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Save the Arts Benefit in Brooklyn
(Published: January 30, 2011)

The Group and Misonomer(s) headline Synergy For The Arts, a fundraiser at PS 3 to save the arts programs at two schools in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant section. The concert is sponsored by the PTAs at the Bedford Village School (PS 3) President, Monique Ngozi Nri and the Noel Pointer Foundation, President, Ayana Mbonu, both of which promote viable arts education programs.

In this second year of a collaborative effort, the two organizations are pooling their resources once again. Located at 50 Jefferson Avenue between Franklin and Bedford avenues, PS 3 includes a 400-seat capacity auditorium, which the organizers hope to fill to its rafters. Among the oldest public schools in Brooklyn, PS 3 has a long history as a public venue for the arts. On its grounds is a small garden dedicated to former Brooklyn resident and legendary pianist, Eubie Blake. The school is also currently host to the Shadow Box Theatre.

The Group is a cutting edge Jazz ensemble that was formed in 1986 and is therefore celebrating its 25th anniversary. Its original members included saxophonist Marion Brown (who recorded with John Coltrane), drummer Andrew Cyrille (who performed and recorded with Cecil Taylor), violinist Billy Bang (who performed and recorded with Sun Ra), trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah (who performed and recorded with Sun Ra), bassist Sirone (who performed and recorded with Pharoah Sanders) and bassist Fred Hopkins (who performed and recorded with AIR). On December 4th of 2010 this band reunited at Sistas' Place after a couple of decades to a sold out audience for the purpose of celebrating the life of Marion Brown who left the planet in October of 2010.

Herb Boyd wrote a review of the concert in the January 12-19 Amsterdam News replete with such praise worthy descriptions of the music he heard as: "powerful tones...the band was in total synchronicity...fire...music...seamless sonata like quality with distinctive melodies, lovely solos and triumphant resolutions." On March 5, The Group will include trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah, violinist Charles Burnham, drummer Andrew Cyrille, pianist D.D. Jackson and tubaist Bob Stewart.

Misnomer(s) is an eclectic and cutting edge duo of sisters, Knewdles and SOS, one who raps and one who plays the violin. In the few years that this band has been together they have built a devoted fan base that crosses race, class and age groups. They have performed primarily along the eastern seaboard and have won over audiences (wherever they've performed) ranging from the curious to hostile to the indifferent. They now have a self-produced album called "American (I)s".

Demonstrating the importance and musical talents of the children will be two youth ensembles. The Pre Orchestra conducted by Michele Joo, from The Noel Pointer Foundation and the Bedford Village Ensemble, conducted by Ahmed Abdullah. Last year's event was a good beginning in aiding both organizations at a time when arts education faced huge budget cuts. The arts play a critical part in the education of our children, instilling the discipline that comes from learning how to dance, how to sing, how to play the violin, how to play the clarinet, how to draw and how to act. The arts are the humanizing aspect of education and they are vitally important. It is now up to each of us who knows to support endeavors such as this one. Says Principal Kristina Beecher, "The arts are a very important part of our children's education, and we want to make sure that we keep our vibrant arts programs here at The Bedford Village School."

The Noel Pointer Foundation (NPF), located at Bedford Stuyvesant's Restoration, was created by his wife Chinita Pointer in memory of celebrated Jazz violinist, educator and humanitarian, Noel Pointer. NPF offers string music artist-in-residence programs, teaching children across the ethnic spectrum. Among its curricula are music workshops for students from Pre-K through the twelfth grade, after school programs for at-risk children, a weekly Saturday program and a Summer Music workshop series. In 2010, Ms Pointer was the recipient of the Brooklyn Do Gooder Award. She says, "The arts are an essential component of children's basic education. Every child deserves the opportunity to create his own voice..."

The Group and Misonomer(s) at PS 3 for Fundraiser For The Arts Concert on Saturday, March 5, 2011, from 4pm to 7pm. Tickets: $20 for adults and $10 for children. Donations and vendors welcome. Tickets can be purchased at PS 3, 50 Jefferson Avenue call 718 715-0319 or the NPF, 1368 Fulton Street, (718) 230-4825


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