Little Kids Rock, the national nonprofit dedicated to transforming lives by restoring, expanding, and innovating music education in public schools, has announced more stars will be among the special guests who will take the stage at their annual benefit.
The organization has announced actor and comedian Mike Myers; award winner Darlene Love; Grammy nominated soul singer Bettye LaVette; Grammy winning blues musician Keb’ Mo’; Musical Director Will Lee; and past honorees Paul Shaffer, band leader and musical director for the Late Show with David Letterman; and famed Yankee and Latin Grammy nominee Bernie Williams will take part in the event.
The Little Kids Rock Benefit brings together artists and individuals who are passionate about giving the transformational gift of music to children in public schools across the US. Prior years’ honorees include Smokey Robinson, Steve Miller, Steven Van Zandt, Lady Gaga, Graham Nash and Joan Jett. This year’s benefit theme, “Music Changed My Life,” is reflected in the honorees, distinctive guests, and the event’s special performances by public school students from New York to California who receive free music lessons thanks to Little Kids Rock.
Elvis Costello will be presented with the Rocker of the Year Award, and Bonnie Raitt will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Michael Dorf, Founder and CEO of City Winery, will be honored for his extensive philanthropic work, including efforts on behalf of expanding music education for underprivileged youth through the annually produced “Music of” tribute concerts.
Bonnie Raitt is a ten-time Grammy winner, who Rolling Stone named as both one of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” and one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” She was raised in Los Angeles in a climate of respect for the arts, Quaker traditions, and a commitment to social activism. A Stella guitar given to her as a Christmas present launched Bonnie on her creative journey at the age of eight. While growing up, though passionate about music from the start, she never considered that it would play a greater role than as one of her many growing interests. Bonnie was one of Little Kids Rock’s earliest supporters back when it was just a grassroots movement in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since that time, Bonnie become an Honorary Board Member, conducted meet and greets with students and donors, visited classrooms and invited Little Kids Rock to sound checks and to host tables at her concerts.
“It has been my privilege to represent Little Kids Rock as an Honorary Board Member for over fifteen years,” said Raitt. “When I got a guitar for Christmas as a kid I found my voice. The arts are not a luxury, they are a right, and all students should have the opportunity to discover their voice.”
Elvis Costello has followed his musical curiosity in a career spanning more than 30 years. He is perhaps best known for his performances with The Attractions and The Imposters. The list of performers to record his songs from Johnny Cash to No Doubt reflects his interest in a wide range of musical styles. In 2003, he began a songwriting partnership with his wife, the jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall, resulting in six songs included in her highly successful album ‘The Girl In The Other Room’.
“Having appeared in a couple of earlier Little Kids Rock nights, I very much appreciate the work that is being done in music education but confess that I am somewhat startled to find that I am this year’s honoree. Looking forward,” Costello said.
“Honoring Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt and Michael Dorf this year is a fitting tribute to the incredible generosity and love that they have shown our kids over the years,” said David Wish, Founder and CEO of Little Kids Rock. “Mr. Costello’s commitment to social issues is an inspiration, and no other artist friend has supported our kids and teachers for as long, or spoken so frequently and eloquently on our kids’ behalves when it comes to their right to have music in their lives, as Bonnie Raitt.”
Michael Dorf is the founder and CEO of City Winery. He has started multiple businesses and nonprofit organizations, including his first musical venue, the seminal Knitting Factory in 1987, The Digital Club Network, Tribeca Hebrew, Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival and Oy!hoo Music Festival. Through Michael Dorf Presents, Michael has spent last 14 years producing Carnegie Hall tribute concerts, raising over one and a half million dollars for programs that bring music education to deserving youths, with the Music of Aretha Franklin, the Music of Prince, the Music of Joni Mitchell, the Music of Bob Dylan, the Music of Bruce Springsteen, the Music of Elton John, Neil Sedaka’s 50 Years of Hits, the Music of R.E.M., the Music of The Who, the Music of Neil Young, along with the Music of Simon & Garfunkel and the Music of Frank Sinatra at Central Park’s SummerStage, the Music of Robert Johnson at The Apollo Theatre and the Music of David Bowie at Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall.
“Little Kids Rock was a natural fit to be a beneficiary of the ‘Music Of’ tribute concerts. The work they do to teach kids to play, giving them the self-confidence and inner creative streak that they might not have developed otherwise is so important,” shared Mr. Dorf. He is also the conceiver and producer of the Downtown Seder which for 25 years had presented an alternative celebrity Seder for 300 people a year in NY, Chicago, Boston, Napa and Atlanta.
This year’s event is produced by Mark Krantz and Michael Matuza, with Will Lee as the Musical Director. The Benefit Committee includes: Committee Chair, Nadine Levitt, CEO, Wurrly; along with members: Scott Burton, Managing Director, Angelo Gordon & Co; Nicole Crystal, Chief Creative Officer of The Memory Vault; Chris Donohoe, Independent Singer/Songwriter; Jules Follett, Executive Director and Founder of The Sessions; Richard Foos, CEO of Shout!Factory; Craig Kallman, CEO of Atlantic Records; Howard Kerbel, Special Advisor at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.; Alex Kirk, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer, River Birch Capital, LLC; Joseph Laska, Attorney and Partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP; Betty Murphy, President and Managing Member of ReGenesis LLC; Elani Myers, Marketing and Events Manager at Steven Madden; Nate Riggs, Senior Vice President,The Americas – Aergo Capital; Bruce Schroder, President of Moe’s Southwest Grill; Chris Skarakis, Founder, Blip.fm, Powersniff, LLC; Beau Taylor, CIO and Founding Partner of Taylor Woods Capital Management LLC; Ken Umezaki, President of Digital Daruma; Steve Venz, Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator, Orange County Dept. of Ed.; Jose Vergara,Music Teacher, Miramonte Elementary School, LAUSD; David Wish, CEO and Founder of Little Kids Rock; and Cheryl Zimlich, Executive Director, Board Member, Bohemian Foundation.
For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.