FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LOS ANGELES, CA – On May 13, 2022, Education Through Music-Los Angeles premiered its 12th Annual Music Unites the World Festival live on Facebook and YouTube, with an encore showing on May 14. This family-friendly virtual event united communities from across Los Angeles and beyond through music and the exploration of diverse artists and cultures.
Event highlights included interactive music activities, such as a class led by Percussionist Arthur Thompson (Dave Koz) and a dynamic Japanese taiko drumming performance and lesson by TAIKOPROJECT (The Music Center). Students read heartfelt excerpts of their award-winning essays, and ETM-LA’s ensembles – choirs, strings groups, and bands – gave joyful performances of songs from Brazil, Panama, South Africa, France, the U.S., and more.
Winner of the Young Writer Award, ETM-LA Partner School Student Joshua (Grade 6) stated, “People may feel uneasy or stressed out at times and studies have shown that music can severely reduce stress in the body.” Student Eloise (Grade 8), Winner of the Most Original Award, shared: “It’s amazing how music can create scenes and start movements; how it can bring people together and empower them.”
The students received congratulatory shout-outs from celebrity guests: Actress Colleen O’Shaughnessey (Voice of “Tails” from Sonic the Hedgehog, Digimon), Emmy-Winning Music Director Rickey Minor (American Idol, Stevie Wonder), Composer Pinar Toprak (Captain Marvel, Fortnite), ETM-LA Board Chair Booker White (Supervisor of Music Preparation, Head of Music Library – Disney), and Emmy, Tony, & Grammy Award-Winning Actress/Singer/Songwriter Cynthia Erivo (Harriet, The Color Purple).
Congratulations to all who were involved, including our Songwriting Contest Winners, Composer Chris Artley & Lyricist Michelanne Forster. When asked what students should focus on when learning a song, Artley shared: “Words are what really get me inspired… to me, the words are of supreme importance when you’re singing a song. Think of the emphasis, the key words… We want everyone to ideally have the same pronunciation, same vowel [shapes].” He added, “Music is a really great skill to have. I strongly encourage you to keep the singing going.” Students from across LA County then joined together to sing the winning piece “It Starts With You”, creating a powerful experience of connection through music.
Thank you to our festival sponsors: Booker & Sarita White, BTW Productions, Cassell’s Music, The Carl & Roberta Deutsch Foundation, Heads Up Youth Foundation, Preston B. and Maurine M. Hotchkis Family Foundation, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, and the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.
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Education Through Music-Los Angeles is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide and promote music in under-resourced schools as part of the core curriculum for every child in order to enhance students’ academic achievement, creativity, and overall development.
For more information: www.etmla.org