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Performances honor Ellie Goldenberg’s life in song

Performers gathered at The Englewood in Hershey on April 15 to give soaring renditions of favorites like “When You Believe” and “The Impossible Dream.”

But no singer could give the program more meaning than the one who wasn’t there. Ellie Goldenberg, the friend they lost on May 13, 2017.

The second annual Ellie Goldenberg Memorial event paid tribute to the voice she shared with everyone ― whether it was around the house or on stage as the accomplished performer she became. The day before she died in an airboat accident, Ellie graduated magna cum laude from the University of Miami’s prestigious bachelor of fine arts program.

Dr. David Goldenberg, professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology ─ Head and Neck Surgery at Penn State College of Medicine and vice president of otolaryngology ─ head and neck surgery services for Penn State Health Medical Group, and his wife and former College of Medicine faculty member, Dr. Renee Flax-Goldenberg, created the endowed event to honor Ellie’s memory. The endowment supports events that recognize and highlight the intersection of medicine and the fine arts.

A group of young adults stand on a stage, looking behind them at a video on a large screen of a young lady singing into a microphone with others standing behind her.

Ellie’s classmates sang “Tiger” with a video of her singing the song.

“Whenever Ellie sang, we were captivated, pausing whatever we were doing to listen,” the Goldenbergs wrote about her in the program. “Her voice had the power to touch our souls, lingering in our dreams long after.”

Ellie’s classmates, teachers and friends curated and directed the cabaret performances. For the final number, they picked, “Tiger,” a piece the cast sang with a recording of Ellie.

“Whenever you leave, all the colors fade,” the lyrics go. “So I’m here holding on, cause I’m tired of gray. Are you sticking around?”

Gifts like the Goldenbergs’ power the interrelated educational, research and care missions of the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and are vital to its continued success. To learn more about how gifts make a difference or to get involved, visit


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