From our Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Sing For Your Seniors was inspired by my love and admiration for my great-grandmother, Frances Hughes, who we called Grandma Dee Dee. She always loved hearing my friends and me sing when we visited her senior care home. I felt a unique connection to my grandma when I sang to her. That connection and her emotional response made me realize music has enormous therapeutic value for seniors, especially those who are showing signs of withdrawal.
I knew I had to find a way to bring live performances to seniors who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to experience them. In Grandma Dee Dee’s honor and memory, I started Sing For Your Seniors in 2005 as a one-person a cappella hour at the Village Adult Day Center in New York’s West Village.
By the end of 2006, each SFYS session had grown to include five singers and a pianist. Earlier that year, we were incorporated and had formed a board.
As 2016 came to a close, Sing For Your Seniors had grown to include 150 volunteer singers and 20 pianists. We’ve given over 650 performances, bringing the joy of music to many thousands of seniors. We average about 60 performances per year at many different hospitals, care facilities and living centers in the New York area and beyond.
Please get involved — help us use music to change lives!
Jackie Vanderbeck DiSalvo
Founder & Producing Artistic Director
Jackie Vanderbeck DiSalvo - Founder & Producing Artistic Director
became involved in theater at an early age in her hometown of Sacramento, CA. Prior to being in the first graduating class of the Natomas Charter School of the Performing Arts, she was the youngest apprentice ever to intern for the Outreach and Education Program for California Musical Theatre. She earned her BFA with honors and received the Ross Award for Excellence in Music Theatre from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. When she moved to New York, she volunteered regularly at the Village Adult Day Center in the West Village. That experience, along with inspiration from her grandparents and great-grandparents, fueled her to found Sing For Your Seniors and lead it since 2005. For the next ten years, New York City would serve as Jackie’s home base, with stage work frequently taking her to regional theatres across the country and even overseas touring Japan with The Tokyo Philharmonic. When not "on the road" Jackie continued her training studying acting at The William Esper Studio, Improv at Uprights Citizen Brigade, and vocal performance with world renowned composer and instructor Craig Carnelia. Jackie is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and a member of the Dramatist Guild of America.
Adam Wagner - Accounting
originally from Chesterton, Indiana, is a graduate of the musical theater department at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music. Making the switch to theatre administration, Adam became the Artistic Director of Grandstreet Theatre in Helena, Montana. He oversaw 20 musical and play productions, and his production of The Great American Trailer Park Musical received the AACT Regional Award for Outstanding Direction & Choreography. Adam then traveled to Tampa to develop and implement a musical theatre certification program for Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, focusing mainly on grades 5 through 12. On the side, he was instrumental in the start of Theatre Tampa Bay, an alliance organization for professional theatres in the Tampa Bay area. Serving as Vice President and Director of Marketing, he implemented a one-stop shop website, very similar to Theatre Puget Sound! Most recently, Adam served as the first Executive Director of Twilight Theatre in Greensburg, Kansas. He was hired to coordinate the final stage of construction and open a $3.6 million film and performing arts center after the town of Greensburg had been completely destroyed by an EF5 tornado in 2007. Having opened the facility 6 months early and operating its first year with a surplus, he is now relocated to Seattle in search of the next big project while building his own nonprofit consulting business.
is a native Californian. She got her start performing with River City Theatre Company, Sacramento Theatre Company and The Music Circus. She left the West Coast to complete her BFA in Drama at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Courtney began regularly volunteering for SFYS in 2006 and joined the board shortly thereafter. Her professional performing career has seen her play on the Broadway stage, in regional theatres across the country and recently as a soloist at Sydney Opera House. She now resides in Melbourne, Victoria with her husband Pete and their much-loved verticle garden. Despite living on the other side of the planet, Courtney strives to maintain deep relationship with SFYS, knowing first-hand the connection and comfort it offers not only to our beautiful seniors, but to our volunteer artists. Additionally, Courtney is a 500-hour certified yoga teacher and hosts a free weekly creativity workshop from her home to offer support to other artists.
has marketed and written copy for non-profit organizations including Sesame Workshop, the College Board and the Girl Scouts. He’s a pro bono consultant for the Taproot Foundation and is an adjunct professor teaching PR writing to grad students at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Allen is a librettist in the BMI Musical Theater Workshop and is a recipient of the Harrington Musical Theatre Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement. He is a member of the Dramatist Guild of America.
serves as the Legal Director for Youth Represent, a legal nonprofit which represents youth who have been involved in the criminal justice system. Michael is expert in the field of criminal record employment discrimination and is Co-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section Juvenile Justice Committee. Michael has received numerous awards for his legal work and is a graduate of the Columbia University Senior Leaders in Nonprofit Program, Brooklyn Law School and the University of Washington. Most importantly, Michael is married to the incredible SYFS performer Elisa Pupko and believes in the transformational impact that music has in the lives of seniors.
Kristen Lee Rosenfeld
is an NYC based music director/composer. As a composer, Kristen collaborates with her mother, Luanne. Their show, Divided, was recently selected for The Pitch at Fingerlakes Musical Theatre Festival, and presented in concert at Feinstein’s/54 Below. Their other full-length musical, Cardboard Castles, was recently workshopped at SUNY Cortland, and has been optioned as a feature film by Rubic House. Kristen’s songs have been heard at cabaret venues throughout NYC, including Joe’s Pub, 54 Below and the Metropolitan Room. Kristen has music directed at regional theatres around the country and served as an artist in residence at several colleges and universities. Her music direction credits include the First National Tour of Spring Awakening, Band of Angels with collaborator Colman Domingo and an award winning production of The Cobalteans at NYMF. Kristen frequently plays for Sing For Your Seniors sessions and has been a board member for three years.
is a New York City based vocal coach and director. A native of Sacramento, California, he has worked extensively with the California’s Arts Bridge program in bringing the performing arts to underprivileged schools as well as with various youth theater companies. Over the past decade he has had the honor of both performing with and company managing the Wanderlust Theatre Company, in collaboration with various U.S. Embassies, in creating musical theatre productions in Central America, specifically with the Youth Symphony Orchestra of El Salvador. More recently he has been directing for Celebrity Cruises Productions in Miami and across the globe. Brett is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine’s Theatre and Dance Department and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.
trained at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music where he met founding director, Jackie Vanderbeck. Post graduation, Daniel has been an original cast member of Altar Boyz, The Woman In White, The Pirate Queen, Beautiful, and the recent revival of Evita where he alternated the role of “Che,” normally played by Ricky Martin, at certain performances. Regionally, he has worked with the LaJolla Playhouse, Sundance Theater Festival, Cleveland Opera, and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. Daniel sits on the national grant committee for Broadway Cares/Equity FIghts AIDS and is interested in pursuing a 2nd career in not-for-profit. Outside the theater, he enjoys being a husband, father, and travel-enthusiast.
a singer with SFYS since its inception, is thrilled to join the Board after singing with SFYS. As a former actor and now a Registered Nurse, Matthew loves how both fields inform his work with the organization. As an actor, Matthew made his Off-Broadway debut in The Talk of the Town and has appeared regionally at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, West Virginia Public Theatre, Seaside Music Theater, The John Drew Theater and Pittsburgh Musical Theater. He also toured with Phoenix Productions and Weber’s Music of the Night. Passionate about volunteering, Matthew most recently worked in Tanzania and Cameroon with people living with HIV/AIDS. He is a proud husband, father and Harlem resident.