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Music at Asbury Presents “God Bless Us, Everyone” — full release

Music at Asbury Celebrates 250th Anniversary of Asbury Church

“God Bless Us, Everyone”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

MUSIC AT ASBURY FREE CONCERT SERIES

GOD BLESS US, EVERYONE

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2021 AT 4 P.M.

Miguel Acevedo

Tuckahoe, NY – Asbury-Crestwood United Methodist Church will celebrate its 250th Anniversary with a free holiday program, “God Bless Us, Everyone,” presented by Music at Asbury. The show is a staged reading of Dickens’ classic holiday story, A Christmas Carol, complemented with songs by Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens, Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard, and a selection of familiar Christmas carols for the audience to sing along. This is a 70-minute program with no intermission.

Directed and conceived by Mauro Contrastano, with Mary Thombs as music director, “God Bless Us, Everyone” stars Miguel Acevedo, Mauro Contrastano, Laura Leopard, and Julia Breanetta Simpson. Jonathan Riss will serve as the organist, with soloists Joseph Diaz, tenor and Caitlin Adler, soprano, the Asbury UMC Choir, members of Asbury Summer Theatre, and a special appearance by the Westchester Children’s Chorus.

Actor Miguel Acevedo is a well-known face to community theater fans throughout Westchester County. In recent years, Miguel has had leading roles with the Clocktower Players, Harrison

Players, Yorktown Productions, Armonk Players, Pleasantville Music Theatre and performed and choreographed eight shows for Asbury Summer Theatre during its tenure.

Mauro Contrastano

Mauro Contrastano is an accomplished musical theater actor and director, having performed in twenty-four productions and directing four musical revues for Asbury Summer Theatre from 1987 until 2007. Mauro has performed in productions with the St. Joseph’s Players in Bronxville, Town Hall Community Theatre in Eastchester, Four Star Players in Yonkers, New Rochelle Community Theatre, and has performed and directed for Actors Conservatory Theatre in Yonkers. Mauro is currently the director of theater programming at the Pelham Manor Club. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Laura Leopard’s credits include An Ideal Husband at The Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, Quartett at Brooklyn Academy of Music, Amadeus at the Barter Theatre in Virginia, and Claire in Proof at Mill Mountain Theatre in Virginia. She is also a founding member of Gotham Radio Theatre, which performs classics from theatre, literature and the silver screen with actors and sound artists performing live in vintage radio style. Julia Breanetta Simpson, vocalist / actress has appeared around the country at regional, dinner and stock theatres in such productions as Ain’t Misbehavin’, Dreamgirls, For Colored Girls, One Mo’ Time, Tintypes, and When the Nightingale Sings and in NYC venues such as New World Stages, the Triad, and the Metropolitan Room. Ms. Simpson performs throughout the Tri-State area in her one-woman shows “Harlem On My Mind,” “How Sweet the Sound,” “Julia and the Duke,” and “Classy and Sassy: A Cabaret Tribute to Lena Horne.” Julia Simpson is the founder and CEO of Breanetta Productions, whose mission is to honor and celebrate contributions made to society and world culture by African Americans.

Mary Thombs, music director, has served as Minister of Music for Asbury United Methodist Church in Tuckahoe since 2006, where she directs both the adult and

Laura Leopard

children’s choirs, plays the organ, and appears regularly as a soprano and violin soloist. She has been a member of the violin and voice faculties of the Riverarts Music Program in Hastings-on-Hudson since 1996 and served as head of the voice faculty at The Dwight Conservatory in NYC from 2005-2020. Jonathan Riss of Yonkers, organist, is the music director at Irvington (NY) Presbyterian Church, Director of Choirs at Hastings High School and Farragut Middle School, as well as Music Supervisor for the Cultural Arts Playhouse in Plainview, NY.  He is the 2013 recipient of the American Guild of Organists Choir Master Prize and earned the distinction of Fellow of the American Guild of Organists in 2016. Founded in 2016, The Westchester Children’s Chorus provides a community-based opportunity for students to further develop their vocal skills, musicianship and artistry through a shared engagement in singing. A diverse community of children comprise four auditioned ensembles spanning 1st – 12th grade. Cantus is an ensemble of 18 girls, grades 3 – 5, and is conducted by Erica Zimmerman.

Covid-19 Protocols: Proof of vaccination or negative test required; additional information about Covid-19 protocols available on our website. Masks must be worn at all times.

Reservations are strongly suggested.  Reservations can be made online at http://www.musicatasbury.com/UpcomingEvents.html or by calling

Julia Breanetta Simpson

the church office 914-779-3722 and leaving a message with name, phone number, email address, and number in your party. All reservations will be confirmed by email or phone.

Music at Asbury was launched in November of 2014 by Lu Gmoser, founding producer of Asbury Summer Theatre, and Dr. Earl F. Groner.  As a program of Asbury-Crestwood United Methodist Church, Music at Asbury is designed to serve as a social service to the community, offering free performances by some of New York City and the Hudson Valley’s finest musical artists.

Program is made possible in part by a 2021 Arts Alive Grant from ArtsWestchester and an Art$Westchester Challenge Grant.

Asbury Church was founded December 10, 1771 and has worshiped as a congregation continuously in Tuckahoe for 250 years. The Rev. Jason Radmacher is pastor of Asbury Church and Mary Thombs is Minister of Music and Chair of Music at Asbury.

For more information, contact:

Mary Thombs, Chair, Music at Asbury

[email protected]; 917-533-5747

About Music at Asbury UMC

Asbury-Crestwood United Methodist Church has a long history of outstanding music programs and a record of community service. Asbury Church and its music directors have presented choral and organ concerts to the public over many years and the Asbury Summer Theatre group operated for 32 years, presenting over 30 sold-out shows to thousands of delighted audience members. In the fall of 2014, we introduced a new three-concert series, Music at Asbury. As a program under the auspices of Asbury-Crestwood United Methodist Church, Music at Asbury has been designed to serve as a social service to the community, offering free admission to the general public for all of its concerts and reaching out to local agencies and facilities that serve the elderly, young people, Veterans, and lower income families and adults. Music at Asbury is proud to feature a wide variety of engaging, appealing, and top quality performances to entertain and educate our audiences. The series is made possible by contributions from audience members and the Asbury church community, by the local business and civic community through program advertising, and through the support of Arts Westchester’s Arts Alive grant program.