Press and Media

The Desert Sun

April 15, 2017

Even an attack of weird weather couldn't keep Broadway stars from shinning at Stepping Out for College of the Desert - Neil Berg's "100 Years of Broadway."

Supporters of student success filled the McCallum Theatre as COD Foundation interim executive director Peter Sturgeon, in his signature bow tie, took to the stage. He welcomed attendees and said, "This year we will serve 15,000 students and our college is the fastest growing among the 130 community colleges in California." He thanked donors for empowering student dreams and for helping to create a great local workforce for tomorrow. Sturgeon also acknowledged presenting sponsors Arlene and Jordan Schnitzer for their commitment, thanked COD Foundation president Mark Nickerson for his leadership and introduced a large screen video inspired by the Broadway musical "Hamilton." The video highlighted success stories from a variety of students and concluded with Gershowitz urging everyone to "enjoy the show!"Diane Gershowitz "rapped out" a tribute to the success of COD programs like the "You Can Change Lives" campaign and the EDGE (engage, develop, grow and (be) empowered) program which:

  • Fosters student success,
  • Reduces the number of remedial courses,
  • Increases student retention and persistence.

COD adds more than $282 million annually to the local economy because the skills it teaches translate directly into higher earnings for students and increased output for local businesses.

The entertainment opened to Neil Berg at the piano, Roger Cohen on drums, Abraham Saenz on bass and Mark Nilan on keyboard. Berg said, "Tonight is all about education - the path to success." He spoke of his long-time love for Broadway musicals and introduced five amazing, talented Broadway performers beginning with William Michals who sang "Some Enchanted Evening" from Rodgers & Hammerstein's musical South Pacific.

This was followed by great musical moments from Broadway performed by Lawrence Clayton, Carter Calvert, Danny Zollis and Jessica Grove. Songs from The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Evita, CATS, Chicago, Fiddler on the Roof, Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast, Man from La Mancha and many more had the audience singing along, tapping their toes and begging for more. It was truly an enchanted evening.

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