In celebration of its decade long reputation of “bringing color to the classics” the Washington, D. C. area based arts organization, The Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts will mark the occasion on Thursday, June 26 with a 10th anniversary gala. Themed “Phantom of Opera” the organization was especially inspired when Norm Lewis recently became the first African American to portray ‘The Phantom’ in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic production “Phantom of the Opera. Though the actor of the hit TV show Scandal is unable to attend in person, he will greet the gala guests via video. Lewis will be honored with an award for his landmark accomplishment in absentia.
Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board Pamela Simonson saw the original Andrew Lloyd Weber hit on Broadway three times and plans to see this production. A die-hard Scandal fan she is” thrilled to know Lewis’ name is now also associated with the Tony-award winning show.”
One of the focuses of the arts organization has been to support and nurture the careers of performers, not only at the early stages, but also by providing meaningful relationships and opportunities. To this end, rising opera star Soloman Howard will be featured as the guest gala artist of the evening. Howard has become a house favorite at Washington National Opera in several main stage roles, most notably as Sarastro in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. His native D. C. recently applauded his Carnegie Hall debut and this fall will witness his debut at The Metropolitan Opera. “The Met will be lucky to have you” said renowned soprano Jessye Norman after hearing Howard sing at the Washington Performing Arts Marian Anderson tribute at Constitution Hall.
Similar success stories have been the hallmark of the evening’s honoree Joyce Garrett. Garrett has been long associated with the careers of many noted musicians that passed through her doors while she was director of the famed Eastern High School Choir. A few years ago, Garrett was fêted by The Washington Chorus at the Embassy of France for her contributions to the fabric of choral music and culture in Washington. A woman of grace and quite humility, her musical creativity has been behind the scenes as music director of many great choral performances televised both nationally and abroad
The black tie gala is open to the public.
AT A GLANCE:
WHAT: The 10th Anniversary “Phantom of the Opera” Gala of the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts, honoring music educator Joyce Garrett, with special recognition in absentia of Scandal actor Norm Lewis, with special gala performance by Washington National Opera bass-baritone Soloman Howard.
WHEN: Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Harmony Hall Regional Center John Addison Concert Hall, 9801 Livingston Road, Fort Washington, MD
ATTIRE: Black-Tie, Black, White with a touch of red
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