Well known artists and musicians performed to a packed audience at the Fox Theatre in Oakland Saturday evening for a special benefit concert in support of Elevate Oakland, a collaborative effort that brings music and arts programs to underserved youth in Oakland and other parts of the Bay Area.
Among the featured guests were: Judith Hill, Oscar nominee; Center of Hope Choir and Castlemont Singers; Ozomatli, Latin Grammy award winning group; Goapele, Oakland native, R&B singer; Orianthi, platinum selling solo artist; Martin Luther McCoy, SF native and musician; spoken word artist Haiko; El Debarge, R&B singer; Mark Curry, Oakland native, comedian; Sheila E Band, led by Peter Michael Escovedo and Juan Escovedo on percussion.
Elevate Oakland was founded by the combined effort of 51Oakland, co-founded by Yoshi’s jazz club owner Yoshi Akiba and Jason Hofmann, an Oakland-based entrepreneur, and The Elevate Hope Foundation, co-founded by Sheila E., an Oakland native and Grammy/Emmy-nominated drummer/percussionist musician, and Lynn Mabry, a Berkeley native and vocalist.< p>Elevate Oakland was established to improve academic achievement and increase student attendance by providing creative and relevant curriculums through music and arts education. The program was launched at Castlemont High School in East Oakland in September 2013with classes that included guitar, band, piano, and choir.
“I think this is a great concept,” said Kev Choice, rapper and musician, born and raised in Oakland. “It definitely is something that is needed, and we definitely need to do more to show that we care about Oakland public schools and do more to enrich the students.”
According to Deliah Butler, 15, a freshman at Castlemont High, the program is something that will make a difference for her and her fellow students. “There are good things and bad things here in Oakland, but eventually there’s lots of talent here,” she said. “I want there to be more opportunities here for everybody where everybody has equal chances.
For more information on Elevate Oakland, visit www.elevateoakland.org