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October 3, 2006
Edition: GWPR
Page: 1D



Linda LombrosoThe Journal NewsAs the founder of Jazz for Peace, Rick DellaRatta has one simple mission: to use jazz music as a means of helping people in need. This week, he will bring that mission to New Rochelle with a fundraising concert for children in Rwanda. The performance, featuring DellaRatta on piano and vocals, is a benefit for Esther's Aid for Needy and Abandoned Children, a nonprofit organization based in New Rochelle. The group, founded by New Rochelle resident Clare Effiong, focuses on training, educating and rehabilitating the orphans and street children of Rwanda. Since its founding in 1999, Esther's Aid has opened a primary school and established training programs in sewing, catering, auto mechanics and welding. The group's current goals include the construction of a self-contained village in Kigali, Rwanda's capital, that will include a school, a church, a library, a clinic, an event hall and a dormitory. "The bottom line is that in this life, any child that loses a parent, the life of that child falls apart," says Effiong, who makes frequent trips to Rwanda. "The main focus is to keep on working with the hopeless."Some of the Rwandan girls and women trained by Esther's Aid volunteers are now creating bags, baskets and other decorative items that will be exhibited at New Rochelle High School before the concert. The Jazz for Peace show will feature a small ensemble and include some of DellaRatta's original compositions, as well as songs performed in English and Portuguese. DellaRatta, who lives in Manhattan, leads more than 100 benefit concerts each year with Jazz for Peace. He created the organization in 2002 after leading a concert at the U.N.. "Anyone who came to our United Nations concert saw Israeli, Palestinian, Iraqi and American jazz musicians performing at a world-class level, and obviously that is such a positive means of communication," he says. "If we're communicating in a positive way on a level like that, then good things are going to happen."Reach Linda Lombroso at or 914-694-5059.