Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist and Usdan alumna Jane Monheit and her husband, drummer Rick Montalbano, have joined the Leadership Council of Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, the nationally renowned summer arts day camp. The Leadership Council is composed of prominent business and civic leaders. It is the Center’s advocate in the philanthropic and business communities, providing support for student scholarships and program development. Jane, who treasures her student experience at Usdan, recently said: “My summers at the Center were a major turning point in my youth…I didn’t just receive a wonderful education there, I found a place to fit in. It was a haven for a different kid like me. At Usdan, I learned that anything was possible, and that the world was open to me.


Dale Lewis, Executive Director of the Usdan Center, announced the Montalbano’s appointment at a recent Leadership Council event. “We are thrilled to have Jane and Rick working with us,” he said, “lending their expertise in guiding Usdan’s expanding programs in jazz education. Jane is a beloved Usdan alumna who has, together with Rick, made essential contributions of time and talent to our programs, performing at Usdan’s summer Festival Concerts, and teaching Master Classes for our students. We look forward to having the benefit of their experience and advice in the Leadership Council.


Raised in Oakdale Long Island, Jane Monheit has performed at most of the major concert halls, cabarets and jazz venues around the globe, including an upcoming, sold out American Songbook concert at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. She has released seven albums and two DVDs, and has appeared as a guest artist on many others. Jane has also been a featured performer in the nationally televised Christmas at the White House, the Capitol Fourth of July Celebration, and The National Memorial Day Celebration. She has performed on numerous television shows including Emeril, Ramsey Lewis’ Legends of Jazz, Letterman, The View, and The Today Show. Jane spends most of the year on tour with her band, and also performs with the major symphonic orchestras throughout the country. In 2002, she received Usdan Center’s Alumni Achievement Award at its 35th Anniversary Gala at Carnegie Hall.


Rick Montalbano has played the drums since his early teens, and while in high school, was selected as one of five young musicians to be awarded a scholarship from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. He has worked with some of the finest musicians in the world, including Brad Mehldau, Phil Woods, Randy Brecker and Clark Terry. He also completed several recordings including two with virtuoso tenor saxophonist Ari Ambrose (Steely Dan). Since 2000, Rick has been the drummer for the Jane Monheit band, touring the globe in support of a series of acclaimed albums. He has performed on Jane’s recordings, TV appearances, and DVDs.


Usdan Center is now holding Open Houses for its 2012, 45th season. For more information, call (212) 772-6060 or (631) 643-7900, write toopenhouse@usdan.com, or visit www.usdan.com.


Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, whose alumni also include actor Natalie Portman and singer Mariah Carey, has introduced the arts to more than 50,000 Tri-State Area children since its founding in 1968. The Center is open to all young people from age 6 to 18. Usdan’s program features more than 40 four and seven-week programs in music, dance, theater, visual arts, writing, nature & ecology, and chess. No audition is needed for most programs – rather, admission is based on an expression of interest in the arts. Each summer, 1,600 students are transported to the Center in air-conditioned buses each day. One-third of Usdan’s students attend on scholarship. Although the mission of the Center is for every child to establish a relationship with the arts, the unique stimulation of the Center has caused many to go on to arts careers. Alumni include members of Broadway shows and major music, theater, and dance ensembles such as the Boston Pops and the New York City Ballet.  
In addition to its regular programs, Usdan offers special opportunities for advanced high school- age performing and visual artists. These include Music Staff Internships, a Summer Ballet Intensive, and a program of immersion in the visual arts and college preparation for selected high school art students. It is called Usdan’s Visual Arts Portfolio Preparation Track. Usdan Center is an agency of the UJA-Federation of New York.