Oakland EastSide All-Star Ensemble was amazing at Yoshi’s on March 17th!They had a SOLD OUT show and had people dancing on the floor! With special guests and standard and new arrangements, this youth band gave a stupendous performance. They also bade a sad farewell to their teacher/director Ms. Helena Moss-Jack with a lovely tribute of speeches and anecdotes.
DATELINE: Saturday February 8th, Oakland, CA –
The inaugural Elevate Oakland Benefit Concert was a huge success, raising over $110,000 – the proceeds will go directly to keeping Art & Music alive in Oakland Public Schools. The Concert, presented by Oakland native and Elevate Hope Co-Founder Sheila E., took place at the historic Fox Theatre before a packed house. Funds raised as a result of this event will go toward supporting Art and Music education in Oakland public schools where few or no such programs are being offered, as well as continuing to support current programs in need at schools like Castlemont High School. In a joint-statement issued by Elevate Oakland co-founders Sheila E., Jason Hofmann, Lynn Mabry and Yoshi Akiba, the principals expressed their gratitude, as well as the excitement they share at the prospects moving forward: “We are truly grateful for the success of Elevate Oakland’s first benefit concert. The generosity of the artists who donated their performances and time is absolutely amazing. The support of the community, the teachers, all of our sponsors and the dedication of all our volunteers is what made this event such a success. We definitely plan to make this an annual event and are already planning the next one.” The once-in-a-lifetime show featured inspired live performances by an All-Star lineup of talented and diverse Artists – many of whom share a Bay Area or Oakland connection, including: soul warrior and activist Michael Franti and members of Spearhead, Oakland’s stunning soulstress Goapele, ’20-Feet From Stardom’ & ‘The Voice’ breakout star Judith Hill, rock guitar prodigy Orianthi, and Latin funk-rockers Ozomatli.
Also making periodic visits to the stage to join the various headliners was none other than the Queen of percussion herself, Ms. Sheila E! The Elevate Oakland co-founder and Benefit Concert producer further rocked the packed Fox Theater with a high-energy set of her own jams, that included crowd-pleasers ‘Love Bizarre’ and ‘Glamourous Life.’
Also performing and appearing on stage: Elevate Oakland Artist-in-Residence Kev Choice with Martian Luther and the Oakland Future Quartet (formerly the Oakland Future Trio), Golden State Warriors DJ D-Sharp, as well surprise appearances by comedian Mark Curry and singer El Debarge. Even Elevate Oakland Co-Founder Lynn Mabry got into the act – sharing the stage and her famous voice in an impromptu duet with Michael Franti!
KBLX Radio personality Sterling James handled MC duties, while musical director Peter Michael Escovedo lead Sheila E’s band and kept everyone in sync throughout the evening, along with fellow percussionist, brother Juan Escovedo backing on percussion.
But despite the high-watt star power of the pros, the night definitely belonged to the youth. The show was repeatedly stolen by young singers from the Castlemont High School choir – who shined in a performance with Judith Hill and Orianthi. Led onstage by Elevate Oakland Artist-in-Residence Leah Tysse, along with the Center of Hope Choir, they delivered a soulful rendition of Michael Jackson’s ‘Man in the Mirror’. Eleven year-old vocalist Trinity K. Lyric Harper earned a standing ovation with her a capella rendition of Adele’s ‘Don’t You Remember.’ Oakland highschoolers Saxophonist Lorice Dykes, Jr. and trombonist Remy Ashley held their own onstage with Sheila E. horn player Eddie M. throughout the evening, and Castlemont senior Leroy Crosby – AKA Haiku – also delivered a stirring rendition of his spoken word piece ‘More Potential.’ In all, the event raised over $110,000! All proceeds go directly to bringing Art & Music opportunities to students in the Oakland Unified School District !