Community Music School Announces 2024 Gala Scholarship Recipients

Photo Caption:  On Saturday, May 11, 2024, Community Music School (CMS) held the annual Gala Recital & Scholarship Awards in the Dorothy H. Baker Recital Hall at CMS.  Pictured are (l-r) Ceiran Magee, CMS Executive Director Jeff Reed, Naina Dey, Samuel Truong, Rene Kim, Abigail Dodd, Siddharth Chitta, Isaac Sharma, Liam Pammer, Solomon Trotter, Shriya Chitta, Paul Mansour, Maanya Gope, and CMS Assistant Director Lisa Kulp. 


Allentown, PA (May 17, 2024) – 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, former Director of Middle School Orchestras, Parkland School District; John Leiderman, Band Director & Music Teacher, Catasauqua Middle School; and Patrice Kidd, retired Director of Music, Moravian Academy Middle School.

Students with the highest scores in the auditions performed at the Gala Recital in the school’s Dorothy H. Baker Recital Hall on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at 1544 Hamilton Street in Allentown.  The students who were invited to perform were: Shira Bach, piano; Drew Bui, piano; Siddharth Chitta, violin; Shriya Chitta, violin;  Naina Dey, classical guitar; Jonathan Do, piano; Abigail Dodd, violin; Maanya Gope, voice; Harmony John, piano; Rene Kim, violin; Phelps Lozana, piano; Emily Ma, piano; Ceiran Magee, piano; Paul Mansour, piano; Aiden de Mesa, piano; Liam Pammer, piano; Sebastian Santiago, piano; Isaac Sharma, flute; Solomon Trotter, piano; Samuel Truong, piano; and Ezra Wilson, piano. Among these outstanding students, several exceptional students also received merit-based scholarships for CMS lessons in 2024-2025:

The Jerome & Martha Markowitz Scholarship was awarded to Harmony John of Allentown, piano student of Kelly Hooper.  The Jerome & Martha Markowitz Scholarship is named in memory of Jerome Markowitz, the founder of 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 Joseph Maletz Scholarship was awarded to Liam Pammer of Laurys Station, piano student of Marissa Amphay.  The Joseph Maletz Scholarship is awarded in memory of Joseph Maletz, violinist and husband of CMS founding director, Martha Maletz, to CMS students who pursue excellence in their music education.

The Muriel I. Frank Scholarship was awarded to Isaac Sharma of Allentown, flute student of Elaine Martin.  The 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 the Philadelphia Orchestra.  After graduation, she opened a piano studio and continued to perform publicly.  Music was the mainstream of her life, and she served on the CMS Board of Directors for many years.

The Joseph P. Schermerhorn Scholarship was awarded to Solomon Trotter of Allentown, piano student of Abigail Zuckert.  The Joseph P. Schermerhorn Scholarship is awarded in memory of Joseph Schermerhorn, son of longtime CMS Executive Director George Schermerhorn and his wife Eunice, to CMS students who pursue excellence in their music education.

Rising Star Scholarships were awarded to Maanya Gope of Allentown, voice student of Julia Walsh; and Paul Mansour of Allentown, piano student of Evan Nelson. Great Expectations Scholarships were awarded to Shira Bach of Allentown, piano student of Kelly Hooper; and Naina Dey of Allentown, classical guitar student of Joe Wagner.

This year, Schadt String Scholarships were awarded to four deserving students: Siddharth Chitta of Center Valley, violin student of Linda Kistler; Abigail Dodd of Coopersburg, violin student of Linda Kistler; Rene Kim of Allentown, violin student of Carolyn Gaul; and Shriya Chitta of Center Valley, violin student of Linda Kistler.  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.

Samuel Truong of Allentown was recognized as the 2024-25 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 further support an annual scholarship in her name. The Martha 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 piano lessons at CMS during the 2024-25 school year.  Samuel is 12 years old and in the 7th grade at Bethlehem Christian School.  He has been playing piano for 8 years and takes lessons with Kelly Hooper.  In addition to piano, he enjoys ice skating. In the future, Samuel plans to go to college.

At the Year-End Recital on June 2, 2024, Naomi Herrera of Allentown will also be recognized as the 2024-25 Amaranth Scholar for the second year in a row.  The Amaranth Foundation Scholarship is awarded to a CMS student who demonstrates a high potential for achieving excellence in music education and who is a member of a CMS family with documented financial need.  The Amaranth Foundation was founded by Joan Miller Moran and supports arts-related programming and organizations, including Community Music School.  Naomi is 15 years old and in 10th grade at William Allen High School.  She has been studying piano for 8 years and takes lessons with Kathy Anthony.  She also studies violin and voice and is involved with the WAHS marching band, orchestra, jazz band, and choir.  “I want to thank my current teachers for teaching me how to build a passion for music. It has built so much of who I am and want to be, and I’m very grateful.”  In the future, she plans to go to college to study music.

Learn more about the Gala Auditions & Recital at 

Watch the 2024 Gala Recital on the CMS YouTube Channel at 


About CMS: Community Music School (CMS) – Lehigh Valley & Berks is a nonprofit 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 300 students of all ages, from toddlers to seniors, in piano, strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, voice, and recording technology; both in-person and online. CMS offers introductory group classes, such as Kindermusik, Kids Choir, Modern Band, Intro to Piano, and Intro to Recording that provide music fundamentals, while Jazz Band and House Band ensembles offer collaborative free performance opportunities for intermediate and advanced students.   

Thanks to support from our philanthropic community for over 40 years, CMS has provided students in the Lehigh Valley with the life-long benefits of a quality music education and free performance opportunities.  In 2023-24, CMS expects to fund over $85,000 in need-based financial aid to 55% of our students under age 18.   

Our main office and studios are located in the former Lehigh Valley Social Club at historic 1544 Hamilton Street in Allentown, PA where we offer 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.  Our CMS Berks satellite studio is located in Reading, PA at GoggleWorks.   

Learn more at


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