The Untermeyer Performing Arts Council was created in 1976 to continue the legacy or Minnie and Samuel Untermyer by bringing entertainment and music to Untermyer Park, adjacent to the beautifully restored Untermyer Gardens. For more than 40 years, we have fulfilled this mission, delighting tens of thousands of Yonkers residents with free performances of music, dance, theater, opera, and more. Our summer series takes place every Saturday evening at 7:30, from late June through the Labor Day weekend, with a different offering each week.
In charming Untermyer Park, overlooking the Hudson River, audiences have thrilled to the sounds of the symphony, the beat of Big Bands, the rhythms of rock and rap. They have enjoyed ballet, modern dance, and up-to-the-minute experimental troupes. They have laughed at a Shakespeare comedy; cried at an opera by Puccini. They have joined their neighbors to celebrate the music and dance of many of the ethnic groups that make up Yonkers’ diverse population.
When summer is behind us, our work continues. There are art classes for children throughout the year. Our festive holiday tree lighting is not only a fun evening for families and residents, but also collects gifts for the young clients of our neighbor, Rising Ground. Our On The Road series continues to present high quality live entertainment. Come spring, our gala cocktail party honors a prominent citizen for contributions to the arts, and we provide live entertainment for Yonkers Arts Weekend.
ON THE ROAD
Between its summer seasons, Untermyer Performing Arts takes the show on the road, presenting concerts at venues throughout the City of Yonkers. Past performances have included celebrations of Irish culture with acclaimed performers such as Brian Conway and Mary Courtney. These Three Tenors have honored Italian-American heritage with their entertaining blend of operatic favorites, Sinatra standards, and Italian folk songs.
YONKERS IDOL COMPETITION
Since 2008, the Council has supported the Yonkers Idol Competition, in which aspiring singers ages 15-19 compete for the title of Yonkers Idol, and singers ages 10-14 vie to be the Yonkers Junior Idol. The competition is sponsored by the City of Yonkers Department of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation. Throughout the year, the winners provide live entertainment at civic functions, such as the Council’s own holiday tree lighting, and events and ceremonies throughout the city. The Theresa Fund, established in honor of Theresa Sansone, a life-long patron of the arts, awards each of the winners a $1000 scholarship.
Each spring celebrates the start of a new summer season with a gala fundraising cocktail party. A highlight of the evening is the presentation of the Griffin Awards, honoring prominent citizens of Yonkers for their contributions to the organization’s mission. At the 2019 gala, the honorees were Henry Djonbalaj, Silvia Metrena-Nunez, Top Class Limousin, and Homefield Deli. Nick and Chrissy Theodoropolis of the Homefield Deli accept their award with Vice President Peter DiIorio and President Mary Hoar.
YONKERS ARTS WEEKEND
Each May Untermyer Performing Arts participates in the City of Yonkers’ weekend long celebration of the arts in Yonkers. In 2019 flutist Carlos Jimenez brought his Latin Jazz band to downtown Yonkers. Muy caliente!
NATIONAL NIGHT OUT
The first Tuesday of August is National Night Out, a festive event that strengthens the relationship between police departments and the communities they serve. In 2018, Untermyer Performing Arts participated with a table display with information on the remainder of the summer season and beyond, and brought along the Alex Safey Jazz Trio to entertain the party-goers. This is just one way to thank Yonkers’ Finest and to honor the Yonkers Auxiliary Police Force, whose officers are present at every summer concert.
HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING
Untermyer Performing Arts gets into the holiday spirit by lighting the beautiful blue spruce outside the Charles Cola Center, which houses the organization’s offices. In 2018, the choir of the TK school entertained outdoors with carols and holiday songs. 2018 Yonkers Idol Nicole Nukho also added her beautiful voice to the evening’s festivities. After the tree lighting the party moves indoors for hot chocolate, cookies, face painting, and more singing. But the most important part of the evening is presenting the hundreds of toys and gifts, donated by the Untermyer Performing Arts community, to our neighbor, Rising Ground, since 1831 a leading nonprofit human services organization that provides children, adults, and families to rise above adversity and positively direct their lives.
Untermyer Performing Arts Council is proud to be an all-volunteer organization, which means that every penny donated to the organization goes to produce free programs for our fellow residents of Yonkers. We are especially proud of our UPAC Junior Team, organized by board member Zafiro Acevedo, who assist with setup, cleanup, program distribution and snack sales.
The Council is funded by the City of Yonkers, ArtsWestchester, Empire City Casino, and a variety of corporate and individual sponsors. Please consider a donation to help us continue our work.