Unity Through Diversity celebrates artists of all abilities


More than a hundred people filled the Madison Theatre at Molloy University for the fifth annual Unity Through Diversity event last Friday night.

Created by The Rebecca Center for Music Therapy, the event celebrates artists of all abilities and background by providing a platform for the neurodivergent community to come and express themselves via music, dance, poetry, self-advocacy, storytelling and visual arts.

The Rebecca Center, located on Molloy’s main campus in Rockville Centre, serves as a clinic that uses interactive music therapy to facilitate communication and social interaction for those with developmental challenges. The center operates as a nonprofit, providing clinical services, training, education and research opportunities to people of all ages.

The evening began with an art exhibition featuring submissions from the Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County, The Nicholas Center, the Backyard Players and Friends, Lots O’ Stuff, the Rebecca Center and more.

Following the reception, guests made there way into the Madison Theatre for the concert portion of the event. Performances this year included renditions of hit songs by The Beatles, Oasis, Queen, Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra and more.

One of the major highlights of the evening was Christopher Troiano’s performance of “Come Together,” by The Beatles. Music has been a constant outlet for Troiano, who has been making the trip to the Rebecca Center since he was 5. Although he has severe autism and is mostly non-verbal, he was referred to the center at such a young age after his former music teacher noticed that he had absolute pitch.

During the performance of “Sir Duke,” Molloy University President James Lentini surprised participants by joining them on stage with his guitar. Apart from his position as a recognized leader in higher education, Lentini is also an award-winning composer, classical guitarist and a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

The event also featured several raffles, the winners of which were presented with a variety of different prizes and goodies that were provided by several Rockville Centre businesses.

All of the proceeds raised during the Unity Through Diversity event, including the raffles and ticket sales, will go to help benefit the Rebecca Center Client Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to clients in need to support access to music therapy services at The Rebecca Center. To learn more about the scholarship fund and the different programs offered at the center, visit TheRebeccaCenter.org.