Second Steinway Soiree Benefit Celebrates BMCC’s New Music Major

October 26, 2017

Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) President Antonio Pérez and the BMCC Foundation Board hosted the College’s Second Steinway Soiree Benefit on October 25 in the Shirley Fiterman Art Center, 245 Greenwich Street in lower Manhattan.

The Soiree opened with an Hors d’Oeuvres and Cocktail Reception amid the Center’s current exhibit, The Roaming Eye. Opening speakers included longtime friend of the college and BMCC Foundation Board Member Elizabeth Butson. “We’re here to showcase BMCC’s new music major,” she said. “I’m proud of BMCC and the opportunities the College provides for its over 27,000 students.” Other speakers were President Pérez; Doris Holz, Vice President for Development and Chief Operating Officer of the BMCC Foundation, and Michael D. Hattem, BMCC alumnus.

BMCC student veterans

A performance by the BMCC Music Faculty Ensemble featured Music Professors Robert Reed on cello; Maureen Keenan on flute, Amber Yiu-Hsuan Liao on piano and Howard Meltzer on piano, as well as Music Chairperson Eugenia Oi Yan Yau, soprano.

The second half of program included inspiring performances by guest artists Paul Shaffer, musical director and former band leader on The Late Show with David Letterman; award-winning saxophonist and singer Grace Kelly, and singer/songwriter Valerie Simpson of the iconic, Songwriter Hall of Fame duo, Ashford and Simpson.

Naming opportunities to support BMCC’s Associate degree program in Music

The event celebrated and raised funds in support of BMCC’s new Associate in Science (A.S.) Degree in Music, an extraordinary opportunity for talented community college students to learn music theory as well as hone their performance skills. BMCC’s Music majors work closely with the accomplished faculty of that department. They audition for BMCC-led symphony, jazz and other ensembles, and select a specialization in Music Studies, Music Education or Music Performance.

BMCC student veterans

“To strengthen and increase opportunities for these ambitious music scholars, the Second Steinway Soiree Benefit provided naming opportunities to link the legacy of our donors with that of our students,” said Vice President Holz. “The Music Department expressed a particular need for new acoustic pianos for the practice rooms. Our gift request ranged from key naming sponsorships to the naming of rooms.”

While still receiving donations, Holz says, “We want to acknowledge and thank at this time, the following donors for their generosity: Kim Charlton and Stephen Meringoff, who have named one of the Music Department’s Boston upright pianos; Elizabeth Butson, who named a key on the facsimile piano keyboard as well as naming a Boston upright piano; Seema Boesky, Cathy Bonelli, Cathy Boyle, Kim Garfunkle, Fred Peskoff and John Buzbee.

In addition, to express its deep gratitude for Cathy and Paul Shaffer, Holz said, the BMCC Foundation will establish the Cathy and Paul Shaffer Music Scholarship and permanently recognize their friendship on the BMCC Foundation’s Donor Wall of Appreciation, located in the lobby of Fiterman Hall.

For more information on Naming Opportunities or other opportunities to give to the BMCC Foundation Board, contact Brian Haller, Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations, at (212) 220-8013 and, or Phillip Keefe, Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving, at (212) 346-8650 and


share this story »


  • Second Steinway Soiree Benefit held October 25 in Shirley Fiterman Art Center celebrates new Music major at BMCC
  • Performance program features musical director Paul Shaffer, saxophonist and singer Grace Kelly and singer/songwriter Valerie Simpson
  • Event raises funds to support the Music Department for pianos for practice rooms through naming opportunities for ensemble and other spaces in Fiterman Hall, as well as key naming sponsorships

share this story »