Local nonprofit MoorArts’ mission is to promote the fine and performing arts in the community.
“We’re in business to support the fine and performing arts,” said MoorArts Vice President Andrea Seuren. “We believe that the arts really are for everybody, regardless of where you are in the salary scale. Our mission really is to have a venue, and an avenue for people to be able to show their art, whether it’s physical art or whether someone is performing, singing or playing musical instruments.”
In keeping with this mission, the organization is hosting a night of the music of piano man Billy Joel, performed by tribute band New York State of Mind, at Moorestown High School on Saturday, June 15.
According to Seuren, proceeds from MoorArts-sponsored events support scholarships for eligible Moorestown High School seniors and the MoorArts Grants Program for arts-based projects in the school system.
Through MoorArts, Seuren hopes to fill in the gaps left by cuts to school funding for arts programs.
“We’re thrilled to be able to do scholarships every year for students and to help our teachers with things that the district doesn’t have money for sometimes. With continued cuts to the arts, it has hurt every school district,” said Seuren.
This year’s musical performance, the proceeds of which will be going toward the aforementioned grants and scholarships, represents a bit of a departure from MoorArts’ typical programming around this time.
“Typically we have a summer musical, and this year we decided to change it up a bit,” said Seuren. “We’re always looking for quality programs and events that give people quality performances and thus: New York State of Mind.”
Although NYSOM is based in North Jersey and New York, Marc G. Dalio, lead singer and “piano man” for the group is no stranger to MoorArts. In fact, in years previous, he directed two of its musical shows, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and “Evita.”
When she first saw Dalio perform with NYSOM last year, Seuren says she was “blown away” and asked if he would bring his band to Moorestown to play.
“The musicianship that is on stage is absolutely incredible. Marc himself is an accomplished musician, so when he sits down and plays, I can tell you, you think it’s Billy Joel playing,” said Seuren.
Dalio is the coordinator of musical theater studies and professor of voice at New Jersey City University, and has a history as a Broadway actor. He brings his considerable performing arts experience to the table with his band’s performances.
According to Dalio, a NYSOM performance is more than your typical concert where the band plays and the audience just listens.
“It’s a quasi-interactive show, we expect the audience to be singing along, there’s some Billy Joel trivia and facts that come up through the evening and a bit of a multimedia show with projections that are running about Billy Joel during the performance,” said Dalio.
The members of NYSOM range in age from members in their 20s to members in their 60s, and Dalio sees this as a testament to the timelessness of the material they perform.
“It’s remarkable how many people come to these events and know every word to everything we’re doing,” said Dalio.
With his band’s upcoming performance, Dalio is looking forward to working with MoorArts again and particularly to be bringing something new this year.
“What I’m most excited about is hitting the MoorArts community and the community of Moorestown with something completely different from this arts organization in the hopes that MoorArts can spread its wings even further and continue to offer different musical and/or theatrical performances to their community,” said Dalio.
NYSOM will be performing at Moorestown High School on June 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available in advance at moorarts.org for $25 and will be available at the door the night of the show for $30.