Raissa Katona Bennett – President

On Broadway, Raissa appeard as “Christine Daae” in PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and in CHESS, as a benefit for the Actor’s Fund. Her First National Tours include: “Jellylorum/Griddlebone” and “Jennyanydots” in CATS, “Mother” in the National Theatre of the Deaf’s A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES, and as “Lizzie Phagan” in PARADE, where she worked with the original creative team of director Harold Prince, choreographer Patricia Birch, author Alfred Uhry, and composer Jason Robert Brown. As an original cast member of SAVIN’ AIMEE, Raissa worked with creators: Kathie Lee Gifford, David Friedman, and David Pomeranz.

In NYC, Raissa has headlined at: Feinstein’s, Metropolitan Room, Iridium and The Laurie Beechman Theatre. She has guest starred at: The Supper Club, Rainbow Room, 88′s, Don’t Tell Mama, Chita’s, The Algonquin, and Radio City Music Hall. She has soloed with many symphony orchestras and was guest soloist at the estate of the legendary Cal Ripken, Jr. She was featured at the Lincoln Center Barnes and Noble in their Any Wednesday series, performing selections from her CD, What I Was Dreaming Of.  Her newest CD, Another Kind of Light, was released through LML Music, August, 2012, and can be purchased there or on Amazon and iTunes.

Raissa was nominated for a 2013 MAC Award for Major Artist, for a 2009 MAC Award for Outstanding Female Vocalist and received the 2010 Bistro Award and 2011 MAC Award for Outstanding Achievement as the creator, producer and host of THE CONCERTS FOR CITY GREENS, which is dedicated to preserving the green spaces of NYC (as well as other urban areas), while introducing a whole new audience to the artists of the cabaret and theater communities. She was also nominated for 4 Broadway World Awards in 2012, and 1 in 2013. She writes a blog, “Raissa Recommends” that highlights performances in the NYC cabaret and theater, and promotes animal rescue and a kinder, more verdant world.  She is also a Reiki Master, and Platform Assistant/Chaplain, at Unity Center for Practical Spirituality, in Norwalk, CT.  With a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Hartt School of Music, Raissa taught music in the Connecticut Public School System, pre-K thru 12, with an emphasis on special needs children, and she served as a Music Therapist and worked on the development of the DSM-II, through her student internship at Connecticut Valley Hospital in Farmington, CT.  She volunteered with the Red Cross during 9/11 and through the Salvation Army / Safe Horizons  in long term post 9/11 outreach.  She is on the Advisory Board of  THE SALON as well as THE AMERICAN SONGBOOK PROJECT, and is a former member of the Board of Directors of Cabaret Cares, which provides funding to children living with HIV. One of her passions is training rescue dogs with behavioral issues, to make them more adoptable.  She has volunteered extensively, in this capacity and as a dog foster, with the ASPCA, The Humane Society and Shih Tzu Fur Baby Rescue.

Raissa lives in Tudor City in NYC with her husband Dr. Garrett Bennett, a Facial Plastic and Sinus surgeon, and their 3 tiny rescue dogs, Otie (a 10 year old Chihuahua), Phoebe (a 6 year old Toy Fox Terrier), and Molly (a 9 year old Havanese).  All 5 of the Bennett’s also enjoy a weekend home in Milford, CT.

Louise Kittel – Board Member

After moving from Brooklyn to the ‘burbs at the age of 5, the first friend Louise made in her new Long Island home was the big old pine tree in her back yard. A bit lonely for having left all her human pals behind, Louise noticed how the low branches of the tree reached out to her, like arms, and discovered that a tree could always offer you both solace and a higher perspective, whether you climb it, or simply sit in its shade.Today, Louise is a writer and fine artist, and author of the forthcoming book, Messages from Trees.Her creative career has spanned over thirty years, many of those as a creative supervisor and eventually vice president at major New York ad agencies. Having written and produced numerous TV commercials on everything from cosmetics to floor coverings, she later turned to commercial acting and did voice-overs while studying fine art. Today her light-filled oil paintings can be seen in private and corporate collections across the US and in Europe, and at www.louisekittel.com.Louise also designs and teaches transformative art workshops online and at her New York City studio, and at the Creative Center, (formerly the Creative Center for Women with Cancer). She knows first hand the healing power of art and nature, and is passionate about preserving urban green spaces through her service to Music and Art for City Greens.

Tanya Moberly – Board Member

Is the 4-Time MAC Award winning Executive Producer of The Salon.  She has just won the 2014 Bistro Award for Outstanding Theme Show for: I LOVE NEW YORK SONGWRITERS, her current show,  and is the  Associate Producer of The 28th & 29th Annual Bistro Awards.

