Farmington Teens Share Musical Talents

Form Chapter Of Arts From The Heart Group, Which Performs At Nursing Homes 


The Hartford Courant

May 12, 2011


Danielle Hoffman has a passion for performing. As part of preparing for her bat mitzvah, a Jewish coming-of-age celebration, she was encouraged to help others through a community service project.

So the seventh-grader formed a Connecticut chapter of Arts From the Heart. The initiative was founded in 2006 by Hoffman's cousin, Maddi Steele, an accomplished pianist who performs with friends at nursing homes near her New Jersey home. Danielle, a student at Irving A. Roberts Middle School, was so impressed with her cousin's work that she replicated it.

"I'm very into music and musical theater, so instead of playing piano, we sing and perform at local nursing homes," said Danielle.

This year, Arts From the Heart members performed at the Hebrew Home in West Hartford, Jefferson House in Newington and The Gables in Farmington.

"It's nice to see all the nursing home people happy," said 17-year-old Justin Brown, the group's pianist, who attends Farmington High School and the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.

As the school year winds down, Arts From the Heart is preparing for a community concert on May 20 at the Roberts School to benefit The Petit Family Foundation, which honors the memories of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, Hayley and Michaela, who were killed in Cheshire in 2007.

"Arts From the Heart has evolved into such a great thing and we thought it would be good to do a charity concert for such an important foundation," said Danielle, whose group has been practicing for three hours each Sunday for the past several weeks.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. May 20 at Irving R. Robbins Middle School, 20 Wolf Pit Road, Farmington. Tickets are $10 or $5 for children younger than 14, and are available by calling 860-677-2900 or by email at

For information on Arts From the Heart go to,0,5662742.story