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22nd Annual Stars for the Arts Goes Bold

On Sunday, September 8th, the Los Angeles Music and Art School hosted its 22nd annual Stars for the Arts Benefit Dinner and Concert at the Hotel Indigo in Downtown Los Angeles. The lively evening was hosted

by actor and comedian Danny Jolles, and featured a riveting medley of tunes from Stephen Sondheim performed by students of the LAMusArt Tuition-Free Music Ensembles. Presented by the Jo Mitchell Foundation, the event began with a VIP Cocktail reception where luxury items and experiences were up for bid through a silent auction. Popular items like LA Dodgers Opening Day seats, tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood, and lavish perfumes were auctioned in support of LAMusArt’s arts programming and student scholarships throughout the year.

Following the reception, emcee Danny Jolles welcomed guests to the Orpheum Ballroom and introduced LAMusArt’s Executive Director, Manuel Prieto. Prieto addressed the room with remarks about the arts’ impact on our lives, borrowing words from Stephen Sondheim.

“In an interview, American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim once said, ‘Teaching to me is a sacred profession, and I think art is a form of teaching… My life was changed and saved by teachers.’ At LAMusArt, we see the benefits of arts engagement and understanding firsthand. Since Pearle Irene Odell opened our doors in 1945, we have shared this view with Mr. Sondheim – that art teaches us, saves us, changes us, and perhaps most importantly, allows us to be heard,” said Prieto.

Led by conductor Austin Chanu, students of the Choir, and Youth Orchestra (some as young as eleven years old) along with LAMusArt Teaching Artists performed favorites which included solo pieces such as “On the Steps of the Palace” and ensemble numbers like “Children Will Listen.” The ensemble received a standing ovation.

LAMusArt’s outgoing Music Directo

r Austin Chanu was then presented a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the Los Angeles Music and Art School and the office of Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo for his outstanding leadership throughout his almost five years with the organization. Mr. Chanu will relocate to New York to pursue his Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from the Eastman School of Music this fall.

Following the award presentation, Lori Pasqualino and her band took the stage to entertain guests as they dined. Pasqualino, who will be taking over as the Choir Instructor upon Mr. Chanu’s departure, was accompanied by fellow LAMusArt instructor and new Jazz Ensembles teaching artist, Isaac Lopez. Together they put on a vibrant jazz set with a special cameo by student Cadiz Salazar. Pasqualino sang classics like “It Had To Be You” and “Summertime” with Ms. Salazar.

The celebratory evening closed with a word from LAMusArt’s Board President, Cynthia Pearson. Pearson recognized her fellow board members and members of the Young Professionals Advisory Board, spoke of the importance of arts education in East Los Angeles, and remarked upon the Los Angeles Music and Art School’s 75th anniversary approaching in 2020.

“It is my firm belief that the most effective response to the needs of our community is making a genuine connection with children that spares no quality, eliminates barriers and paves a pathway to success…In 2020, we will celebrate our diamond anniversary commemorating 75 years as the cornerstone of arts education in East Los Angeles. The organization continues to reinvent itself to meet the needs of the community and this year is no different,” Pearson stated.

The evening was full of bold performances, appreciation of the arts, and lots of laughs, thanks to Jolles. Over 200 guests came together for a night of virtuosity, philanthropy, and celebration.

Stars for the Arts is sponsored in part by the Jo Mitchell Foundation, Jane and Lou Castruccio, Arclight-Pacific Theaters, Union Bank, and William and Helen Close. All event proceeds go directly towards tuition-free and tuition-subsidized arts education in East Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Music and Art School would like to thank all sponsors and everyone in attendance for your support of our mission.

For photos of Stars for the Arts 2019, click here Step and Repeat | VIP Cocktail Reception | Dinner Program To donate to LAMusArt, click here. Event Photos by CBGRPHY | Step and Repeat Photos by Tiffanie Chow


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