Inspirational Person of the Month:

Harry Bernstein

In honor of what would have been his 98th birthday this month, the inspirational person for October in Margaret’s father, Harry Bernstein.

Born on October 4, 1917 in Chicago, the son of a Rabbi and the youngest of six children, Harry began his artistic pursuits with trombone lessons while still in grade school. As a teenager, a free ticket to a ballet performance changed his life forever. He began dance lessons, which eventually brought him to New York City where he performed as a soloist with the Graff Concert Ballet before serving in the Army Air Corps. Upon his return from Burma where he received three battle stars and a Presidential Unit Citation for his active service from 1941 to 1946, he continued to pursue his studies in dance. He was accepted to the Julliard School where he studied with Margaret Craske, Martha Graham, Anthony Tudor, Louis Horst and Jose’ Limon and was the first male dancer to graduate from the school. He received a graduate degree in dance from New York University and continued his studies of dance with Alwin Nikolai, among others. Mr. Bernstein pursued his career in dance, performing with the Chicago Ballet Company, the Hanya Holm Dance Company, the Doris Humphrey Repertory Company, Ballet American, and Henry Street Playhouse.

I have also been fortunate to have worked as a professional flutist since leaving Oberlin, thanks to Mr. Willoughby’s tenacity and skill at helping budding flutists reach their full potential as musicians. Without the technique as well as the discipline which I inherited from Mr. Willoughby, I could not have made two solo albums of original compositions for flute, performed with the Albany (New York) Symphony in the Shaker Opera Music Festival or play on a record produced by Rock Legend Pete Townsend (of “The Who”). I remember Mr. Willoughby telling me once if I wanted to be a professional musician, I had to be able to play at any time of day or night under any condition. I have lived up to that piece of advice and think of him fondly every time I find myself performing in the recording studio at 3 am (which occurs more often than one would think).

In addition to his active career as both a modern and ballet dancer and soloist, Mr. Bernstein is known to the dance world as a choreographer, a prominent dance critic, and most significantly, as the former chairman of the dance department at Adelphi University in Garden City. He began his writing career in 1953,
as the editor and critic of the Dance Observer which he kept until 1964. At this juncture, Mr. Bernstein had already begun his commendable and lengthy career as an professor of dance beginning with a two year stint at Elmira College in 1954. In 1956, he took a position at Adelphi University in which he served as Professor until his retirement in 1988. In 1959, Mr. Bernstein was appointed chairman of the Dance Department, a post which he kept until 1972. During his chairmanship, he continued to choreograph substantial works for concert stage, ballet, opera and musical comedy, many of which were performed at the Adelphi Theatre by students and faculty members. Also during Mr. Bernstein’s chairmanship, the dance department at Adelphi grew and flourished, turning out scores of students who later became prominent on the arts scene as dancers and instructors of dance, and claiming national reputation through its renowned faculty including Viola Farber, Paul Taylor and Bunty Kelley. Bunty Kelley, the former soloist with Sadler Wells (Royal Ballet) and Agnes De Mille Dance Theater, later became his wife and lifetime partner.

Mr. Bernstein was the dance consultant for Choice , a long-time member of the Advisory Panel on the dance of the National Council on the Arts, and contributed to the Encyclopedia Americana . He was the founding member and vice chairman of the American College Dance Festival from 1971 to 1933, serving on the Executive Committee from 1973 to 1976. Mr. Bernstein served on the Advisory Panel of Dance for the National Endowment for the Arts from 1965 to 1971. Also, he served as Chairman of the Dance Committee and member of the Board of Directors Executive Committee for the Long Island Arts Festival from 1962 to 1965. He will always be remembered dancing.

