Haitian Benefit

LiveWire: Sarah Elizabeth Charles to headline Haiti benefit

Sarah Elizabeth Charles

Sarah Elizabeth Charles remembers when Robyn Newhouse Hall at the Community Music School of Springfield was just a waiting room with some offices and a small performance space for CMSS recitals.

Now, the 180-seat venue is a state-of-the-art auditorium and will serve as the locale for a homecoming of sorts as Charles brings her S.E. Charles Quartet to the site for a special concert on Thursday night.

Sarah Elizabeth Charles remembers when Robyn Newhouse Hall at the Community Music School of Springfield was just a waiting room with some offices and a small performance space for CMSS recitals.

Now, the 180-seat venue is a state-of-the-art auditorium and will serve as the locale for a homecoming of sorts as Charles brings her S.E. Charles Quartet to the site for a special concert on Thursday night.

“I’m beyond excited to be preparing to play this show in my hometown,” said Charles. “CMSS was my birthplace as a musician and Robyn Newhouse Hall is such a gorgeous performance space.”

The S.E. Charles Quartet will use the event as a fundraiser for its upcoming sophomore release while also sharing proceeds with Rise2Shine, an organization based in Haiti that provides nutrients and early childhood education to the children of Fond Parisien, Haiti.

“Having the fundraiser for the Quartet’s sophomore record in this space is symbolic for me,” Charles said. “And partnering the cause with Rise2Shine will make the evening even more special.”

Long before Charles was fronting a New York City-based jazz group, before she attended The New School to study jazz in college, Charles was a student at the Community Music School.

“I started studying at the Community Music School of Springfield when I was about six years old,” she said. “At that time, I was taking piano lessons and began singing in the CMSS Children’s Chorus directed by Kayla Werlin.”

It was Montenia Shider that introduced Charles to jazz.

“She exposed me to jazz music after giving me one of her albums,” said Charles. “I listened to this record non-stop and learned her interpretations of ‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore’ and ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me’ verbatim.”

Charles credits Eric Bacharach, the director of CMSS at the time, with getting her interested in New York City to continue her education and career.

“I’ve been there for six years now and I’m in love…with the scene, with the people, with the culture,” she said. “It’s definitely home for me and I feel really blessed to be there living, working and making music that I am passionate about.” READ MORE LINK