Earlier this month the North End Music & Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC) celebrated its 20th anniversary in style with a “Roaring Twenties” themed concert and fundraiser at Big Night Live. The event was a tribute to NEMPAC’s history, founders, and community, as well as a fundraiser to step into the future of equitable community arts.
NEMPAC was able to raise close to $174,000, thanks to the generous support of its event sponsors and the City of Boston, donations by local businesses and community members, and contributions of close to 350 guests.
The highlight of the evening was the performance of Guest of Honor, Mayor Michelle Wu, joining NEMPAC’s Music Theatre Troupe students and alumni on stage for a performance of “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”
Wu, who lived in the North End while helping raise her sister, is a classically trained pianist and had a piano moved into her office after her inauguration in January.
“When my parents first came to this country, they didn’t speak English very well,” she has said WGBH. “Music was how they could still feel connected to the community here, despite language barriers, despite other cultural barriers. Music transcended everything. I’ve been playing piano since I was four or five years old, and it’s been a source of comfort, a source of strength, a source of just finding myself.”
Since its founding, NEMPAC has thrown a birthday bash every five years. Besides a stellar musical program that included the performance by the Mayor, the guests of celebration were treated to culinary highlights and signature cocktails, a live auction, and a “buzzing and sizzling” after-party where guests danced the night away in true Roaring Twenties style.
“It was a delight to see so many long-standing NEMPAC patrons and supporters joining us for this milestone event,” said NEMPAC Executive Director Sherri Snow. “We were able to lay a strong foundation to support our mission of enriching lives in our local neighborhoods and across the City of Boston through exceptional, accessible music education and performing arts programs. We felt such bliss to have our community as well as many new faces come together and celebrate, commemorate, and dance the night away in Roaring Twenties fashion and style. We are excited to see everybody again soon at our Jazz in the Park summer concerts or our upcoming programs.”
NEMPAC also honored several supporters and staff during the celebration. Each honoree received a very special recognition for their exemplary and tireless support of NEMPAC and community arts, helping to fill the city of Boston with creativity, spark connections, and share the gift of music with Boston’s communities.
The honorees were Chair of Ways & Means and State Representative, Aaron Michlewitz; member of NEMPAC’s Board of Directors and long-standing supporter of the community arts scene, Andrea Waldstein; and NEMPAC Opera Project Artistic Director & Stage Director and NEMPAC Faculty member, Alexandra Dietrich.
In 2001, five North End mothers launched NEMPAC out of their homes to give their daughters and sons the opportunity to pursue private piano instruction. By listening to, empathizing with, and meeting a community need for youth instrument lessons, the nonprofit’s female founders banded together to make music an approachable art form for the children of Boston’s Little Italy.