When he led the effort to form Patrons/PARTS (Parents of Theatre Students), the parents group that provides production and activity support to the Performing Arts Company students and the Department of Fine and Performing Arts of Belmont High School, Scharfman – who died a week ago at 55 – was the group's soul.
"He has always been the heart of Patrons and I dare say, he always will be," said Patrons' Karyn Miller-Medzon to the 100 current members, "alumni," and other community supporters who raised close to $6,500 at Patron's annual fundraiser Saturday, Jan. 26 which was a combination silent auction, wine tasting and jazz piano evening.
"[Scharfman] started the group with a handful of people and grew the organization to a healthy quorum. He took it upon himself to turn the organization into a legal not-for-profit so that we could fund-raise more effectively," said Miller-Medzon.
But above all, Scharfman "stood out" in his support of the organization.
"There he was, a lone dad among a sea of theatre moms. He started his meetings on time, he made painful pun after painful pun. He listened to every opinion and welcomed every newcomer. He showed up at every performance – and I mean every performance – in his signature tuxedo, and plastered name tags on us. How would people know, otherwise, that Patrons existed?," remembered Miller-Medzon.
And after his two children graduated from the Belmont High, Scharfman continued to watch the group from the periphery, always available to field a question or provide some sage advice.
It’s for all these reasons, and many more that Patrons – with the blessing of the Scharfman family – announced Saturday it was re-dedicating its annual scholarship in Dan Scharfman’s name.
Patrons will be presenting the “Daniel Scharfman Memorial Scholarship” in June to a graduating senior, who, fittingly, meets the criteria that Dan himself set down:
• the student has participated extensively in theatre productions, in one or more of the three disciplines: tech, stage, and improv
• the student intends to remain actively engaged in theatre after leaving Belmont High School; there need not be an intention to major in theatre or pursue the profession, just to remain actively engaged
• the student has been a good, collaborative citizen in the theatre program and in the Performing Arts Company.
"So when you get your next glass of wine, lift it up, and drink a toast to Dan Scharfman. I know I will, tonight, and every time I watch Belmont kids succeeding on the big stage. Maybe I’ll even wear a tuxedo," said Miller-Medzon.