The Los Angeles Music and Art School celebrated its 21st annual Stars for the Arts Benefit Dinner and Concert at The York Manor in Highland Park this past Sunday, September 9. The philanthropic event, presented by the LAMusArt Board of Directors and Co-Chaired by Dr. Efrain Fuentes and his wife, Bertha Aguirre, welcomed LAMusArt donors, families and esteemed guests to raise funding to support arts learning for Eastside students.
Guests in attendance enjoyed a pre-event cocktail reception and silent auction followed by a dinner and concert. Major sponsors for the event included the Jo Mitchell Foundation, Jane and Lou Castruccio, Pacific Theatres and Arclight Cinemas, and Union Bank. Media coverage and emcee, general assignment reporter Sid Garcia, was graciously provided by ABC7.
Student performances included LAMusArt’s tuition-free Jazz Ensemble, which performed at the pre-concert reception, and the Choir, conducted by Austin Chanu and accompanied by Brandon white, which opened the dinner program with Stephen Sondheim’s “Sunday.” The Choir also performed songs from LAMusArt’s previous year’s programming, which included numbers from Playmaking’s First Class: The Inaugural Plays, the Hollywood Spring Concert and Camp MusArt’s Once on this Island Jr.
Following student performances, event Co-Chairs, Dr. Fuentes and his wife, Bertha, spoke to guests about the importance of funding for arts programs and how their own children’s experience in the arts inspired their support of LAMusArt. Dr. Fuentes, longstanding President of the LAMusArt Board of Directors, also took the opportunity to announce his departure from the board after multiple years of service and introduced Cynthia Pearson as his successor.
Dr. Fuentes and his wife, Bertha, then presented the Creative Paths in Leadership Award to evening honoree, ABC7 Vice President of Diversity and Community Relations, Teresa Samaniego, for her philanthropic work with many nonprofit and community causes.
During dinner service, Soprano Esther Rayo’s melodious voice filled the main hall with renditions of classical songs from Leonard Berstein, Giacomo Puccini, George Gershwin, and Fernando Obradors, among others.
Rayo, a Southern California native herself who now calls Chicago home, remarked of how meaningful her participation with LAMusArt had been. Just one day prior, Rayo attended a rehearsal with the LAMusArt Choir where she hosted a special masterclass for students.
LAMusArt thanks all in attendance for their support of Stars for the Arts. The creative youth of East Los Angeles will continue to engage in high quality arts education due to their generosity and the success of this event.