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Birthday Bash Benefit Concert

On Saturday, September 12th, the Los Angeles Music and Art School streamed the “75th Birthday Bash”, a special evening of artistry and shared sentiments. The virtual concert safely celebrated seventy-five years of LAMusArt’s legacy of service to the East Los Angeles community. Benefit hosts Jumi Aluko, Cynthia Pearson and Manny Prieto ushered in the next 75 years with featured performances by Charlotte Mary Wen (Hamilton, Mamma Mia, Frozen), Morgan Anita Wood and the LAMusArt Choir. This event was made possible by sponsors Jane and Lou Castruccio, Pacific and Arclight Theatres, Union Bank and First Republic Bank.

Jumi Aluko, Chair of the Young Professionals Advisory Board, opened the evening’s performances recognizing that reaching a milestone of 75 years came at an unprecedented time when this past year “brought forth transformative changes to our community’s safety and stability”. She raised awareness that LAMusArt has built its legacy by serving the community “with equity and inclusion as the foundation of our mission.” As Aluko shed light onto the organization’s commitment to an innovative future, she introduced the opening performance of the LAMusArt Advanced Choir performing “Cool Moon” conducted by Austin Chanu.

The “Cool Moon” performance represented the dedication of many of LAMusArt’s young artists who have risen to the challenges of COVID19 and demonstrated their musical prowess, even when learning remotely. Like them, Manny Prieto, Executive Director, did not waver when he followed to share the stories of how the arts are essential to our community. “In times of affliction, it can act as a celebration of culture, a means to develop important life skills and a way to develop empathy to break the barriers of inequity.” Mr. Prieto soon introduced Charlotte Mary Wen who has graced stages - large and small - from the Hollywood Bowl to the Pantages.

Wen’s explosive set began with a most recognizable tune from Anastasia - a fitting title and nod to the organization’s long history. “Journey to the Past”, “That Would be Enough”, “Just Keep Moving the Line” - just three of Wen’s titles brought viewers through her past performances and favorite roles over the years. Each song was packed with heart, radiance and power as she and the band transported the audience and reminded them how it felt to be in the theatre once again. Morgan Anita Wood, who shared the stage with Charlotte for LA’s Hamilton production, joined together with Charlotte to perform an earnest Wicked’s “For Good”.

Prieto shared LAMusArt’s first all-virtual Season and closed the evening with a solemn performance by members of LAMusArt’s choir, honoring the organization’s founders. LAMusArt’s 75th Birthday Bash’s Benefit is available to view on the @LAMusArt YouTube channel. All proceeds from the event support and maintain access to high quality arts education programs for the community of East Los Angeles.


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