Yorktown Heights, NY, October 16, 2012—The Justin Veatch Fund is about to reach a new milestone—putting young musicians it has mentored on the big stage with a major headliner. Through its music workshops during the past three years The Fund has been connecting young talented area musicians with top professionals in the music business. The latest is iconic former NY Yankees All Star Bernie Williams. Williams and his band will headline a concert sponsored by The Justin Veatch Fund at 7pm this Saturday October 20th at the White Plains Performing Arts Center in downtown White Plains. The concert had to be moved from its scheduled venue, The Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill (“The Paramount”) due to its recently announced closure.
The White Plains Performing Arts Center (“WPPAC”) is a smaller venue of 410 seats. “It’s a beautiful state-of-the-art theater with stadium seating,” says Jeffrey Veatch, President of The Justin Veatch Fund, “and despite this downsizing we’re excited about putting on an amazing show.” New tickets will be issued by the WPPC to replace concert tickets sold by the Paramount box office. These tickets will be sent directly to patrons.
The remaining 60 seats available will go on sale Wednesday, October 17 and may be purchased from The White Plains Performing Arts Center box office at 11 City Place in White Plains, at (914) 328-1600 or online at their website, www.wppac.com. “We extend our sincere gratitude to the Paramount Board, its executive director Lisa Reiss and theater manager Jay LaPierre for their professionalism and dedication to help ensure that the show will go on. We are equally thankful to generous donors who have come forward,” says Veatch.
At The Fund’s First Fridays Open Mic on October 5th Bernie Williams came by to say hello and jam with members of The Justin Veatch Fund All Stars who were rehearsing a few of the songs they had planned for the concert’s opening act. Bernie hooked up his amp and jumped into a song being performed by Mark McIntyre (guitar), Phil Rosenstock (bass), Joey Cirone (keys) and John Venezia (drums). The song was written by McIntyre who is a senior at Yorktown High School. “It was an honor to play with Bernie,” said McIntyre afterward. “He was relaxed and open and played exactly what he needed to on songs he had never heard before.” Cirone said the moment was priceless for him and his musical companions. “It was an amazing experience to jam with Bernie. Even though we had no idea what we were going to perform with him it went as smoothly as if we had been playing together for years.”
That positive sentiment was echoed by Williams when asked about performing a concert to benefit The Fund. “Having attended a performing arts high school in Puerto Rico, I was blessed to have music as a core part of my education,” said Williams. “The Justin Veatch Fund is keeping the dreams alive for so many young, talented musicians like Justin.” Williams was able to meet Helena Rodriguez, President of the Yorktown Teen Center which co-sponsors the Open Mic. It’s meaningful to Williams because the Teen Center room was renovated through the efforts of fellow Yankee organization member Rick Cerrone, who headed up the Yankees public relations during Bernie’s tenure. “It was an amazing evening,” said Veatch. “Seeing and hearing Bernie improvising with our young performers was a real treat.”
About Bernie Williams
Growing up in Puerto Rico, Bernie Williams discovered his love for baseball and music at roughly the same time. In his 16-year career patrolling center field for the New York Yankees, Williams was a four-time World Series Champion and a five-time All Star. Throughout his years with the Yankees, Williams’ passion for music never waned and the sound of his guitar would often be heard emanating from the clubhouse or during team flights. It was no surprise when Williams demonstrated how serious his musical pursuit was with the release of his first album The Journey Within in 2003. That album reached number 3 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart. Williams’ sound features fusions of jazz, rock and the tropical rhythms of Williams’ Latin heritage. His second album, Moving Forward, featured guest appearances by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Secada, Dave Koz and an all-star cast of renowned studio musicians.
About The Justin Veatch Fund
The Justin Veatch Fund is a non-profit corporation founded following the death of 17 year old Yorktown resident Justin Veatch from an accidental drug overdose in 2008. Justin was an incredibly talented singer/songwriter/musician whose music is featured in the album Permagrin: The Music of Justin Veatch by The Ivoryton Piano Factory and Friends. The Fund honors Justin’s legacy by awarding annual scholarships to talented graduating high school seniors and creating music programs to support talented young musical artists. Through its music workshops during the past three years The Fund has been connecting young talented area musicians with top professionals in the music business. Music luminaries like Sloan Wainwright, jazz guitarist Rory Stuart and violinist Daisy Jopling are just a few.
A new outreach of The Justin Veatch Fund touches at the core of the Veatch family’s tragedy. Jeffrey Veatch, Justin’s father, delivers “A Message from Justin,” a 40 minute multi-media program that showcases Justin’s music while discussing dealing with adversity, what happened to Justin, and how young people can take better care of themselves and their friends.
For tickets http://www.wwpac.com
Growing up in Puerto Rico, Bernie Williams discovered his love for baseball and music at roughly the same time, when at the age of eight he fell in love with the sounds of a flamenco guitar his merchant-marine father brought home from Spain, and also felt the same exhilaration when he first picked up a baseball bat. The young student-athlete quickly excelled in both pursuits, going on to attend the special performance arts school Escuela Libre de Musica at the age of thirteen and becoming one of the most noted young athletes on the island, both as a track and field standout posting record times in the 400 meters, as well as one of Puerto Rico’s most sought after young baseball prospects. Bernie was signed by the New York Yankees after high school in 1987. After working his way through the farm system, the switch-hitting Williams made his Major League debut with the Yankees in May, 1991.
In his 16-year career patrolling centerfield for the New York Yankees, Bernie Williams was a four-time World Series Champion and a five-time All Star. Williams has more post-season RBI’s to his credit than any other player in Major-league history and his resume also boasts four gold-glove awards, six American League pennants, the 1996 ALCS MVP award, and the 1998 American League batting title. Bernie is also among the Yankees all-time leaders in every major batting category, with his performance statistics often standing alongside such legends as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio.
Throughout Williams’ years with the Yankees, his passion for music never waned, and the sound of his guitar would often be heard emanating from the clubhouse or during team flights. Whether acoustic or electric, a guitar was a constant presence in the star’s locker or equipment bag, and it was no surprise when he demonstrated how serious his musical pursuit was with the release of his first album, The Journey Within in 2003. The record featured fusions of jazz, rock and the tropical rhythms of Williams’ Latin heritage and was met with both strong critical praise and instant chart success- reaching #3 on Billboard’s “Contemporary Jazz Chart.”
Bernie Williams raised his musical game even further with the release of his second album Moving Forward. Featuring guest appearances by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Secada, Dave Koz, and an All-Star cast of renowned studio musicians, Moving Forward debuted as Billboard’s #2 Contemporary Jazz album in the country, and continued to hold that chart position for five straight weeks, and spawned two consecutive Billboard #1 singles, Go For It, and Ritmo de Otono. The album was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Album in 2009.
In addition to performing at concert venues, music festivals, and special events, since the release of Moving Forward, Bernie spent considerable time authoring his first book, Rhythms of the Game: The Link Between Music and Athletic Performance, published by Hal Leonard Books and released in July 2011. The book examines the symbiotic relationship between musical artistry and athletic performance through the eyes of a man who has mastered both. Bernie plans to return to the studio later in 2012 to begin recording his third album. You can find Bernie online at www.bernie51.com, on Twitter @bwmusic51 and on Facebook at BernieWilliamsOfficial.
Hear Mike Bennett’s interview with Bernie Williams about the concert.