New Paltz concert to benefit Maya Gold Foundation

How do parents manage to go on after the utterly unexpected suicide of a beloved child? If you’re Elise Gold and Mathew Swerdloff of New Paltz, you start a foundation in your late daughter’s name, with a mission that was close to her heart. You work closely with other local parents to help create a safer, more supportive community for young people who might be concealing their struggles from the adult world. And if you have lots of musicians in your social circle, you organize a concert to celebrate your daughter’s life and legacy.

The latter effort bears fruit this Sunday afternoon at the Julien J. Studley Theatre in the Old Main Building on the SUNY-New Paltz campus. The concert, titled “The Candle and the Heart,” is a benefit for the Maya Gold Foundation, and features a stellar lineup of Hudson Valley-based musicians. Headliners will be three-time Grammy-winning singer/songwriter/storyteller Tom Chapin and renowned keyboardist John Medeski of Medeski, Martin & Wood. Also on the program will be local faves Kim and Reggie Harris, Bill & Livia Vanaver with the Vanaver Youth Dance Company, the Paul Green Rock Academy Showband and up-and-coming jazz chanteuse Joanna Teters. Jonathan Kligler, rabbi of the Woodstock Jewish Congregation, whose moving eulogy for Maya and plea for a kinder world for her peers went viral last fall on social media, will emcee.

“The Candle and the Heart” will be the Maya Gold Foundation’s first major fundraiser, with proceeds devoted to two projects of the Nepal Youth Foundation: one that provides food, shelter, clothing and education for orphans and another focused on stopping a form of human trafficking in Nepal called kamlaris. Future events for local youth include “Welcome to the Adolescent Brain,” a talk by Michael Nerney, at New Paltz High School on May 19 at 7 p.m. Find out more about the Maya Gold Foundation, including volunteering and sponsorship opportunities, at or

The concert begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 17; allow ample time to find parking near Old Main. Admission is by donation, with $20 the suggested ticket price for adults and $10 for youth. Tickets will be sold at the door if still available. Get yours in advance at And don’t forget to wear blue to the concert: Maya’s favorite color.

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