October 18, 2022

At Joan’s Closet, established by MSM Trustee Emerita Joan Taub Ades (HonDMA ’14), MSM students are gifted elegant performance gowns and outfits

The 11th annual Joan’s Closet, open exclusively to Manhattan School of Music students, took place at MSM’s Ades Performance Space on September 23, 2022.

More than 200 MSM students benefit each year from donated formal and semi-formal performance attire in this annual event, established by MSM Trustee Emerita Joan Taub Ades (HonDMA ’14).

“I am absolutely thrilled that Joan’s Closet celebrated its 11th anniversary,” says Joan Taub Ades. “For more than a decade, Joan’s Closet has empowered our immensely talented students by giving them audition and performance wear – which frequently can be cost-prohibitive for them. Wearing these beautiful clothes gives our students a more equal footing in important competitions and auditions.”

“I’d like to thank all the generous donors who by giving their gowns a second life, have made Joan’s Closet flourish,” Dr. Ades continues. “This is a School of heart, and it certainly has mine.”

SLIDE SHOW: Students select outfits at Joan's Closet

Three MSM Classical Voice students share what they selected, and talk about why Joan’s Closet is so important to them, as young musicians starting their careers.

Adaiah Ogletree (BM ’26)

“The dress I choose is a beautiful emerald green gown with a mid-thigh slit. This event is important because it gives students access to beautiful performance wear that not only is free of charge but can help them feel beautiful, comfortable, and confident when performing. It is very hard to find inexpensive plus-size gowns that are well-fitting and beautiful. Joan’s closet helped me find one in less than an hour for free.”

Aida Skaraite (BM ’25)

“At Joan’s Closet, I chose a lovely peach-colored gown with a jeweled neckline. This event is something I am beyond grateful for – it gives so many students the opportunity to find the most gorgeous gowns and accessories, all graciously provided by Joan Taub Ades. Every student has a unique financial situation, and many were able to find outfits that they may not have allowed themselves to get otherwise.

It is no secret that as musicians we have to invest a lot of money into our art, including for things such as gowns. Thanks to this event, I managed to find the most stunning dress that fit perfectly, and I truly cannot wait to wear it in a future performance! I plan to wear this outfit during my second-year performance recital, especially since it perfectly fits with the pieces I am singing!”

Sofia Gotch (MM ’23)

“The dress/outfit that I ended up choosing is a deep purple satin gown. I chose it for its rich color and structured fabric.  This event is important to me because as young musicians, we want to present our best selves on stage. At this time in our careers, we may not all have the funds or opportunities to present ourselves on stage the way we imagine in terms of clothing. But I saw and found gowns at Joan’s closet that were elegant, professional, and perfect for the stage.

I think that this event is especially helpful for singers. We have so many events that we need formal and beautiful clothing for. And preferably clothing that shows some variety. It can feel overwhelming at times to present your best self and your best clothing, audition after audition. It’s great that there is a chance for students to take home an item or gown to make their next performance or next audition just a bit less stressful.

I plan on wearing the gown I chose [not the gown pictured] for my master’s recital. It is gorgeous as is, but I am hoping to get it altered to fit me just right, so that I can feel confident and professional on stage.”

Watch a special video on Joan’s Closet:

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