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Debbie Allen and ABC ‘black-ish’ Star Anthony Anderson Join Special Guests at the Education Through Music-Los Angeles Gala

Contact: Katie Boone
Phone: (818) 433-7600


BEVERLY HILLS, CA – On Sunday, November 10, 2019, Education Through Music-Los Angeles ( hosted its 14th Annual Benefit Gala at the Beverly Wilshire to raise awareness for music in disadvantaged LA County schools. Supporters gathered to celebrate the 2019 Shining Star Honorees: Emmy Award-Winning Music Director & Producer Rickey Minor (Stevie Wonder, American Idol), Music Educator Angela Woo, and Cusumano Real Estate Group.

Emmy-Nominated Actor/Comedian Anthony Anderson (ABC’s black-ish) opened the annual féte followed by a captivating performance from 49 ETM-LA alumni and students from Hooper Ave. and Providencia Elementary Schools. With the Rickey Minor Band, Grammy-Nominated Vocalist Ledisi gave a spellbinding, soulful tribute to Aretha Franklin while Grammy-Nominated Saxophonist Dave Koz charmed the audience. As Emmy-Winning Director and Choreographer Debbie Allen (Grey’s Anatomy) presented Minor his award, he broke into dance on his way to the stage. Veteran Music Educator Michael Stone and former Mayor of Burbank Michael Hastings were also among the evening’s award presenters.

Ledisi poignantly shared that she herself was a beneficiary of in-school music education: “I would not be who I am if it weren’t for organizations like ETM-LA.” Minor, whom Ledisi thanked for his long-time mentorship, shared, “Music has changed not only my life, but it changes the vibration of this planet. Through music, we can make this world a better place.”

A music educator for over 25 years, Ms. Woo remarked, “I love what I do… I look forward every day to being inspired by my students.” One parent of a student shared, “music is the best thing that could ever happen to a child.” Michael Cusumano of the Cusumano Real Estate Group stated, “Education is really important in order for people to have full and successful lives. Music is an integral part of the education that our children should receive.”

Lola Debney and Alecia Spendlove served as Gala Co-Chairs; Honorary Hosts included Christophe Beck, Andra Day, John Debney, Michael Giacchino, Jennifer Hudson, Quincy Jones, John Legend, Diana Ross, Randy Spendlove, and Diane Warren. Other notables on hand included Ernie Fields, Jr., Julianne Jordan, Christopher Lennertz, Manny & Terri Marroquin, Carin & Mark McGrath, Blake Neely, Rudy Sarzo, Rob Simonsen, and Joseph Trapanese.

ETM-LA currently serves approximately 17,500 schoolchildren with weekly music as part of the core curriculum in such diverse communities as Bellflower, Boyle Heights, Burbank, Compton, Chinatown, ​Downtown LA, ​East LA, Inglewood, ​Pasadena, San Fernando Valley,​ and South Central LA.

Major corporate sponsors included BTW Productions, Cusumano Family Foundation, Cusumano Real Estate Group, Cow On the Wall Studio, Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency, Inc., Sonic Fuel Studios, Angels Incognito, Inc., ASCAP, BMI, Clive Davis Foundation, Flowers in Beverly Hills, Format Entertainment, Greenberg Traurig, Kraft-Engel Management, Paramount Pictures, and Romeo Power.


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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, creativity, and overall development.

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