Musical Moments at NJPAC Shines a Light on Multiple Sclerosis

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Aretha Franklin

The reigning “Queen of Soul” and 19-time Grammy winner Aretha Franklin will perform at NJPAC on June 16 in a gala benefit presented by the National MS Society.

Philanthropist Lee Kushner’s fundraiser, ‘Musical Moments for MS,’ which she co-founded with her husband Murray, continues to be a huge success. The event draws top artists to the NJPAC stage to support awareness and raise money for multiple sclerosis research. The Kushners are in their 12th event and have raised almost $15 million dollars to support MS research, raise awareness of the disease, and spread joy to those who attend.

“MS is depressing and luncheons with speakers are boring,” said Lee Kushner, when asked why they chose concerts as a way to raise money for MS. Their goal was to create an event that was both uplifting and impactful and felt there was no better way to do that than through music. “Plus, I’ve always wanted to be up on that stage performing,” she said. “This is my way to experience that.”

National Multiple Sclerosis SocietyThe Kushners lead a busy life. They have four children and ten grandchildren, and they spend a lot of time with all of them. Lee was diagnosed with MS in the mid- 1990s. The Kushners realized that there was a need for MS research and program funding and established this Gala to give their support. Murray does the event fundraising and Lee organizes the event. Referring to themselves as George and Gracie, the two host the event, welcome the audience, introduce the honorees and the special guest. Through the years, they’ve had 11 amazing artists support the cause including Bette Midler, Idina Menzel, Donna Summer, Smokey Robinson, and Patty LuPone.

In addition to the musical guest, the event honors several individuals who’ve made significant contributions to the MS movement and their communities. Honorees this year include Kevin Cummings, President and CEO, Investors Bank; Steven Kalafer, Chairman, Flemington Car and Truck and Owner, Somerset Patriots; and Peter D. Dowling, M.D., Clinical Professor, Department of Neurology and Neurosciences, Rutgers NJ Medical School.

NJPAC is offering a limited number of seats at a special price to the concert-only portion of the Musical Moments for MS gala. To purchase tickets , visit online here or call the box office at 1-888-GO-NJPAC. To purchase tickets to the entire gala program, which start at $500, call 908.781.8418.

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