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Musical showcase to benefit cancer center

Updated 10:56 am, Sunday, January 12, 2014

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  • Instructors from the Pop Music Academy will accompany singers, musicians and professional performers at the annual showcase Jan. 25 to benefit the Stamford Hospitalís Bennett Cancer Center Music Therapy Program. Band members, from left, are Josh Carruthers on drums, Artistic Director Christine Occhino on vocals, Lisa Occhino on keyboard, Richard "Cookie" Thomas on vocals, Pete Cornell on guitar and Musical Director Aaron Staniulis on bass. Photo: Contributed Photo, Contributed / New Canaan News Contributed
    Instructors from the Pop Music Academy will accompany singers, musicians and professional performers at the annual showcase Jan. 25 to benefit the Stamford Hospitalís Bennett Cancer Center Music Therapy Program. Band members, from left, are Josh Carruthers on drums, Artistic Director Christine Occhino on vocals, Lisa Occhino on keyboard, Richard "Cookie" Thomas on vocals, Pete Cornell on guitar and Musical Director Aaron Staniulis on bass. Photo: Contributed Photo, Contributed

 

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The Pop Music Academy Showcase, scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 at Rippowam Middle School in Stamford, will raised money for the Bennett Cancer Center.

Singers, musicians, a live band and professional performers will be featured in the annual showcase. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Stamford Hospital's Bennett Cancer Center music therapy program is the beneficiary.

Stamford Hospital's music therapist, Amy Zabin, said, "Last year's showcase was the best show I've ever seen run for kids. Ever."

Zabin works with patients individually and in groups to provide emotional coping tools that help decrease fears, pain and feelings of isolation for people who are hospitalized or receiving chemotherapy. Before the show's intermission, Zabin will speak about her work with the program.

The Pop Music Academy opened in February 2012. Students have received training leading to accomplishments in movies, national commercial spots, professional bicoastal talent agency deals and admission into the world's most prestigious music colleges. Students have also created music videos, original music CDs ready for shopping to record labels and artist management, and performed at several local fundraisers and events.

"My focus as a vocal coach is not only to make learning fun and improve my students' musical skills, but to also to teach them how to use their talents to give back to the community and help others," Christine Occhino, artistic director of The Pop Music Academy, said.

The showcase will also help raise funds for music scholarships for underprivileged students so they can have access to performing arts education and be exposed to professional opportunities in the music industry.

"It truly means so much to me and to everyone involved to be able to offer opportunities to talented children who would otherwise not be able to take lessons," Occhino said. "It makes all the hard work worth every second knowing we are able to help people through something we love that connects us all: Music."

The showcase will feature performances from local jazz vocalist Richard "Cookie" Thomas of Stamford, who will be the host, along with Occhino. Additionally, a band consisting of academy instructors Aaron Staniulis, the musical director, on bass, Pete Cornell on guitar, Lisa Occhino on keyboard and Josh Carruthers on drums will perform.

The "Popstars 101 Class" project, where young students has the chance to record their song in a professional studio and perform in their own music video, will be debuted.

Advance tickets are $10 and can be purchased by visiting ThePopMusicAcademy.com, calling 203-322-4767 or at the academy, 1200 High Ridge Road, Stamford. Tickets at the door are $20.