She has performed as a featured soloist in many of The Concerts For City Greens and has been its stage manager since 2009.

Tanya has been performing at the legendary cabaret, Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, since 1998 when she co-created the 2000 MAC Award nominated THE BLONDE LEADING THE BLONDE. Her first solo show was MOBERLY SINGS DI FRANCO, which Cabaret Hotline deemed “The Best Musical Event of 2001″.

Her long solo cabaret career includes: TANYA SINGS ARLEN, ETC… , THEATRE SONGS and TANYA LORRAINE MOBERLY SINGS BARBRA JOAN STREISAND for which she received a 2013 MAC Award Nomination as Outstanding Female Vocalist and a 2012 Broadway World Award Nomination for Best Tribute Show.

Robin Westle – Secretary

After spending more than 30 years as a speech pathologist, wife, and mother, Robin attended a Concert for City Greens in 2009 and was inspired to rediscover her voice. Since then she has performed several solo cabaret shows as well as in benefits both in NYC and North Carolina. She has co hosted open mics and appeared in the Concerts for City Greens this past summer. Robin holds a bachelors degree in speech pathology from SUNY Buffalo and a Master of Science in speech pathology from Columbia University Teachers College. She is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology at CUNY Hunter College. A member of the board of Music and Art for Greens as well as a volunteer at the Concerts for City Greens, Robin is committed to bringing free music and art to diverse urban areas while helping to promote the preservation of green spaces.

Thomas Westle – Board Member

A partner in the law firm of Blank Rome, LLP, strongly believes in the mission of Music and Art for City Greens, preserving the green spaces within our City and utilizing music and art to call attention to this mission. As a resident of Tudor City, he knows just how important a park can be to a neighborhood and to an entire city. For many years, Tom has served as a member of the New York State Board of Easter Seals and is a past Chairman of the NYS Board. He also serves on the board of The Singers Forum.

Roger Schaffland – Board Member

Born in Calgary, Canada to wide open spaces , Roger definitely appreciates the parks and green areas of NYC, the world’s greatest concrete jungle. As a retired Deloitte & Touche Director, Professional Engineer, and now Managing Principal at AXCELERUS, who spends the majority of his time in offices, on planes and in airports, Roger believes passionately in the mission of Music and Art for City Greens to provide much needed balance and recreation to urban lifestyles.When asked about the formation of this non-profit he said, “It’s so hard to imagine not having these parks, and even though I rarely get to use them, when I do, it’s always transformative for me; a great lunch with a friend colleague or client in a casual setting, a terrific music experience as the sun goes down in the parks, a chance to reflect on the high quality of life we enjoy here in NYC and in the US – all enabled by a park bench and a spirit-at-rest for a few minutes. We need these green spaces more than ever, and using the arts to get people to take time out of their busy schedules is pure genius. Come to one of our events; you’ll be impressed by the high caliber of talent and learn another way you can enjoy life more”.Roger brings experience in running successful enterprises, team leadership, risk management and has attended United Way’s excellent BoardServeNYC training for non-profits which emphasizes non-profit governance, ethics, effective leadership and mission focus.

Craig Marson – Treasurer

A child of 60’s, Craig grew up on Long Island in a very musical family.  His mother taught music and was an accomplished performer in local productions and with the Collegiate Chorale.  Craig  began playing piano at age 6 and frequently accompanied school bands, orchestras and soloists during competition.  He was also the choir accompanist throughout high school.As a businessman, Craig is Director of Financial Planning with Clark Dodge Asset Management.  He brings almost three decades experience providing investment, financial and succession planning to individuals and their related entities.

Since 1997, Craig’s advisory roles have included portfolio analysis, investment counsel and multigenerational plan design. He has provided litigation support and analysis in complex trust and conservatorship, fiduciary responsibility, divorce and business valuation cases. He also served as Compliance Officer for two firms.

Craig was previously a tax manager for a wealth management concern located in New York City. He was responsible for the tax compliance, estate planning, research and projections for a prominent family within New York’s investment and philanthropic community. Prior to this, Craig was a member of a corporate tax department where he was responsible for consolidated corporate compliance, budgeting and various Federal and State and Local Audits. He began his career with two Big Six accounting firms and was responsible for a wide variety of corporate and compliance issues for corporate and individual clients.

Craig is a New York State licensed Attorney and CPA. He received his undergraduate degree in accounting from SUNY @ Albany and his JD from St. John’s University. He previously served on the SUNY @ Albany Dean’s Advisory Board and is a member of various professional organizations. During the last decade, Craig replaced his passion for competing in marathons and triathlons with an even greater golfing obsession. His quirky talent is that he can “name that tune”, especially 70’s rock, with just a note or two!  Serving on the Music and Art for Green board, is the perfect melding of all of his talents and passions.