In early March at the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center, The Mental Health Association of Westchester (MHA), The Lagond Music School, and Music & Miles: Changing Minds joined forces to present a new multi-arts evening of energizing performances that shined a light on mental health issues and the power of the arts as a vehicle in sharing individual stories of healing in the face of adversity.
The evening of expressive arts benefitted the Miles Applebaum Music Scholarship Fund at The Lagond Music School and The Mental Health Association of Westchester. Performances included nine musical and dance presentations along with three “Voices of Recovery” monologues. Radio DJs Coach and Bruce Figler of 107.1 The Peak, a media partner of the event, emceed the evening.
Shari and Ed Applebaum of Armonk, Miles’ parents, were the event co-chairs. When asked what she wanted attendees to take away from the evening’s performances, Shari, who is also a Suicide Bereavement Specialist at MHA said, “A sense of hope and healing. No one goes through life unscathed. Everyone has something that they’re dealing with whether it’s a mental or physical health issue.”
The Miles Applebaum Music Scholarship Fund was established to honor and remember Miles Applebaum, a guitar student who studied at The Lagond Music School and later the Boyer School of Music and Dance at Temple University. Miles died by suicide at the age of 21 in 2014, and the Scholarship Fund was created to carry on his dream by providing aspiring musicians the opportunity to ignite their passion and study music at The Lagond Music School, a nonprofit musical haven for students of all ages.
The 2018 scholarship winners were runner-up Audrey Pretnar, a guitarist from Mohegan Lake and winner Liam Kharem, a drummer and bass clarinetist from Sleepy Hollow.
Close friends of Miles who performed at the event hoped attendees would come away with a new awareness and understanding for those dealing with mental health issues. Annabelle Hiller in her onstage monologue said, “We live in a world where sensitivity is defined as weakness. Emotions are amazing, even the sh*tty ones.”
A unique element of the evening’s performances was each of the musicians, singers, performers, and speakers had been touched in some way by a suicide or an attempted suicide. They shared their experience, strength and hope from the stage through their words and artistry with the audience.
Roseanne Lanna, Lagond Music School Co-Founder and Executive Director, who also served along with Charlie Lagond as Show Director, said she hoped the evening would offer a “sense of awareness, of noticing when family, friends, or neighbors are not acting themselves or acting out of the ordinary and to especially watch out for neighbors. We’re all connected.”
In her remarks from the stage, Shari Applebaum encouraged the audience in “taking the time to notice [others] and ask, ‘Are you OK?’”
The Miles Applebaum Music Scholarship Fund was established to honor and remember Miles Applebaum, a guitar student at The Lagond Music School and later the Boyer School of Music and Dance at Temple University.
To learn more, visit the websites of The Mental Health Association of Westchester https://www.mhawestchester.org, The Lagond Music School http://lagondmusic.org, and Music & Miles: Changing Minds https://www.musicandmiles.org.