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Justin Veatch Fund Awards Six New Music Scholarships

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

by JEFFREY VEATCH May 31, 2023

The Justin Veatch Fund announced Monday the recipients of six new music scholarships to students from six high schools. The graduating seniors, selected among a highly competitive field of applicants from twelve schools, are Rachel Berger of Mahopac, Ryan Finegan of Ardsley, Maureen Henshaw of Carmel, Joseph Klettner of John Jay, Adam Machado of Peeksill, and Calvin Molloy of Yorktown. 67 music scholarships have been awarded since 2009

Each year, The Justin Veatch Fund awards music scholarships to graduating high school students who live within a 40-mile radius of Yorktown Heights. The scholarships honor the legacy of Justin Veatch, a Yorktown High School senior who died from an accidental drug overdose in 2008. Justin was a talented musician on the verge of releasing his first album of original songs. The scholarships are awarded to talented students planning to continue their music studies. “Every year, it’s such a gift to get to honor my brother’s memory and talents by supporting local musicians on the cusp of their next chapter,” says Board member Elena Veatch.

Awards Program at Yorktown Town Hall

The six new scholarships will be awarded at 6pm, Wednesday, June 14th in a program at Yorktown Town Hall. Grammy-award winning music mastering engineer Alan Douches will be the keynote speaker. The public is invited and light snacks will be served.

The 2023 recipients:

Rachel Berger, graduating from Mahopac High School, plans to attend Ithaca College in the fall. Her primary instrument is the violin and she plans to pursue a career in music education. Berger participated in the prestigious NYSSMA All-State Symphony as both a junior and senior. This required her to score perfectly twice at the highest level at the NYSSMA Solo Festival. Her orchestra teacher says while most students reaching her level develop a degree of arrogance, Berger remains very humble. Berger says her goal in teaching is to find that talented student who needs extra care, who needs to be seen, and may be battling demons — and to be an advocate for that student.

Ryan Finegan, graduating from Ardsley High School, plans to study jazz saxophone performance at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. Finegan started his musical journey in the elementary band program and was soon recommended to the Lagond Music School by his teacher. For nine years he soaked up jazz, witnessed the communal power of collaboration, and quickly learned he wanted to pursue the saxophone professionally. As one teacher put it, Finegan is the kind of student to which any educator would respond, “Give me ten more.”

Maureen Henshaw, graduating from Carmel High School, plans to attend Marymount Manhattan College for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater. With roots in community theater, Henshaw has performed in NYSSMA, NYSSMA All-State, NYSSMA All-State Choir over the past few years. Her performance in a high school production of Mamma Mia paved the way for her selection as a Roger Rees Award Top Six finalist for Best Actress in a musical in 2018/2019. One teacher described Henshaw as “one of the best overall students and musicians I have worked with in my almost twenty-year career in teaching.”

Joseph Klettner, graduating from John Jay High School, plans to attend Cornell University in the fall. He performs on the keyboard and various other instruments including guitar, violin, bass, and even accordion in the band Platinum Moon which he co-founded. But his outstanding solo performances on a grand piano of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue as well as a selection from Debussy, really set him apart. Klettner says music has taught him to be curious and push boundaries to create something from nothing. His piano teacher says Klettner has demonstrated extraordinary musical prowess, conviction, and the ability to perform well beyond the scope of his years.

Adam Machado, graduating from Peekskill High School, plans to attend The University of the Arts in Philadelphia for a degree in contemporary performance. The drum kit is his workshop. Machado says even the thought of performing music excites him beyond words. He plays regularly with his band Freedom Rockets, but has also recorded and toured with legendary frontman Tommy Stinson and others. More recently he has expanded his repertoire to jazz. Charlie Lagond of Lagond Music School says Machado has the talent, work ethic, skills, and creativity to become a professional, in-demand drummer.

Calvin Molloy, graduating from Yorktown High School, plans to major in music production. Molloy practices on multiple instruments, composes, and specializes on guitar. Trumpet, french horn, mandolin, drums, and piano are also part of his music landscape. Collaboration and improvisation play an important role in his studies. As a member of the Yorktown High School jazz band, Molloy and four other jazz musicians formed a combo as a spinoff to the large ensemble. One of his teachers says he literally eats, breathes, and sleeps music. Molloy has donated dozens of hours to community service and says the process of writing and producing music leaves him with infinite feelings to explore.

Each recipient is awarded an engraved working metronome along with a $1,200 check. The Justin Veatch Fund is a 501(c)3 organization and official New York State Charity.

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