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‘Echoes Of Sinatra’ Raises Funds For Future NYA Programming



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Guests of “Echoes of Sinatra with Special Guest Dean” were transported back to a time when suave vocalists performed to guests seated around tables in smaller settings.

A special event on February 1 transformed the front lobby of the massive Fairfield Hills NYA Sports & Fitness Center into exactly that: an intimate setting where groups of friends, couples, families, et al enjoyed a light dinner before a performance.

Using recorded music for backing, Steve Kazlauskas offered a tribute performance of Frank Sinatra. Trading off every few songs, Jack Lynn portrayed fellow vocalist and Rat Pack member Dean Martin.

Both men kept the music going, pausing only to share personal anecdotes or backstories about each song about to be performed.

Approximately 40 people attended “Echoes of Sinatra,” comfortably filling the lounge area that had been created for the evening. Many took advantage of some open floor space to dance during the performances.

NYA Adaptive Sports Benefit

The evening doubled as a fundraiser for NYA’s Adaptive Sports & Play program, which offers multi-sport activities for children ages 5-10 who need adapted activities.

The program debuted in autumn 2019 and is currently running its second six-week series. Children from Newtown and surrounding communities are welcome.

Maggie Conway, chair of the board of directors for NYA, said last week that it had long been a desire of hers to see a program at NYA that echoed one already in place at two of Newtown’s schools.

“We are a community-driven organization,” she said, “and thus want to make sure we have something for everyone in the community. The Newtown middle and high schools have wonderful Unified Sports programs, but unfortunately there wasn’t anything of its kind for the younger grades.”

It was a conversation Ms Conway had early last year with two mothers of elementary-age children that sparked the idea of a similar program at NYA. Ms Conway then spoke, she said, with NYA Executive Director Ian Yorty, Finance Director Felice Blanco, and the board of directors, “and the end result was the Adaptive Sports program was created.”

Ordinarily, Ms Conway said, such a program would cost between $150 and $175 per child per six-week session.

“Through fundraising efforts, it is our hope to maintain the current price of $30 per participant,” she said. The program is presented by NYA staff and volunteers.

The series currently underway has 15 children registered, four more than the inaugural session, Ms Conway pointed out.

“The feedback has been positive and it is a much-needed program,” she said this week. Last weekend’s special event was the first fundraiser specifically earmarked to sponsor NYA Adaptive Sports & Play.

“The entertainers were excellent,” Ms Conway said. “It was a fun evening for all, and we are very excited to have raised enough money to sponsor nine of the kids. We sincerely thank everyone who attended and those who have made generous donations.”

The gathering area within the lobby of NYA Sports & Fitness Center was transformed into a lounge on February 1 for “Echoes of Sinatra with Special Guest Dean.” The event opened with dinner, before Steve Kazlauskas, right, began entertaining the crowd. —Bee Photos, Hicks
Jack Lynn, on the left, looks on last Saturday night at NYA Sports & Fitness Center while Steve Kazlauskas shares an anecdote ahead of performing a song made popular by Frank Sinatra. The two men alternated performing, with Mr Lynn impersonating fellow Rat Packer Dean Martin.
Marybeth and Matthew D’Amico, who recently celebrated their 15th anniversary, were among those who enjoyed some dancing during “Echoes of Sinatra with Special Guest Dean.” Jack Lynn is in the background, performing as Dean Martin during the fundraiser.
Jack Lynn shared anecdotes about, and then sang songs popularized by, Dean Martin during the February 1 special event at NYA.
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