It was an evening of music based on the TV hit The Voice. “Turn Up the Music” was the theme of the 23rd annual Kennedy Center Cabaret. The audience was moved by the entertainment that the guests clapped and swayed their hands, shrieked and whistled with excitement, and danced the night away on and off the stage. This evening to remember benefited Children’s Services at The Kennedy Center and raised $30,000. Both Chair Christine Mahoney of Trumbull and Entertainment Director Elayne Cassara of Weston are to be commended for their commitment of time and talent to this worthy charity event.

Since its inception more than 20 years ago, the auction/cabaret has raised more than $1 million for the benefit of Children’s Services at The Kennedy Center. These programs include the following comprehensive services: Birth to Three, Family Enrichment, Summer Camp Program, Community Rec Program, Artworks, Sibling Programs, The Autism Project, Volunteer Support Services, Family Partnership, Lighthouse After School, Partners Program, and Social Activity Groups.

An exceptional group of performers competed for your vote as four men and seven women vied for the winner of this voice contest. Elayne Cassara won the top prize with her sultry style performing A Little Piece of My Heart and Perfect. The winner for the men was Bobby Harden, New York City’s voice runner-up of the evening. He roused the crowd to get up on their dancing feet with his upbeat, personal rendition of Soul Man and his interactive style. Earlier, he sang When Something Is Wrong With My Baby.

In between the solo performances, some of the standout numbers performed by the cast included contemporary and rock songs such as Eye of the Tiger, Diamond in the Sky, Good Lovin, and Keep Your Head Up.

During the evening’s festivities, Martin D. Schwartz, President and CEO of The Kennedy Center, announced that two years ago The Kennedy Center opened a new home for Children’s Services in Stratford. “This year, I am pleased to report that The Kennedy Center was able to purchase the Stratford facility and now has a permanent home for Children’s Services and its programs,” he added. “Through generous supporters like the guests gathered here tonight, we were able to achieve this goal.”

Generous sponsors deserving a round of applause include: Silver sponsors Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, PC and Merit Insurance; Bronze sponsor Newtown Savings Bank and Signature sponsors G. Pic & Sons Construction Company and Unilever.

The Kennedy Center is a nationally accredited, non-profit, community-based rehabilitation organization that currently serves 2,400 individuals annually. The agency actively responds to the needs of the community by offering innovative, comprehensive service options to persons with disabilities and special needs, from birth to senior years. The Kennedy Center operates 26 community experience programs, 16 group homes, an industries program composed of six businesses, supported and competitive employment and job placement services, a family support and respite service, travel training, and a variety of children’s programs. Visitthekennedycenterinc.org for more information.