Community Music School Announces 2023 Gala Scholarship Recipients

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Allentown, PA (May 2023) – Each spring, CMS faculty recommend their highest performing students at all levels for an audition before an independent panel of judges. The three judges evaluate each student’s musical performance and determine a total audition score based on tone, technique, accuracy, interpretation, and musical effect. This year’s judges were Kaylee Santanello, Director of Middle School Orchestras, Parkland School District; Chris Klump, Band Director & Music Teacher at Notre Dame High School; and Patrice Kidd, retired Director of Music, Moravian Academy Middle School.  Students with the highest scores in the auditions performed during the Gala Recital in the school’s Dorothy H. Baker Recital Hall on Sunday, May 21, 2023, at 1544 Hamilton Street in Allentown.  The students who performed were: Alex Bernini, piano; Elena Bernini, piano; Charles Bond, violin; Matthew Brandle, piano; Siddharth Chitta, violin; Shriya Chitta, violin; Abby Dodd, violin; Maanya Gope, voice; Harmony John, piano; Annette Kim, violin; Rene Kim, violin; Emily Ma, piano; Ceiran Magee, violin, piano; Sebastian Santiago, piano; Aanya Sharma, flute; and Isaac Sharma, flute.

Among these outstanding students, several exceptional students also received merit-based scholarships for CMS lessons in 2023-2024:

The CMS Jerome & Martha Markowitz Scholarship was awarded to Isaac Sharma of Hellertown, flute student of Elaine Martin.  The CMS Jerome & Martha Markowitz Scholarship is named in memory of Jerome Markowitz, the founder of the Allen Organ Company, and his wife, Martha.  Martha was a great friend of CMS and was one of the founding board members of CMS in 1981.

The CMS Muriel I. Frank Scholarship was awarded to Harmony John of Allentown, piano student of Kelly Hooper.  The CMS Muriel I. Frank Scholarship is named in honor of Muriel Frank (1917-2009), one of the founding board members of CMS, and was established on her 80th birthday in 1997.  She was married to Attorney Bernard Frank and was a member of Temple Beth El, Allentown. A graduate of Allentown High School, class of 1933, Muriel received a bachelor of arts degree in music from the University of Pennsylvania in 1937. An accomplished pianist, she became an accompanist for the University of Pennsylvania Choral Society and Philadelphia Orchestra.  After graduation, she opened a piano studio and continued to perform publicly.  Music was the main stream of her life, and she served on the CMS Board of Directors for many years.

The CMS Joseph Maletz Scholarship was awarded to Emily Ma of Allentown, piano student of Lynda Chen.  The CMS Joseph Maletz Scholarship is awarded in memory of Joseph Maletz, violinist and husband of CMS founding director, Martha Maletz, to the CMS students who pursue excellence in their music education.

This year, Schadt String Scholarships were awarded to three deserving students: Siddharth Chitta of Center Valley, violin student of Linda Kistler; Shriya Chitta of Center Valley, violin student of Linda Kistler; and Rene Kim of Allentown, violin student of Carolyn Gaul.  CMS, in partnership with the Allentown Symphony Association awards this scholarship in memory of the Schadt brothers, Leigh and Edwin, who, early in their life, enjoyed playing the violin introduced to them by their father.  The two boys attended Lincoln School on Walnut Street, went on to prep school at Muhlenberg, and both graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business in the 1920s. The Schadt brothers became successful Allentown businessmen and established the Towne Auto Company on Linden Street. Their father was a self-taught violinist and wanted his sons to learn to play the instrument that he loved. Although Leigh and Edwin did not become violinists themselves, they kept their father’s interest alive by establishing a trust to provide financial aid to promising young violin students.

CMS Great Expectations Scholarships were awarded to Sebastian Santiago of Bath, piano student of Kate Uhler; and Maanya Gope of Allentown, voice student of Julia K. Walsh.  A CMS Rising Star Scholarship was awarded to Aanya Sharma of Center Valley, flute student of Elaine Martin.

Ceiran Magee of Allentown was recognized as the 2023-24 CMS Martha Maletz Scholar.  This scholarship honors CMS founder, Martha Maletz, who provided for a scholarship in her will. Martha passed away in 2019 at age 96, and her adult children donated funds to support an annual scholarship in her name. The Maletz Scholarship honors a CMS student of impressive merit and extraordinary potential whose family also has financial need. This full scholarship covers the cost of private violin lessons at CMS during the 2023-24 school year.  Ceiran was also named the CMS Amaranth Scholar in 2022.  He studies violin with Carolyn Gaul and piano with Kelly Hooper.  Ceiran is a rising senior at Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts in Bethlehem, with a concentration in violin.  He plans to attend college and study violin performance.

In addition to these scholarships, CMS will announce the 2023-24 Amaranth Scholar at the “Year-End” Recital on Sunday, June 4, 2023.  This merit and need-based scholarship was funded by The Amaranth Foundation, which was founded by Joan Miller Moran and supports arts-related programming and organizations.

Learn more about the Gala Auditions & Recital at 

Watch the 2023 Gala Recital on the CMS YouTube Channel at

Photo Caption:  On Sunday, May 21, 2023, Community Music School (CMS) held the annual Gala Recital & Scholarship Awards in the Dorothy H. Baker Recital Hall at CMS.  Pictured are CMS Executive Director Jeff Reed (far right) and CMS Assistant Director Lisa Kulp (far left) with the 2023 Gala Scholarship recipients: (front l-r) Sebastian Santiago, Emily Ma, Siddharth Chitta, Rene Kim, (back l-r) Maanya Gope, Harmony John, Isaac Sharma, Aanya Sharma, Shriya Chitta, and Ceiran Magee. 


About CMS: Community Music School (CMS) – Lehigh Valley & Berks is a non-profit charitable organization that provides the inspiration and opportunity for anyone in our diverse community to achieve excellence in music education and appreciate the transformative power of music.  CMS employs 25 professional teachers who provide private lessons and group classes to over 200 students of all ages, from toddlers to seniors, in piano, strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, voice, and recording technology; both in-person and online. Thanks to support from our philanthropic community, for over 40 years, CMS has provided over 25,000 student services in the Lehigh Valley with the life-long benefits of a quality music education and free performance opportunities.  CMS is proud to fund over $90,000 annually in financial aid, merit scholarships, and outreach.  Over 50% of students under age 18 receive financial assistance funded by generous donors.  Located in the former Lehigh Valley Social Club at historic 1544 Hamilton Street in Allentown, CMS offers 12 lesson rooms of varying sizes, a unique parent lounge, early childhood room, music library, administrative offices, state-of-the-art recording studio, and a 150-seat recital hall.   Learn more at


Information provided to TVL by:
Lisa Hopstock Kulp, Assistant Director
Community Music School Lehigh Valley & Berks