FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press contact: Stephanie Israel
Images available upon request
East End Arts Music Masters Concert
Featuring Talented Long Island High School Student Musicians & Vocalists
Led by BAKITHI KUMALO, Longtime Bass Player for Paul Simon
Saturday, February 11 at 7:00 PM
At Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center
(RIVERHEAD, NY, January 27, 2017) – East End Arts is pleased to announce that the East End Arts Music Masters Mentorship Program's ensemble of student musicians and vocalists, led by international celebrity musician Bakithi Kumalo, longtime bass player for Paul Simon, along with piano accompanist David Bravo, will perform a concert on Saturday, February 11 at 7:00 PM at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. The public is invited to this not-to-be-missed concert event, which promises to be a special evening featuring talented student musicians from across Long Island. Students will perform a mix of songs from Paul Simon's award-winning Graceland album which Bakithi Kumalo is featured on, and other handpicked favorites. Tickets are $10 in advance and at the door, and proceeds benefit the future of music programs like this one at East End Arts. East End Arts thanks generous sponsors Olivia and Harlan Fischer for their support of this program, as well as the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center for graciously providing the performance space. The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center is located at 76 Main St, Westhampton Beach, NY. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://eastendartsorg.presencehost.net/calendar/events.html/event/2017/02/11/music-masters-mentorship-program-final-concert-with-bakithi-kumalo/148394.
Ensemble leader and program mentor Bakithi Kumalo comments about the Music Masters students: "I cancelled everything I was going to be doing in January and February to do this because really, Long Island, it's like my home... my second home after South Africa. I am so honored to come and work with these kids and watching their audition videos to see what they can do... these kids are unbelievable. We want to put on a nice concert that’s going to be really amazing – because these kids, they can play. This is such a great program and I hope [EEA] continues and gets all of the kids to come and join this program and learn. If you play music, [EEA] is the place to be.” Bakithi Kumalo is a South African bassist, composer and vocalist who has worked with a wide variety of diverse artists including Gloria Estefan, Herbie Hancock, Chaka Khan, Harry Belafonte, Cyndi Lauper, and Paul Simon.
Emily Blumenthal, East End Arts Music Masters student vocalist, commented at a recent rehearsal: "It's unbelievable... he is gold. We can only hope to be as great and successful as him one day. It's an honor to be in the same room as him."
The ensemble is comprised of 14 talented student musicians and vocalists from high schools across Suffolk County, who are participating in East End Arts 2017 Music Masters Mentorship Program, which is an intensive full-scholarship, tuition-free, six-week ensemble workshop. These selected students have had the incredible opportunity to work under the guidance of this professional, and have been given training in professional rehearsal and performance skills through this program. For more information, visit eastendarts.org/programs/music-masters.html.
Students applied to participate during the Fall of 2016 and a select few were chosen to participate in this program. Applications came in from across Suffolk County and the ensemble includes:
• Ella Baldwin, 17, vocal, Riverhead High School
• Emily Blumenthal, 17, vocal, Westhampton Beach High School
• Gage Brown-DeVirgilio, 14, electric bass, from Middle Island
• Rowan Brown-DeVirgilio, 17, drums, from Middle Island
• Tristan Brown-DeVirgilio, 15, electric and acoustic guitar, from Middle Island
• Nazaria Burke, 17, acoustic bass, Longwood Senior High School
• Blake Carey, 17, trombone, Smithtown High School West
• Ben Cummings, 16, electric guitar and electric bass, Ward Melville High School
• Sophia Fellenz, 17, keyboard, Longwood High School
• Anthony Genovesi, 15, drums, East Hampton High School
• Jacob Nitti, 15, electric bass and electric and acoustic guitar, Riverhead High School
• Trevor Satchell-Sabaya, 16, electric bass, Mount Sinai High School
• Maddy Seitles, 16, guitar and vocal, Westhampton Beach High School
• Nikita Sipiaguire, 15, alto saxophone, Riverhead High School
The ensemble has been rehearsing Monday evenings since early January in East End Arts Carriage House rehearsal space, preparing for this final concert.
More Information about Bakithi Kumalo, 2017 Music Masters Mentor
Bakithi Kumalo is a South African bassist, composer and vocalist who has worked with a wide variety of diverse artists including Gloria Estefan, Herbie Hancock, Chaka Khan, Harry Belafonte, Cyndi Lauper, and Paul Simon. He has been active as well as a solo artist, with four albums to his credit – 1998’s San’Bonan, 2000’s In Front of My Eyes, 2008’s Transmigration, and 2011’s Change – as well as three award-winning children’s albums recorded with his wife, vocalist Robbi Kumalo. Kumalo’s bass-playing history began in Soweto where he grew up surrounded by music. “I picked up the bass early and realized I could follow the groove of a tune with it. I could play the bass lines from a cappella music, and I learned how to develop lines based on the left-hand work of accordion players in the township bands.” For more information about the mentor, please visit http://www.eastendarts.org/school/music-masters.html#bakithi-bio.
Bakithi Kumalo is East End Arts artist-in-residence during Winter 2017. In addition to the Music Masters Mentorship program taking place during Bakithi's residency, East End Arts will be offering a musicians' workshop for adult musicians on January 25 and a film screening of Under African Skies documentary on February 4, which chronicles Paul Simon's return to South Africa to explore the journey of his Grammy Award-winning Graceland album, which Bakithi is featured in. More information about these programs can be found at https://eastendartsorg.presencehost.net/calendar/events.html/event/2017/02/11/artist-in residence-bakithi-kumalo-international-musician-and-bassist-for-paul-simon/143575.
More about the Music Masters Mentorship Program
The Music Masters Mentorship Program was created with the goal of providing local students with one-on-one learning opportunities with masters in the music field, and to encourage student pursuit of post-graduate education. By creating this exciting and enriching program for the students, East End Arts is the catalyst for an expanded sense of opportunity and possibility throughout the academic year. The mentorship program is mentored by a master performer and composer in rock music, jazz, world music or classical music, who works with a small group of talented high school students. Participating students are selected based on auditions. The pilot program, which took place during the spring of 2011, was mentored by Corky Laing, drummer and songwriter from Mountain, and West, Bruce & Laing; the second program, held during Spring 2012 was mentored by singer/songwriter Lauren Kinhan of New York Voices and JaLaLa; the Fall 2013 program was a string ensemble led by professional cellist and conductor Nico Olarte-Hayes; the Fall 2014 was a jazz ensemble led by professional guitarist Steve Salerno; and the most recent program, held in Fall 2015 was a vocal ensemble led by professional vocalist Anastasia René with piano accompanist Mark Mancini.
For more information about the Music Masters Mentorship Program, contact Diane Giardi, East End Arts Education Director, at 631-369-2171 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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East End Arts, established in 1972, is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit arts organization, and operates a School of the Arts, an Art Gallery, and presents a variety of events and programs to promote the arts year-round. Proceeds from all events, sales, classes, donations, and memberships benefit the mission and commitment to building and enriching our community through the arts by way of education, support, advocacy, and inspiration.