Pennington resident performs with Natalie Cole

One of Pennington’s very own self-driven teenagers, Bailey Outerbridge, made a huge move in her musical career at the Dana’s Angels Research Trust (DART) Gala Benefit and Concert held in Stamford, Conn., on May 5.

Outerbridge, an 18 year-old Bermudian singer and songwriter, got the chance to perform a couple of her own songs and open up for nine-time Grammy award-winning artist Natalie Cole in front of about 1,500 people.

“The audience was very receptive,” she said. “There was a lot of cheering. I’ve done a lot of smaller things, but that was the biggest crowd that I’ve ever performed for.”

DART is a non-profit charity organization that was started in 2009 by Greenwich residents Andrea and Phil Marella whose 18-year-old daughter, Dana, has Niemann-Pick Type C – a fatal, cholesterol storage disease that affects children. The Marellas started DART to help fund medical research, medical education and medical care for the disease, and have raised more than $2 million for the cause since DART’s existence.

Three years ago, one of the Marellas other three children, Andrew, was also diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Type C, but has been able to keep his mobility thus far because of the money raised through DART, unlike Dana, who is completely immobile.

“They’ve been able to get better medications for Andrew so you would never know he has it,” Outerbridge said. “He’s healthy.”

The DART benefit included the live concert featuring Cole and Outerbridge and a silent auction, both of which were held to fund research for Dana and Andrew’s rare degenerative disease.

Fellow Greenwich residents Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford hosted the event, and other recognizable faces including U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia also spoke on behalf of DART and the Marellas. These attendees, along with more than 1,000 other attendees, also participated in the silent auction, which included items such as a guitar signed by Sting, Yankees tickets, a trip to Turks and Caicos, various gift baskets, paintings, and many other things.

Outerbridge became involved with DART through her manager, Janice Roeg. Initially, she was looking for a charity to donate to for her high school project, which is when Roeg led her to DART.

Outerbridge organized a concert at her high school, The Taft School in Watertown, Conn., for her independent studies project during her senior year and performed five songs, all of which she wrote specifically for the event.

“I decided that I would hold a concert at my school, have a suggested donation, and donate all of the proceeds to DART,” Outerbridge said.

After her successful concert at The Taft School, Outerbridge was the only other singer invited to perform at the DART benefit other than Cole, where she finally met Andrea and Phil Marella. When she met the Marellas, they expressed how grateful they were for her efforts with her concert at The Taft School.

At the DART benefit, she sang, “Smile,” which was written specially for Dana, and was one of the songs that she performed at her high school concert.

Outerbridge has been intrigued by music her entire life and has been playing the piano to accompany her tranquil, Adele-like voice for the last seven years. Over her career, she’s written between 30 and 40 songs, all of which have an indie-pop feel. Although she’s taken classical lessons, she’s veered more toward the realm of pop and contemporary music.

“I write all of my own music,” she said. “I mostly write about my own experiences, focusing on love-type songs.”

Outerbridge is an aspiring singer and mostly performs in small venues like coffee shops, but also does a lot of musical things in Bermuda, since her father is a Bermuda native.

She recently graduated The Taft School and is set to attend Gettysburg College in the fall.

“I’m hoping to minor in music, continue to do what I do on the side, and have time to go perform,” she said. “And I’d love to be involved with DART in the future.”