Cultural Events

Young Sandy Hook Violinist Lending Talent To NPC-FUN Benefit

Published: December 22, 2017 at 12:00 am


Violinist Zoe Lonsinger, 12, of Sandy Hook will be among the featured performers at a benefit concert co-produced by Families United in Newtown and Newtown Parent Connection. The free "Winter's Concert for Our Community" will be offered Friday,…
Violinist Zoe Lonsinger, 12, of Sandy Hook will be among the featured performers at a benefit concert co-produced by Families United in Newtown and Newtown Parent Connection. The free "Winter's Concert for Our Community" will be offered Friday, December 29, at Newtown United Methodist Church, 92 Church Hill Road.

The soaring sound of strings will punctuate a winter's night, when Newtown Parent Connection (NPC) and Families United in Newtown (FUN) sponsor a free "Winter's Concert for Our Community" on Friday, December 29, at 7 pm. The special event will be presented at Newtown United Methodist Church, 92 Church Hill Road.

Among the latest additions to the bill of performers is 12-year-old Sandy Hook violinist Zoe Lonsinger, who made her orchestral debut with Danbury Symphony when she was 8 years old. She has since performed as a soloist with Waterbury Symphony in 2014, as well as with American Chamber Orchestra and Ottawa Chamber Symphony this year.

She is already known internationally, having recently captured second prize in the Andrea Postacchini International Violin Competition in Italy.

Zoe is a current member of the New York Youth Symphony. She participated in Cuatro Puntos' Chamber Music for Peace workshop in 2016 and has attended summer programs, including Allegro Vivo in Horn, Austria in 2017, the Brian Lewis Young Artist Program in 2017, the Credo Prelude Boston Chamber Music Program in 2016, the Narnia Arts Academy in Narni, Italy in 2016, the Danbury Chamber Music Intensive in 2016, Young Talent Chamber Music Program in 2015 and 2017, and the International Music Festival and Institute in 2013.

Zoe received awards in the Narnia Arts Academy International Competition (2016), Muse International Competition in Santorini Greece (2015), Rondo Vanguard Competition (2015 and 2017), American Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition (2017), Vivo Music Competition (2015 and 2016), New York Music Competition (2014 and 2015), American Protégé Competition (2014), Bravura Concerto Competition (2014, 2015 and 2017), the National League of Performing Arts Concerto and Young Musician's Showcase Competitions (2014 and 2017), and Danbury Music Centre Concerto Competition (2013 and 2015).

She has especially enjoyed performing in Carnegie Weill Hall as part of winners' recitals for New York Music Competition, Rondo Vanguard Competition, National League of Performing Arts Young Musician's Showcase, and American Protégé Competition.

In addition to playing her violin, Zoe loves to read, play with her puppy, and learn about history and dolphins.


A Prevalent Issue

The concert will feature a number of other gifted musicians as well, including Arthur Samuelson, Debbie Oczkowski, Kathy Gramolini, Ed Clancy, Aimee and Maggie Alexander, Madelyn Aug, Vinny Brophy, Brendon Fox, Amanda Goodman, Austin Jones, Lindsey Jones, Noah Seldman, Jennifer Sokira, Hafez Taghavi, and Brittany Watson. Several of the participating musicians are attending or attended Newtown High School, Suzuki Talent Education School in Sandy Hook, and Western Connecticut State University.

Newtown Parent Connection has been embracing and empowering families locally by offering help and guidance to those struggling with issues of substance abuse. NPC was creating more than 20 years by Dorrie Carolan in memory of her son Brian.

Begun in 2010, Families United in Newtown was created as a recreation program in memory of founder Linda Jones's late son Tyler, to help bring the community of special needs families together in a safe and welcoming place. At each FUN meeting, families are paired with a National Honors Society student from Newtown High School, who spend time with the kids, giving the parents a much-needed break.

Over the past few years, FUN has increased the number of monthly events throughout the year and hosts an annual Benefit Concert; the 2018 performance has already been scheduled for Saturday, May 26. All are welcome at FUN meetings.

Ms Jones has developed a relationship with the NPC and currently serves as one of its bereavement support group facilitators, according to Ms Carolan. A candlelight remembrance celebration will be among the highlights of the event, Ms Jones said.

"This concert happens to be on the first year anniversary of one of those group participant's losing a loved one to an overdose," Ms Carolan told The Newtown Bee. "This issue is so prevalent that our bereavement groups grow in numbers almost every month. So this will be a chance to remember our children who have passed, and keeping the word out that we are here and we can help anyone who has lost someone dear to them because of an addiction-related issue."

The performance is free but donations will be gratefully accepted and split between the two hosting organizations.

Light refreshments will be served after the event, providing attendees a chance to meet and greet the performers.

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