Inspirational Place of the Month:

 Waldorf School of Garden City

In honor of her class reunion later this month, the Waldorf School of Garden City, where Margaret spent the first ten years of her academic life, is the Inspirational Place of the Month. The years that Margaret spent at the Garden City Waldorf School ( located in the
Southwestern corner of the Adelphi University campus) taught her how to respect nature as well as give her a foundation and a life-long love and appreciation of music and all the creative Arts. With an hour a day devoted to a creative or visual Art such as watercolor painting, sculpture, drawing or woodworking, daily singing, and playing flute with her own class orchestra twice a week, it is no wonder that Margaret decided to pursue a areer in the Arts! In addition, the reverence, which Margaret has for all living things began during her days spent at Waldorf.

In addition to working regularly on the school’s nature trail, Margaret had the job of feeding the birds three times a week for three years, a responsibility, which she took to heart. Margaret’s Waldorf education also inspired her to begin writing both poetry and musical compositions at the age of seven, both of which lead her ultimately to her current life as a song-writer. The friendships, which she formed in her Waldorf schools days are still connected to her present day life.

For further information about the school, please visit


Katherina Forbes Dunlop

Katherina Forbes Dunlop is Margaret’s beloved Great Aunt. Born July 14th, 1892 in Sussex County England, Katherina was the oldest of three girls. She had a long and inspired career both as a writer and as an educator. Katherina’s inspiration for writing poetry and short stories not only came from her mother who was herself a writer and an artist, but also from her encounters with the British author Joseph Conrad. The stories she has of making rice pudding for Mr. Conrad and other tales can be found in her book “Winchelsea Memories” which is based on her childhood growing up in the quaint sea-side village in Sussex County, England. Miss Dunlop not only taught English in the prestigious Queens Gate Academy in London, but also served as the headmistress of Stocks, the Oldest girls boarding school in England. Even after selling her school, this remarkable lady continued tutoring English and Latin privately in her London flat until the age of 97. In her later years, a scholarship was established in her name to help further the career of a young woman in the Arts. Margaret has many fond memories of times they spent together during Margaret’s many visits to England. which included many outings to the theatre in London together. She shared Margaret’s passion and interest in people, good literature, the Arts, and anything intrinsically beautiful. She was not only a great source of inspiration to Margaret but also to everyone else who had the blessing of knowing her.

Bunty Kelley Bernstein

One of  Margaret’s inspirations is Bunty Kelley Bernstein, a retired dancer and ballet instructor residing in the town of Garden City on Long Island, New York. Bunty’s professional career included years of dancing with the Sadler’s Wells (the Royal Ballet) in London, England under the direction of Dame Ninette de Valois as well as assisting and performing in many of choreographer Agnes de Mille’s productions in the United States. Bunty also served on the Dance Faculty of Adelphi University in Garden City, New York and the Long Island High School for the Arts (BOCES Cultural Arts) in Syosset, New York.


Margaret Craske (Nov. 26th 1892 – Feb. 18th, 1990)

Margaret Bernstein’s Godmother and namesake, Margaret Craske, was an acclaimed ballet teacher who introduced Margaret Bernstein’s parents to one another. Both of Margaret Bernstein’s parents had been ballet students of Margaret Craske. Margaret Bernstein’s mother, Bunty Kelley studied with her as a girl growing up in London, and Margaret Bernstein’s father, Harry Bernstein, had been a student of Miss Craske at the Juilliard School in New York City. Margaret Craske also became a permanent fixture at the Metropolitan Opera House, where she taught ballet until she almost got run over by a New York City taxicab at the age of ninety-four. She spent the last years of her life residing at the Meher Center in Myrtle Beach at South Carolina where she entertained guests with her stories marked of her dry wit.

Margaret Craske was definitely one of the most influential people in Margaret Bernstein’s life. Through her weekly contact, she not only gave an appreciation of the spiritual world, but also taught what it meant to aspire to excellence in all things. She was not only one of the world’s most excellent teachers, but a strong dynamic woman with a sense of humor, a tenacious code of moral and work ethic, and a fiery personality. Although she passed away twenty years ago this month at age ninety-seven, her memory lives vibrantly on in the hearts and minds of those who knew and loved her.

