Photo Flash: The Black Is Beautiful Project Joins SING FOR YOUR SENIORS
Three non-profit organizations serving New York City seniors joined forces last week for a session of show-stopping numbers from the Great American Songbook.
The Black is Beautiful Project, founded by cast members from "Beautiful: the Carole King Musical," performed at Sing For Your Seniors' premiere session at the Central Harlem Senior Citizens' Center (CHSCC).
"When The Black is Beautiful Project (TBIBP) said this was going to be Central Harlem Senior Citizens' Center's first concert I immediately signed up. The opportunity to give back to my community with the gift of music is something that is so special to me. It was an honor to be a part of this performance. And really reminded me why I do what I do," said Beautiful cast member Garbrielle Elisabeth.
A fundraising campaign led by TBIBP resulted in the Center getting its own digital piano for the first time.
"Seeing the Program Coordinator's face when she realized that the center was getting their own digital piano was enough to make the whole day worthwhile," said co-founder of TBIBP TyNia Brandon (Beautiful). "The excitement only escalated when one of the seniors expressed 'Y'all made the pain in my knees go away!' Being able to reach out and help our community was one of the top reasons we began The Black is Beautiful Project. I'm so grateful we could join forces with Sing For Your Seniors for this special event. Knowing that we brought a few moments of joy and music to Harlem is all the incentive I need to continue our efforts."
Sing For Your Seniors, a non-profit organization, is in its thirteenth year of bringing the joy of music and community connection to senior centers, nursing homes and hospitals throughout New York City and beyond.
"I've served on the Board for Sing For Your Seniors for seven years," said co-founder of TBIBP Daniel Torres (Beautiful, The Woman in White, Pirate Queen, Evita). "So when we created The Black is Beautiful Project at Beautiful, I knew we had to bring these two incredible groups together one day. The new addition of the Central Harlem Senior Citizens' Center provided the perfect opportunity."
The Black is Beautiful Project was first created by cast members of "Beautiful, the Carole King Musical" as a celebration of Black History Month. Noting the greater impact this initiative could have, TBIBP began to explore ways to advocate for artists of color year round. The organization shows the importance of representation and opportunity, celebrates the contributions and achievements of black artists, and performs community outreach for young artists in need of mentorship and inspiration.
The collaboration was a perfect fit for the CHSCC. "The performance was incredible and well received by the seniors. They are very much looking forward to our continued partnership with Sing For Your Seniors," said Monica Warrell, CHSCC's program coordinator.
Also performing numbers from Beautiful and songs of their own choosing were cast members Salisha Thomas (Beautiful), Jay McKenzie (Beautiful) and Ashley Blanchet (Beautiful, Annie, Frozen, Memphis). Alvin Hough, Jr. (MD, Once on This Island) provided accompaniment on the piano.
Sing For Your Seniors thanks Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS for its ongoing support.
Photo Credit: Suzanne Fiore Photography