Who we are

Board of Directors:
Chair: Toby Kasavan
Treasurer: Douglas Cuomo
Secretary: Mark Hennen

Staff

Toby Kasavan: President/Executive Director
Michael Weeden: Outreach Coordinator
Sara Lise Raff: Education Manager
Michelle Kaplan: Program Associate

Toby Kasavan is the founder of Neighborhood Music and Arts, which he started in 2006.  An accomplished composer and pianist he has toured domestically and internationally.  He has worked with many notable musicians including Don Covay, Bill Laswell, Willie Bobo, Bootsy Collins, the Last Poets, and African Vocalist “Mangala”.  Mr. Kasavan also worked as an accompanist for some of the most prominent modern dance companies in New York City including Martha Graham, Ballet Hispanico, Alvin Ailey and Paul Taylor. 

Seeing a need for young people to express themselves through performance as a release of emotion, Mr. Kasavan became a teaching artist for various not-for-profit organizations teaching music before beginning Neighborhood Music and Arts.  Mr. Kasavan’s program has become a positive tool to channel energy and to help schools and students reach their full potenthrough the arts.  Mr. Kasavan holds a BFA from California Institute tial of the Arts and a 5th degree black belt in Aikido.

Sara Lise Raff is an experienced and fully certified elementary educator. She has worked as a classroom teacher, staff developer and as a program director for a not-for-profit organization. As well, Ms. Raff works as an adjunct professor for Touro College, preparing day care employees for certificate and degree awarded programs.

Ms. Raff has designed and delivered numerous professional development sessions and trainings as well as designing various curriculum models for programs throughout New York City. Her work as a consultant allows her to provide tailored services to various educational facilities including schools, educational not-for -profits, child enrichment programs, parent resource programs, Parent Associations and to individual clients.

Denis Michael Weeden is an administrator, educator, musician and songwriter who has produced over 7 CDs and 15 singles for many record labels including Warner Bros., BMG, and EMI. Artists include Corinne Baily Rae, Latoya Jackson, Gung Ho, liberty-X, and many others. He has also worked in education since 1997 when he developed the music program for Queen of All Saints School, Brooklyn NY, and taught all grades general music, recorder, percussion, guitar , chorus and music appreciation. Mr. Weeden has worked with Neighborhood Music and Arts since 2007.

Michelle Kaplan has worked in publishing, as a researcher, and as a film editor. Ms. Kaplan holds an MA in music theory from Columbia university.

 

 


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