Catherine Furey – Margaret’s adopted Nana

Catherine Furey, Margaret’s adopted Nana. Since Margaret was an infant,Catherine Furey was known to her as “Nana”, which was also how she was  known to over a half dozen of biological grandchildren. Catherine, who became a long-time family friend and adopted relative, had been a main caretaker for Margaret while her parents taught ballet at Adelphi University. She played an integral part in Margaret’s physical development and spiritual development and was there was momentous occasions from the birth and death of Margaret’s brother to Margaret’s high school graduation. A born Irish woman and devout Catholic until the end, Catherine was instrumental in introducing Margaret to prayer at an early age. She use to love to hear the Irish tunes and especially “Danny Boy” which Margaret gratefully had the opportunity to play for her on her flute two days before her passing at the age of 110. Catherine made history upon her passing in November 2003 when her picture was on the cover of Newsday for being the oldest person living on Long Island. Catherine was truly inspirational to everyone whom had the privilege of knowing her.
















Julian Jacobs

Born into a family of musicians and dancers, Julian Song Jacobs practically came out of the womb playing percussion. As soon as he could walk, he began accompanying his mother’s musical performances on whatever percussion instrument he could find and he began violin lessons at the age of four. However, it was not until he was in the fourth grade at Scott M Ellis Elementary School in Greenville, New York that he began his formal training in percussion. At age ten, Julian was the youngest musician to ever join the Empire State Youth Orchestra Percussion Ensembles in the Albany, New York area. Since then, Julian has been accepted into ESYO’s three percussion ensembles, the wind ensemble, the repertory and youth orchestras, the jazz ensembles and was additionally accepted into the string ensemble as a violinist making him the only person in the history of the Empire State Youth Orchestra ever to qualify for all nine ensembles. Julian currently is the principal percussionist and co-timpanist in the Empire State Youth Orchestra as well as the drummer in the ESYO youth jazz ensemble. In addition, Julian has performed as percussionist and drummer with the Greene County, New York All County Band and Jazz Bands and with the New York State Zone 7 Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble. He will be performing with the New York State Band Director’s Festival in Syracuse, New York in March. Julian recently had his debut performance at Carnegie Hall as a percussionist with the Empire State Youth Orchestra. He has also performed at all the major concert halls in the Albany area including Tanglewood; the Egg Center for the Performing Arts; Troy Music Hall; The Arts Center of the Capital District and Proctors Theater. Additionally, he has performed at several colleges and Universities throughout New York State including NYU, Russel Sage College, SUNY Purchase, Queens College, College of Saint Rose, Adelphi University, SUNY Albany, Schenectady Community College, Skidmore College and Rensselaer Polytech University. Julian’s recording credits include appearances as a percussionist and violinist on two CD’s released by Growing Azalea Music (“Bricks in the Wall” and “Distant Thunder”) as well as on Margaret’s new holiday song, “North Pole”. Julian appeared as an actor in two of Margaret’s music videos, “Bricks int he Wall” (as the future premonition of Judy’s son) and “Cinderella Falling” (as the young piano player). Additionally, he has recently scripted, directed and produced his own short film based on the popular novel, “The Kite Runner”. In addition to Julian’s creative talents, Julian is a member of the National Honor Society and is an avid athlete. In addition to downhill skiing, Julian has participated in his school soccer team for two years and the track team for the last three years. He is an International Bachelorate and high honor role senior at Greenville High School (Greenville, NY). Julian’s regular contributions to the community, which include his volunteer work with underprivileged children in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Albany, New York as well as his service with the Keliah Lev Shalom youth group has recently earned him the Saint Michael’s College award for outstanding academic and community service. Julian’s additional interests include travel, animal rescue, and Green Energy. Julian currently studies percussion and drums with Richard Albagli, Michael Benedict and Mark Foster. Additionally, he has studied percussion with Brian Mellick, John Bannon, Christine Wegryn and Conrad Alexander as well as violin with Marla Bracco. Julian is looking forward to his college career beginning in September of 2015 in which he is hoping to pursue a study in Environmental Studies in addition to his studies in classical and jazz percussion. Please stay tuned for Julian’s upcoming website, www., which will be launched by the beginning of the year.


