Wharton Institute gala will celebrate ‘West Side Story’

West Side Story Paterson

STEVE J. SHERMAN

JAMIE BERNSTEIN

Inspired by the recent filming of Stephen Spielberg’s “West Side Story” in Paterson, the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts will present a “Wide Side Story in Paterson” Gala, March 6 at the Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park (formerly known as West Paterson). The event will feature performances by students from the Wharton’s Paterson Music Project, New Jersey Youth Symphony and the Performing Arts School.

The institute will also present its Lifetime Achievement Award to Jamie Bernstein, whose father, Leonard Bernstein, composed the “West Side Story” score. Attendees will receive a copy of Bernstein’s 2018 memoir, “Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein.”

Jamie Bernstein co-directed the 2014 movie “Crescendo! The Power of Music,” a documentary about children in West Philadelphia and Harlem who participate in orchestra programs inspired by the El Sistema method, which was created in Venezuela.

The documentary “was instrumental in fueling the growth of El Sistema-inspired programs throughout the country, including our Paterson Music Project,” said Wharton’s artistic director and principal conductor, Helen H. Cha-Pyo. “I hope everyone joins us for this special evening and experiences the transformative power of the music shared by our young musicians. What they have accomplished is awe-inspiring.”

The Wharton Institute is based in Berkeley Heights and its Youth Symphony is based in New Providence.

For information on the gala, visit whartonartsgala.org. For more about the institute, visit whartonarts.org.

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