Broadway Performers Star In Michael Kenwood Concert Benefitting His Family, PFARS
Just before the funeral for Michael Kenwood, the volunteer emergency medical technician who died in the line of duty during Hurricane Irene last August, performers from a theatrical organization with which Mr. Kenwood and his family had close ties offered to present a musical tribute to him at the service.
Mr. Kenwood’s family declined the gracious offer at the time. But to mark the year that has passed since the tragedy, the family has invited the group, Broadway Sings, to present a tribute concert celebrating Mr. Kenwood’s life and legacy. The concert, to be held September 23 at Princeton High School’s Performing Arts Center, will benefit Mr. Kenwood’s family as well as the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad (PFARS).
A separate event to honor Mr. Kenwood and mark the one-year anniversary of his passing will be held at 11 a.m. August 28 by PFARS at Greenway Meadows park, 275 Rosedale Road. A reception will follow at the PFARS building, 237 North Harrison Street. The public is invited to attend. Those interested are asked to RSVP by emailing email@example.com.
For the September concert, which will include a silent auction, the singers are donating their talents. “These performers are not wannabees,” says Martin Kenwood, Mr. Kenwood’s father. “They have all performed on Broadway, every one of them, and they are excellent.”
The Kenwood family’s connection to the performers goes back a few years to a restaurant in Totowa called Tortina’s, where performers from Broadway and national touring productions would often entertain. Michael Kenwood’s parents, who are fans of musical theater, were regular customers. “We were so impressed that we returned every week,” Mr. Kenwood said. “We had a table reserved for us. We just had to let them know how many people we’d have with us. Michael joined us when he could, and lots of other people did, too.”
A real estate investor and property manager who lives in Paramus, Mr. Kenwood soon became friendly with the performers and proprietors, and offered his services to the group that would eventually become Broadway Sings. Michael Kenwood, an attorney by profession who owned a technology consulting company, also lent his expertise to the organization. “Michael formed a corporation for them, filed the trade name, and trademarked the name. So he was instrumental from the get-go,” his father said.
It was while attempting to reach a submerged vehicle last August 28 that Mr. Kenwood was swept away after losing his footing. Only 39, he died from the injuries he sustained, leaving behind his wife and young daughter.
Peter Simon, president of PFARS, said he knew how much Broadway Sings meant to the Kenwood family when he began thinking about planning a tribute. “I started talking with the producer a few months ago. I knew this would be a wonderful opportunity to turn the page from a year of mourning to more of a celebration of who Michael was and what his legacy is,” he said. “This is not a sad, mournful event. It is an event to celebrate what a fantastic person he was.”
Silent auction items at the concert will include Broadway tickets, collectors items, and local goods and services. Tickets are $30 and $75. Corporate sponsorships are available. Visit www.pfars.org or michaelkenwood.brownpapertickets.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (609) 924-3338.