the sport at the national and international levels.

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