Masters School Hosts A Cappella Against Cancer

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DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – The sounds that filled The Masters School’s auditorium were those of a multi-piece band with various instruments.  Yet there were no instruments, only the voices of high school students as they participated in the 13th annual A Cappella Extravaganza Sunday afternoon. 

The event in Dobbs Ferry is held every year by the Gilda’s Club of Westchester, an organization that offers free social work and support for those who are impacted by cancer.  Stacey Zanomi, a social worker at Gilda’s Club and the co-coordinator of the event, said the music-filled afternoon is a key fundraiser for the club.

“All of the money raised goes directly to our support groups and programs,” Zanomi said, who added that the event raises around $2,000 each year through ticket sales and concessions.  “So it’s a great cause and the show is great.”

This year, the schools that participated were A cappella groups from Westlake High School, Rye Country Day School, Bronxville High School, Scarsdale High School and multiple others.  Each group was given six minutes on stage to perform two songs of their choice.  The songs included cover versions of music by artists such as The Jackson Five, Kansas and Lupe Fiasco. 

In addition to the high school performers, the event is run by high school students in the Gilda’s Club’s youth committee.  The goal of youth committee members is to spread awareness about cancer and the Gilda’s Club of Westchester to the members of their high school and community. In total, 15 high schools around Westchester are represented by volunteer workers in the committee and the A Cappella Extravaganza is their big event each year. 

“Most of the youth committee members that help us put this event together and run it have been touched in some way by cancer,” Zanomi said.  “So this is their way of giving back.”

On Sunday, it was Amanda Peglise’s job to keep members around the auditorium and backstage as quiet as possible.  Due to the nature of the show in which the performers use their voices to imitate instruments without the direct use of a microphone, silence is key. 

“It’s important that the people are able to hear the performance so it’s really important that the people around aren’t loud or restless,” said Peglise, a student at the Good Counsel Academy in White Plains. 

As for the musical performances, Zanomi couldn’t pick just one song that was her favorite.

“I think they’ve all been really great,” she said.

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