Songcatchers Celebrates New Location with New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce Hosting Ribbon-Cutting

For the first time in 27 years Songcatchers has a new location and celebrated their new space with an official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Thursday, March 14th at Holy Name School Building, 74 Petersville Road, New Rochelle, with a dedicated Songcatchers’ Entrance on Sherman Street.

Attending the ribbon-cutting were Crystal Collins, Westchester County Director of Policy and Programs representing CE George Latimer and Westchester County Government; Mariana Jusufaj, Small Business Relations Manager for City of New Rochelle, Department of Development; Susan Abbott, Director of Grant Programs at ArtsWestchester; Theresa Kump Leghorn, President of the New Rochelle Council on the Arts; Songcatchers President, Karenann Carty, and Executive Director, Jennifer Lanser; New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce President, Rob Hayes and Executive Director, Catherine White; and board members from both Songcatchers and the NR Chamber. Xiamena Francella, representing the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce, presented a Certificate of Recognition to Songcatchers to commemorate the day. Students, volunteer teachers, mentors, families, and alumni of Songcatchers joined in the festivities.

Songcatchers Inc. was founded by Sr. Beth Dowd, OSU, in 1978 as a non-profit organization dedicated to providing high quality music education, training, and enrichment for children and families that were both affordable and accessible to the multi-cultural population within New Rochelle. Their motto, “Reaching for Peace through Music,” represents their commitment to fostering musical education and enrichment for all. Most recently, Songcatchers received a $40,000 New Arts and Culture Grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and an ArtsWestchester matching Art$Challenge grant to support the nonprofit. Songcatchers performs annually at the New Rochelle Holiday Lighting, Street Fair, ArtsFest and other events throughout Westchester County.

Songcatchers’ expanded new facility has devoted space for their large instruments, like pianos and drums, and additional classroom use for strings, woodwind, brass, and early childhood programming. Executive Director, Jennifer Lanser, said, “Our growth from three rooms to two floors of a school building is the realization of our Ursuline founder, a dedicated Board of Directors, many generous supporters, a devoted staff, and the parents and students who wholeheartedly believe in the success of the program. We are filled with hope and optimism knowing that the seeds of music and kindness sown by Songcatchers will continue to blossom in the hearts and minds of those touched by its magic.”

Karenann Carty stated, “We are so excited to achieve this milestone in our history. It is a testament to the lasting legacy of our founder, Sr. Beth Dowd, and a new chapter for Songcatchers as we better serve our communities by expanding our reach and program offerings. We love our new space and will continue to live our mission of reaching for peace through music.”

“The New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce is pleased to host this ribbon-cutting as Songcatchers is such an integral part of the New Rochelle community. Beyond providing free or low-cost musical instruction for children, Songcatchers inspires a lifelong love of music,” said Rob Hayes, owner of Beechmont Tavern and President of the NR Chamber. “From their preschool early childhood programs through their teenage student mentorship program, Songcatchers has positively impacted thousands of students in New Rochelle. We’re happy they have a new home and are glad to congratulate this valued NR Chamber Member. Cheers!”

Janet Langsam, CEO of ArtsWestchester said, “ArtsWestchester is thrilled with the Songcatchers’ move to a larger, more accessible space for their music education programs that are essential to youth of all ages. Our friend and Songcatchers founder, Sr. Beth Dowd, would be extremely proud of how far this vibrant Westchester County arts organization has come.”

Songcatchers is having a Dancing Through the Decades Dinner Dance on Saturday April 20th to support the non-profit. Visit for more information.

Learn more about the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce at


Photography by Nick Carter