SAVE HVC (School founded by Samuel E. Wright)

The Hudson Valley Conservatory, the Hudson Valley's first performing arts school, has offered acting, music, and dance classes for over
twenty-five years.

For a quarter-century, the school has been a place for children to learn and grow—a place where children develop not just as artists but confident, competent young adults.

It has also been a safe place to thrive for kids living in the margins—whether it be because of a lack of economic privilege, or an identity not accepted by their family. The school has welcomed and embraced them all.

And now, it's in trouble. 

The pandemic's ongoing fallout and the crumbling building have put the school in a situation that requires our help. Even when the world was shutting down around them, the owners and staff knew that the show must go on.

So, on it went, but with a massive loss in revenue and the inability to maintain a building that no longer suits them.

That's why we're raising $250,000 to pay outstanding debt, move into a new building, and continue to offer classes to all the children in our community who desire them—no matter their background or financial situation.

Here's why you want to help (a little history):

In 1988, Samuel E. Wright, Broadway performer, two-time Tony nominee, and the voice of the legendary character Sebastian the Crab in Disney's The Little Mermaid, moved his family to a little town in Upstate NY. He immediately noticed a lack of arts in the area and wanted to make sure all kids had access to the craft he loved so much.

Along with their children's high school music teacher, he and his wife decided to open a performing arts school. The Hudson Valley Conservatory has been in business for 26 years offering music, drama, and dance classes to students and performances for the community at their 170-seat black box theater.

Sadly, in 2018, Sam Wright was diagnosed with prostate cancer that eventually took his life just weeks ago on May 24th.

Sam always made the children of his community a priority. The school has never turned a child away for lack of funds. Even during very difficult treatments, Sam continued to travel to nearby schools to visit the kids and bring them joy. Nothing made him happier than seeing children laugh and smile. 

And something tells us that Sam has made you or a child you love smile through his many iconic characters. Who doesn't love Sebastian?!
The loving and generous legacy of a little Black boy from the Jim Crow South who spent his life trying to help others make their dreams come true must continue. The joy he brought to children everywhere must be held sacred.

The show must go on.

Please give what you can to keep his (and so many young people's) dream alive.

Important information about how funds are being distributed and used: The host of this fundraiser is Dee Kelly, daughter of Samuel E. Wright and a teacher at the Hudson Valley Conservatory. Dee has created this fundraiser with the help of family and friends. All funds collected will be given directly to the owners of the conservatory to use for the following: to pay outstanding debts and invoices that are unpaid due to reduced income during Covid; general costs to keep the business running; securing a new space for the school and theater and making the necessary renovations; supplementing fees for scholarship students.


  • Colleen Corbett 
    • $200 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous 
    • $40 
    • 1 mo
  • Colleen Corbett 
    • $200 
    • 3 mos
  • Amber Neilson 
    • $20 
    • 4 mos
  • Brian Collazo 
    • $600 
    • 4 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Dee Kelly 
Walden, NY
Amanda Wright