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Harrison Teacher to Lead in Autism Benefit Concert

HARRISON, N.Y. - A weekend concert to raise money for Autism Speaks has become a labor of love for Harrison Music Teacher Cris Spinner, who won't be working alone.

Spinner worked alongside the Harrison High School PTA to help recruit several Harrison teachers, who will all lend their talents to the musical event.

"It is so exciting to have everyone involved," Spinner said. "At the high school, students involved in our I.B. and G.O. programs are designing flyers, programs and working with town business to sponsor the show."

The fifth annual "Voices Heard" concert to raise money for Autism Speaks is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3 in the Harrison Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. It's biggest attraction, Spinner said, will be the teachers' participation.

As a parent of an autistic child, Spinner said she knows firsthand of the struggles parents may face. But her experience also helps her in becoming an energetic advocate at the school, raising awareness to students and parents within the community.

"We wouldn't be able to do this without the amazing support of our Harrison community," Spinner said.

Spinner, who taught at Harrison Avenue Elementary School for over 20 years before moving to Louis M. Klein Middle School, recruited fellow Harrison Avenue School teachers Kristina-Marie Cascone, Regina Singel, and Clancy Tager.

"Many of our teachers are lending their talents to the concert, as well as members of the Harrison High School Chorus," Spinner said. "The tech crew volunteers their time to run the HPAC and the HHS Color Guard along with members of the band, orchestra and dance programs will be contributing."

Spinner said the Harrison High School PTA is coordinating refreshments to be provided by all the schools and recognized the schools' custodians, who will donate their time to "help make this event such a success every year."

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