NEWARK — For the 14th year in a row, the Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey will prepare for its signature fundraiser, the Concert for Kids, to be held at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Dec. 1.

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This year, the event's honorees are the Sobel and Sudler Family Foundations, and concertgoers will be helping to add to a $3.8 million total that has been raised since 2003 at these concerts to support BGCNJ efforts in the Garden State. The event will be taped to air at a later date on local PBS stations.

"It's really a special evening that provides an opportunity where we can recognize people that have really devoted their time and resources to Boys & Girls Clubs' youth across the state," said Susan Haspel, state director of BGCNJ.

The program for the evening, "American Songbook," will feature award-winning performer Michael Feinstein and numerous Broadway stars — Billy Porter, Ana Gasteyer and Tommy Tune, to name a few. BGCNJ celebrity spokesman and New Jersey native Joe Piscopo will emcee.

As proof of the Concert for Kids' wide reach and reputation, Haspel said Tony Bennett headlined the concert last year.

BGCNJ encompasses 23 organizations across the state, which combine to serve some 70,000-plus children ages 5 to 18. The statewide group's mission is "to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens."

"The clubs across the state of New Jersey do incredible youth development work," Haspel said. "They really provide kids with a safe haven, and change their lives."

Haspel also said the latest winner of the Boys & Girls Clubs' National Military Youth of the Year honor will speak at this year's concert.

Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are still available for the 14th annual Concert for Kids, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the Victoria Theater at NJPAC, with a VIP reception preceding at 5:30. (Even though the funds raised will benefit BGCNJ children, the program's content is geared toward an adult audience.)

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Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email

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