On Saturday, December 8, 2018, the Los Angeles Music and Art School (LAMusArt) and the Young Professionals Advisory Board (YPAB) presented the 4th annual Winter Benefit Dinner at Tamayo Restaurant and Art Gallery in East Los Angeles.
The annual event, which has become an LAMusArt staple and holiday celebration, raises financial support for LAMusArt students and programs by bringing together many of the organization’s constituencies comprised of parents, donors, board members, YPAB members, staff, friends and family for a festive sit-down dinner and concert.
This year, the Winter Benefit celebrated the legacies of Pearle Irene Odell, LAMusArt founder, and that of the YPAB, which has significantly changed the nature of LAMusArt programming only four years into its founding.
Pooja Nair, current Chair of the YPAB, welcomed guests and thanked the many donors and sponsors for their contributions to sustain creative arts programs in the community of East Los Angeles. Sponsors included TroyGould, the Casey Foundation, DunniWeddings, Sankore Investments, El Pescador Bar & Grill of Montebello, and Crepes and Grapes Café.
Following her address, YPAB members Jumi Aluko and Valeria Martinez hosted a round of the Mexican game ¡Loteria!, a matching game in the style of Bingo that uses images intrinsic to the Mexican culture instead of numbers.
The LAMusArt Choir, conducted by their Teaching Artist Austin Chanu and accompanied on keyboard by Teaching Artist Brendan White, performed next. Their set included “In the Bleak Midwinter,” the Spanish songs “Ay! Mi Palomita” and “Niño Preciosa,” and the Hamilton favorite, “Dear Theodosia.” The performance was also a preview of the Choir’s set list that will be performed in full at the Winter Concert on Sunday, December 16.
Dinner followed the Choir’s performance, featuring a selection of Mexican foods such as enchiladas, rice, beans and chicken fajitas.
Manuel Prieto, Executive Director of LAMusArt, addressed guests post dinner, speaking of the importance of arts education and the benefits they impart on students and the community-at-large. He also recognized members of the Odell Family present for the event, remarking that it was “because of Pearle Irene Odell and her efforts that LAMusArt exists.” Odell founded LAMusArt in 1945 and the continued involvement of her family members and presence at the Winter Benefit was a remarkable testament to the schools almost 74-year legacy.
Also in attendance was Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, representative of Los Angeles County’s 51st District, which includes East Los Angeles. Carrillo, who concurred with Prieto on the importance of the arts in young students’ development, also spoke of her own experience with the arts as a violin student and of the impact that training has had on her life.
Assemblymember Carillo also helped recognized three departing members of the YPAB who were part of its inaugural cohort. Alisa De Los Santos, Christine Marie Mantilla, and Maya Kalinowski each received certificates of recognition signed by the Assemblymember for their service to LAMusArt.
Prieto then introduced the Choir for their second performance of the evening, although this time featuring the debut performance of the Advanced Choir section. Teaching Artist and Choir Conductor, Austin Chanu, mentioned that the Advanced Choir was the idea of several members of the inaugural choir, who wanted the opportunity to tackle more complex choral arrangements.
Among the Advanced Choir’s performance repertoire was the Russian song “Nochka” by Sergei Rachmaninoff and the “Hallelujah Chorus” by George Frideric Handel.
To close out the evening, coffee and an array of delectable Mexican desserts provided by Crepes and Grapes Café were served. While guests enjoyed dessert, new member of the YPAB, Candi Gomez, and LAMusArt staff member, Armando Torres Pina, remarked briefly on the importance of LAMusArt’s donors and their impact on the organization’s remarkable legacy. Gomez herself attended LAMusArt in her youth and as a staff member, Torres Pina facilitates access for local students to partake in LAMusArt’s creative programs. Both now have siblings who currently attend LAMusArt, an example of the organization’s longstanding impact on generations of families.
LAMusArt would like to thank everyone in attendance at the 2018 Winter Benefit and everyone who contributed to its success. For more information on LAMusArt programs or to make a donation, please click here.
For tickets to the upcoming 2018 Winter Concert on Sunday, December 16, please click here.
Visit our Facebook at @LAMusArt for more photos of the event:
Photography by CBGRPHY