On Saturday, September 23rd, the Los Angeles Music and Art School hosted its 20th annual Stars for the Arts Benefit Concert and Dinner at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. With over 200 guests in attendance, the evening was a successful showcase of artistry and philanthropy in support of LAMusArt’s equitable arts education opportunities for East LA youth.
The event sponsored in part by Jane and Lou Castruccio, Union Bank, Pacific Theaters and Arclight Cinema began in the early evening with a cocktail reception in the Biltmore’s glitzy Tiffany Room. During the reception, highly coveted luxury items like Hamilton tickets and Dodgers Opening Day seats were auctioned in support of LAMusArt programs and student scholarships while the LAMusArt Jazz Ensemble entertained attendees with rhythmic tunes.
Singer Carrie St. Louis and LAMusArt Executive Director, Manny Prieto
Following the reception, Executive Director, Manuel Prieto, welcomed guests into the Biltmore’s historic Crystal Ballroom to enjoy dinner service and a concert by LAMusArt students of the tuition-free music ensembles. Prieto used his welcome as a chance to address LAMusArt’s history and how we value access to the arts in today’s social climate.
“Tonight, we pause to examine the effects of the arts in our daily lives and in the lives of the students you will see perform on this stage. We need to change the way we address the value of the arts- not just as a catalyst- but rather as necessary for the holistic development of our future generations,” Prieto posited.
LAMusArt Choir Member Abigail Pasillas
The LAMusArt Choir and Orchestra, directed by Austin Chanu, performed several musical numbers including “Comedy Tonight” from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and “Pure Imagination” from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The evening’s honoree, Imagineer Richard Improta of Disney’s Parades and Spectaculars, was presented the Creative Paths in Leadership Award by his daughter Ariel Improta, a former LAMusArt Teaching Artist and a fervent supporter of the school along with Teaching Artist and LAMusArt alum, Erick Altamirano. Mr. Improta was recognized for his accomplishments in visual art as a Senior Illustrator for Imagineering’s Creative Entertainment, designing parades and spectacles for Disney Parks around the globe. Richard’s endearing acceptance speech echoed the sentiments of Prieto’s call to recognize the arts as an important part of culture and personal development
Broadway singer and actress Carrie St. Louis
After the award presentation, Miss Carrie St. Louis took the stage to perform with a band of LAMusArt Teaching Artists and choir students. St. Louis, of Broadway’s Wicked and Rock of Ages acclaim, took the night’s guests on a journey through her career, from boarding school to Broadway. St. Louis performed classics like “When You Wish Upon A Star,” “Meadowlark,” and dazzling renditions of “For Good” from Stephen Schwartz’ Wicked with choir student Azucena Ortega and “No One is Alone” from Sondheim’s Into the Woods with choir student Laura Flores.
Music Ensembles Director Austin Chanu
“It’s so thrilling to see a professional Broadway artist like Carrie giving back to the children of East Los Angeles by working with them and showing them that the arts can bring you success,” said event coordinator, Armando Torres.
LAMusArt would like to thank 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 your generosity and the success of this event.
To make a donation please click here. To view more photos of the event click on the albums: