For Immediate Release
Contact: Victoria Lanier
Phone: (818) 433-7600
On the same day as the Grammy nominees are announced, Grammy winners Joshua Bell, Chris Botti, Billy Childs and others come together to support music education in Los Angeles provided by Education Through Music-LA
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 was a note-worthy evening as Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETM-LA) hosted its 12th Anniversary Benefit Gala. Supporters from the music, film and education communities gathered to honor Grammy-Winning Violinist Joshua Bell, and Veteran Music Teacher (Foshay Learning Center, Los Angeles Unified School District) Vincent Womack at the Skirball Cultural Center.
The event was hosted by Malcolm McDowell (Mozart in the Jungle), and featured special performances and presentations by Joshua Bell (Grammy winning violinist), Billy Childs (Grammy winning pianist/composer), Judith Hill (The Voice, Prince, Michael Jackson), Joanne Pearce Martin (pianist, Los Angeles Philharmonic,) Dr. Lemmon McMillan, guest Chris Botti (Grammy winning trumpeter), Foshay Learning Center Students and Education Through Music-LA Students. Executive Director of ETM-LA Victoria Lanier welcomed co-chair hosts Lola Debney and Alecia Spendlove. Honorary chairs of the gala include music education champions and celebrities such as Tony Bennett and Susan Benedetto, Jane Lynch, Michael Giacchino, Ed Helms, Randy Spendlove, Bob Saget, John Debney, Malissa Shriver, and Tavis Smiley, along with other community leaders. Education Through Music-Los Angeles’ mission is to promote and support music instruction in disadvantaged schools in order to enhance student’s academic performance and creative and general development.
Celebrity guests included: Amazon Studios’ Mozart in the Jungle cast members Malcolm McDowell, Saffron Burrows, Masi Oka, Will Graham, and executive producer Paul Weitz, Ed Helms (actor The Office), Blake Neely (composer The Flash, Arrow), Randy Spendlove (Paramount Pictures), Vincent Womack, Austin Wintory (composer Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate), Joseph Trapanese (composer Straight Outta Compton), Kathryn Bostic (composer Dear White People), Michael Abels (composer Get Out), Rolfe Kent (composer Downsizing), Justin Hurwitz (Oscar-Winning composer La La Land, Whiplash), Brian Tyler (composer Avengers: Age of Ultron), CeCe Sammy (vocal coach, The Voice UK, American Idol), Atli Örvarsson (composer Law & Order True Crime), Karen David (actor Galavant, Once Upon a Time), Tim Davies (composer Trollhunters), Neal Acree (composer Overwatch), and Melora Hardin (actor The Office).
As a music educator for over 30 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District with nearly 23 years spent at Foshay, Womack continues to mentor over hundreds of students per year. One student who performed, 15 year-old student Lindsay, became inspired to pursue music upon first meeting Womack five years ago. “I met Mr. Womack the first day of 6th grade. I remember walking into the band room and seeing him standing by the whiteboard with a huge, enthusiastic smile on his face,” Lindsay recalls.
Now, in 10th grade, Lindsay recounts how her life “was an actual mess” before joining band. Due to a broken family and a “lack of actual friends, [she was] sent sprawling down a hole of anxiety and depression.” Lindsay says, “I could not function. However, when I picked up a trumpet the first, I fell in love. The music gave me an escape.”
In addition to students from Foshay, ETM-LA students from Castelar, Dorris Place, Normandie, Providencia, and Rio Vista Elementary Schools performed, including a piece featuring Bell as a surprise guest.
“I believe in the power of music to help all children do better in school,” says Bell, ETM-LA Advisory Board Member, “so I get very excited when I hear about a program that involves every student regardless of talent, or prior training, and has music as part of its core curriculum rather than outside it. That’s the way it should be done.”
Womack shares, “My perspective is about using music as a tool to learn and understand success, overcome challenges, uplifting communities, finding joy and maximizing optimism, and bringing people together making our world better.”
Now in in its 12th year, ETM-LA has expanded from 2 schools and 800 children to a planned 30 schools and approximately 15,000 schoolchildren with weekly music as part of the core curriculum in such diverse communities as Burbank, Compton, Chinatown, Downtown LA, East Los Angeles, Pacoima, Pasadena, San Fernando Valley, South Central, and West Los Angeles.
Education Through Music-Los Angeles is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit with the mission to provide music in disadvantaged schools to enhance students’ academic achievement and creative and overall development. ETM-LA partners with inner-city schools to provide yearlong music instruction for every child in the school and is based on the ETM® model (New York, 1991). For more info: www.etmla.org
Contact: Education Through Music-LA firstname.lastname@example.org 818-433-7600