Harry Bernstein – Margaret’s Father



The Meher Spiritual Center, located in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Margaret recently visited and performed at the Center, which is especially beautiful in the springtime. Founded in the 1940’s at Meher Baba’s request, Meher Spiritual Center is a retreat for “rest, meditation, and the renewal of the spiritual life.” The approximate five hundred acres that comprise Meher Center is home to hundreds of species of birds and other animals. The property also includes two lakes and a beach on the Atlantic Ocean. The many boat rides on long lake, walks through the many wooded trails, swims in the ocean and quiet peaceful times spent in reflection have been inspirational to Margaret’s music. Definitely one of Margaret’s favorite places to visit since she was a teenager, the Meher Center is also the home to the annual Youth Sahavas (weeklong retreat for teenagers), which Margaret founded in 1991. To learn more, please go to

Samuel P. Taylor State Park, Lagunitas, California

Located in West Marin County, California, approximately one hour north of San Francisco, Samuel P. Taylor Park contains trails of rolling hills and redwood forests. It is open to the public for day use and for camping. Group and equestrian camping is also available. For information, call the ranger station at 415-488-9897 or see:

Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve, Rensselaerville, NY

Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve, Rensselaerville, New York. Located in the Helderberg Mountains in upstate New York, this special preserve includes a lake, a pond, and a waterfall as well as miles of wooded trails. Although there are no camping accommodations available, there is a bed and breakfast and excellent restaurant in town. For more, call 797-3440 or visit








Kaaterskill Falls

Located in the scenic Catskill mountains, Kaaterskill   falls, the highest two-tiered falls in New York State, has been the inspiration for many musicians and artists. These beautiful falls were the inspiration behind Margaret’s song “Reciprocity”, the music video of which was filmed at the falls. In addition, walks to Kaaterskill Falls inspired one of the songs (“Waterfall”) on Margaret’s soon to be recorded album of original songs, “Rainwater Runs Deep”. For further information about the falls, please visit












Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore located in the most western part of Marin County, California, which is a source of Inspiration for several of Margaret’s compositions found on “On the Threshold of Change” CD. The park, which contains many beaches, three visitor centers in addition to miles of trails, also features a light house on the point, which is a perfect spot for whale watching in the spring. Some of Margaret’s favorite spots include Kehoe Beach, which was the location of the photograph featuring Margaret and her son Julian as a baby found on the back of the “Threshold” album, as well as the Bear Valley trail. This trail, which is excellent for mountain biking, horse back riding and hiking, leads through wooded trails to a cliff overlooking an exquisite ocean view. If you are hungry while exploring the seashore, you can stop in the café at Drakes’ Beach. The nearby towns of Point Reyes Station and Inverness also offer a variety of cuisine including fine dining choices. Margaret’s favorite place to eat in the area is the Café Reyes, which features home style Cuban American food.


Furred Friends:


Oliver Rufus Doggie Dog

Little Bit



Bob The Rooster

Best known for his stellar appearance in “Cinderella Falling”, Robert E. Rooster (AKA “Bob the Rooster”) was born and raised in rural Greene County, New York until he was adapted by singer-songwriter Margaret Bernstein. After his many adventures escaping from his rival, Smokey, Margaret brought him into her home and nursed him back to health. It was then that Margaret discovered Bob’s musical talents and decided to cast him as her dancing partner in her sophomore music video. Much of his success on the shoot is attributed to his regular practice sessions with Margaret as well as his natural talent. Bob is definitely a rooster who knew how to tweak on the beat! His other pastimes included indulging in Ocean Spray Cranberries, listening to classical music on the radio, and chilling out with his girlfriend, Sophia.

