Astoria-based nonprofit to hold benefit concert
May 01, 2019 | 15189 views | 0 0 comments | 1757 1757 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Anush Avetisyan
Anush Avetisyan
Vivien Schweitzer
Vivien Schweitzer
The Center for the Integration & Advancement of New Americans (CIANA), an Astoria-based nonprofit organization providing free legal and social services to immigrant communities, is hosting a benefit concert on Thursday, May 23.

Through the concert, CIANA is hoping to raise funds in order to support its ESOL and civics programs that directly help the immigrant families. Specifically, the funding will go towards hiring a culturally competent ESL and civics instructor for immigrants at CIANA.

The concert, which will take place at The National Opera Center in Manhattan, will feature performers Anush Avetisyan and Vivien Schweitzer.

Avetisyan, an Armenian-American soprano, is the founder of the recital series “Image of an Immigrant” and a 2018-19 fellow of Turn the Spotlight, a nonprofit that supports artists who use their skills to strengthen their communities and pursue social justice.

“As a first-generation immigrant myself, I think there is both a great beauty and great difficulty in finding your way in a new country,” Avetisyan said. “I wish my family had known about an organization like CIANA, whose impact is powerful in their community and helps with this transition. I am happy to lend my voice to lift up their mission.”

Schweitzer is a pianist and the author of “A Mad Love: An Introduction to Opera.” She has been a CIANA board member since 2018 and has been a volunteer ESL and civics teacher since 2015.

“CIANA offers a friendly and non-judgmental environment for immigrant families from all over the

World,” Schweitzer said. “As a regular volunteer, I’ve seen how much effort the students make to learn English and Civics and how eager they are to contribute to American society.

“At a time when harshly anti-immigrant rhetoric is prevalent, it’s ever more vital to offer a warm welcome and a helping hand,” she added.

Avetisyan and Schweitzer, who met through Turn the Spotlight, will perform alongside music from Mozart, Dvorak, Puccini, Ives,

Komitas and Florence Price.

CIANA has been helping new immigrants integrate into the city since 2006. The nonprofit social services agency specializes in providing an array of culturally competent and language appropriate services, with a focus on newcomers from the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Latin America. The Astoria office can be found at 31-09 Newtown Avenue, Suite 411.

The benefit concert will begin at 7 p.m. at the Marc. A Scorca Hall within The National Opera Center, which is located at 330 Seventh Avenue. You can purchase tickets on Eventbrite at

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