Over eighty-five young emerging artists showcased their talents at the Los Angeles Music & Art School’s (LAMusArt) 16th annual Stars for the Arts this past Saturday September 7, 2013. The benefit concert took place at the prestigious Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The program featured an exciting lineup of performances by the LAPCA Youth Orchestra, the LAMusArt Choral Ensemble, the KIPP LA Raices Academy-Music Outreach Partnership Program, Azucena Ortega, and starred baritone Marcelo Guzzo accompanied by pianist Jeremy Frank, and bandoneonista Mariano Dugatkin performing a program of opera arias, art songs, and Argentinean repertoire.
Emmy award-winning CBS2/KCAL9 co-anchors Sharon Tay and Rick Garcia emceed the evening’s event. Both co-anchors share a deep interest in the artistic development of youth in the Los Angeles area. Sharon was born in Singapore and her charm, wit, humor and personal style have helped her become one of the mostloved news personalities among Angelenos. Rick is a much-loved Los Angeles native, and an on-air veteran involved in children’s charitable causes and other community organizations.
The evening of performances opened with a great set from the LAMusArt Choral Ensemble, directed by Marisa Bradfield. The Ensemble sang beautiful 4 part choral arrangements of popular tunes including John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s Eleanor Rigby accompanied by the LAMusArt student string ensemble, directed by instructor Timothy Maloof, and Stevie Wonder’s Ribbon in the Sky accompanied by pianist John Rogers, bassist Ahmet Turkmenoglu and percussionist Mason Kopeikin. Eight year old Azucena Ortega followed with a delicate and sweet interpretation of Castle on a Cloud from the Oscar and Tony winning musical Les Miserables. The LAPCA Youth Orchestra directed by Dr. Gideon Rubin, masterfully performed works by Jared Spears and Klaus Badelt. The orchestra also showcased its newly expanded membership and repertoire with their Percussion Ensemble who performed Allegro Fantastica coached by Haig Shirinian. Baritone Marcello Guzzo began his set with Lu Trademiento by Gaetano Donizetti with piano accompaniment and was later joined by the bandoneón–the soulful South American accordion for pieces like La Rosa y El Sauce by Carlos Gustavino. Guzzo’s passionate interpretation of these Argentinean classics was the perfect way to end the evening of music on a high note.
LAMusArt Executive Director Isela Sotelo welcomed the audience and shared the successes of LAMusArt alumni. “Arts education can be fun,” Sotelo mentioned, but “the skills learned at LAMusArt provide a foundation that prepare youngsters for success in college, careers, and jobs in the 21st Century workforce by developing creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills.” Sotelo noted that each of the distinguished alumni started classes at LAMusArt at around the age of eight and continued studying with LAMusArt for an average of ten years.
Co-chairs for the evening Dr. Frank Sanchez together with Jane and Lou Castruccio presented the Creative Paths in Education Award to George A. Ramirez, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Executive of Union Bank. Mr. Ramirez’s commitment and contributions to community leadership have paved the way for a legacy of positive developments in the Los Angeles area and its surroundings.
Mr. Ramirez has served on numerous boards of directors for civic and charitable organizations, including The Pat Brown Public Policy Institute and the UC San Diego Student-Run Free Clinic Project. He was chairman of the Southern California Junior Achievement Latino Initiative and was an executive board member for the Tomás Rivera Public Policy Institute.
“I am humbled by this recognition from LAMusArt and it’s my honor to continue to support an organization that provides a nurturing environment for children and teens to expand their wings in the arts,” said Ramirez. “Our community is also fortunate to have Isela Sotelo and the entire Los Angeles Music & Art School staff dedicating their lives to our children’s enrichment in the arts.”
The Los Angeles Music and Art School has become a cornerstone of the East Los Angeles Community and has flourished throughout the decades. All of the much-needed event proceeds go towards the LAMusArt Scholarship Fund for low-income students and arts programs. On behalf of all the students and teachers at LAMusArt, we would like to thank all the generous sponsors that made Stars for the Arts possible, and invite your continued support as LAMusArt continues to be a safe haven of arts education for the East Los Angeles community.