To see Bob the Rooster in the Cinderella Falling music video, please click here


Romeo (AKA Romeo Herbie James Doggie-Dog)

Romeo was born on March 29, 1992. He was given to Kersten Dryden as a present for her sixteenth birthday on June 18th, 1992, from her boyfriend at the time, Mike Rome (hence the name Romeo). Romeo grew up on the Dryden Farm in Feura Bush, NY, and lived there most of his life. Carol and Richard Mannis lovingly took care of Romeo for several years, until their move West. Although Margaret first became friends with Romeo in June of 1984, it was in March of 2002 that Romeo officially became a member of Margaret and Julian’s household where he resided until his passing.

Romeo was a very social and dynamic being. He became friends with all the dogs and cats and people on the farm, and in his younger days enjoyed running behind with the “big dogs” during hikes and trial rides. He made his presence known at virtually every social gathering and was well liked and known by many. He was a very musical dog possessing much charisma and stage presence. He loved to sing while Margaret played the flute, often hitting the correct pitches, and would jump on stage to accompany her during performances at large gatherings. In fact, his picture appeared in the “White Horse Journal” after one such performance in the mid 1990s.

Although Romeo suffered a couple of accidents, which left him partly paralyzed, he never lost his spirit or his zest for life.


Jessie (pictured with Romeo)

A boy cat named after a favorite female student in Arizona, Jessie was rescued and adapted by Margaret in San Francisco, California a week after the big Earth Quake in 1989. Jessie lived with Margaret and family until his passing in November 2002.



“Rosita”, a beautiful Arabian mare, came into Margaret’s life in the summer of 1993 when she was living on a horse ranch in California. Rosie followed Margaret out to the farm in Feura Bush, New York where they enjoyed many long trail rides together before she passed on October 8th, 1995. “Awakening Hearts and Souls Dance” is dedicated to Rosie’s canter off to join the Beloved One.

Timba (AKA Sara Timbalena Jeana Doggie Dog)

Timba hails from Northern California. Although we do not know her exact origin or date of birth, we do know that she was rescued from the Marin County Animal Shelter pregnant with six babies. We first met Timba with her four surviving puppies short after she had given birth in the backyard of the neighbor who had rescued her. Timba took motherhood seriously and when she was sent to us before she was ready to leaver her children, she visited them daily by swimming in our backyard creek through the tunnel that ran under the road. Her mothering instincts carried on years later in the way that she nurtured and protected her dear friend Romeo and also the kittens who came to live with us one Spring. I admired her perseverance and patience as she let them “nurse.”

Timba was a very loving, sweet and gentle dog who loved to dig, enjoyed long walks, and especially loved music. A very talented musician, she could beat in time with her tail and always sang along with Margaret’s flute playing. We still love and miss her very much.


Tabitha & Pumpkin

Pumpkin, this fluffy orange cat showed up in Margaret’s life just before Halloween in 1987 while she was living in Arizona and became a dedicated favorite until and beyond his passing on the farm in Feura Bush, New York on August 9th, 1995 (the same day that Jerry Garcia passed away). His memory was the inspiration for “Surrender to a Safe Place” found on the “Threshold” album.

Tabitha, Pumpkin’s sister, is the longest living of any of Margaret’s furred friends. Born in Arizona, she has also lived in Northern California and in upstate New York. A very friendly and social cat, Tabitha’s claim to fame is her solo invitations to brunches and Salmon Dinners! She is currently enjoying her retirement in the old farmhouse in upstate, New York.


Thomas and Muriella

Born on March 9th in California, 1999, these two beautiful bunnies were favorites in Margaret’s household until their passing. Muriella, the daring female, disappeared in October 2002. Thomas, the very social bunny that was as soft as velvet and as big as a dog (really!) and even thought himself as a dog, passed away suddenly on July 4th, 2003. Like all of our animal friends who have since departed, we miss them terribly.



Sheba came into Margaret’s life when she moved back to the farm in Feura Bush, New York in the fall of 1994. This Lab – Shepherd was a barn dog until she officially Adopted Margaret a year later. As with most of Margaret’s furred fans, Sheba made the transatlantic trip to California and back to upstate New York where she passed away at the veritable age of fifteen in November 2002