Schools That Can, a national nonprofit focused on improving urban education, is presenting a benefit concert to honor the life and legacy of jazz singer and civil-rights activist Lena Horne on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. at New York City’s Symphony Space. Click here to learn more about the benefit concert and here to purchase tickets.
The concert will feature performances from Kennedy Center Honoree and Tony Award-winning actress Barbara Cook, Tony Award winner Billy Porter (Shuffle Along, Kinky Boots), Tony Award winner Lea Salonga (Allegiance, Miss Saigon), Tony Award nominee De’Adre Aziza (Passing Strange), and Tony Award-nominated lyricist Amanda Green.
Also taking the stage are rising Broadway stars Emmy Raver-Lampman (Hamilton), Lindsay Mendez (Wicked), Rebecca Naomi Jones (American Idiot, Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Telly Leung (Allegiance, Glee), and Rick Lyon (Avenue Q), as well as singer and host Justin Guarini (American Idol) and jazz singer Marti Stevens. WBGO’s Gary Walker will emcee the event. Daniel Goldstein will direct the show, with musical direction and arrangements by Marco Paguia.
Student choirs from the Newark Boys Chorus School and VOICE Charter School will also perform. VOICE, a public K-8 charter school in Long Island City that dedicates two hours each day to singing, will recognize the naming of its upper school as the Lena Horne Campus during the event.
“Kids today need positive role models,” says Michael Druckman, founder and executive chair of Schools That Can. “This tribute to Lena Horne reminds us all how the life of this legendary woman resonates for young people working to overcome today’s opportunity gap.”
Born in Brooklyn, Horne had a powerful voice, was a charismatic performer, and left an inspirational legacy. She broke the color barrier in Hollywood and was the first African-American elected to the board of the Screen Actors Guild. She marched on Washington with Martin Luther King Jr. and took a stand for civil rights.
In 1987, she earned the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ Pied Piper Award, which honors entertainers who have made significant contributions to words and music.
“When she accepted, she said, ‘These are issues I care about passionately: civil rights and equal opportunities for disadvantaged children,'” recalls Gail Buckley, Horne’s daughter and a collaborator on the concert. “Those issues are more urgent today than ever. I am thrilled about this tribute to benefit Schools That Can, and to celebrate the naming of the Lena Horne Campus of the VOICE Charter School.”
Schools That Can (STC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that connects teachers, principals, advocates, experts and other leaders to share innovative and effective practices and advance quality in urban schools.
It is the largest cross-sector network of urban schools in the country, working with 149 charter, district, independent and faith-based schools in 15 cities – all of which serve predominantly low-income students and students of color. Despite their differences, STC schools are committed to working together to close the opportunity and skills gap afflicting our students, schools and society.
Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.com, Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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