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(Published: September 15, 2014)

Concert on October 7, 2014
The DiMenna Center Concert Hall, New York, NY

Featuring Catherine Russell and Evan Christopher
With the Eli Yamin Trio
and Jazz Drama Program Students

Hosted by Rondi Charleston

Proceeds benefit The Jazz Drama Program's education initiatives

New York, NY; September 15, 2014 -

The Jazz Drama Program hosts its 2014 Benefit Concert honoring Dorthaan Kirk at Mary Cary Flagler Hall at The DiMenna Center (450 West 37th St) in Manhattan, NY on October 7, 2014 at 6:30 PM.

"It is our great honor to celebrate the life and work of a leading jazz advocate and supporter of our time, Dorthaan Kirk of WBGO, Jazz 88, who has been producing jazz concerts for children and everyone else for over 25 years!" says Artistic Director, Eli Yamin.

The evening's entertainment features internationally acclaimed vocalist Catherine Russell, the wizard of Creole clarinet, Evan Christopher, and the Eli Yamin Trio. Award winning journalist and vocalist Rondi Charleston hosts this soulful journey of swing and blues with additional performances from Jazz Drama Program students performing highlights from the newly recorded Jazz Drama Program musical, Message From Saturn, about the healing power of the blues.

The Jazz Drama Program (JDP) is a New York City based 501c3 nonprofit organization that introduces hundreds of people each year to jazz by getting them involved in producing a jazz musical at their school or community theatre. JDP musicals have been performed over 80 times in 14 states and 4 countries involving thousands of children in jazz, many for the first time. This spring Nora's Ark, the jazz musical was performed at the Helen Hocker Theatre in Topeka, Kansas. The same play was also translated into Polish and performed by Master Degree musical theatre students in Bialystok featuring an ark made of recycled materials.

The Jazz Drama Program also trains students locally on scholarship in JDP methods of embodying the jazz aesthetic through the voice, body, mind and soul. This includes rigorous vocal training for healthy and expressive singing through Somatic Voicework, the Lovetri Method ™ , under supervision by the method's founder Jeanie Lovetri.

The Jazz Drama Program has released two jazz musicals worldwide with socially conscious themes: Nora's Ark, about climate change, cooperation and survival and Holding the Torch for Liberty about the struggle and triumph securing voting rights for women in 1920 and will release a third musical in 2015 called Message From Saturn about the essential healing power of the blues.

Catherine Russell is an internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist and performs at prestigious venues such as Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, Yoshi's in San Francisco and The Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Her father Luis Russell served as Louis Armstrong's musical director for many years, and mother Carline Ray was one of the most in demand bassists throughout her over 50 years in the business.

Evan Christopher is a New Orleans based clarinetist known for his highly personal style of "contemporary early jazz" that extends the tradition and thrills audiences worldwide. Recent performances include Jazz in Marciac Festival and Le Duc des Lombards jazz club in Paris, France.

Eli Yamin, pianist, composer, co-founder and Artistic Director of The Jazz Drama Program, was raised in the bands of jazz masters Walter Perkins, Illinois Jacquet and Barry Harris. His exciting and imaginative piano playing has taken him and his groups around the world as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. Department of State and has led him to perform and teach at the famed Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City as well as invited for a command performance at President Obama's White House.

Catherine Russell, Evan Christopher and Eli Yamin will perform songs from Louie's Dream, a Jazz Drama Program release, which is dedicated to jazz heroes who inspired us all.

Host Rondi Charleston is an Emmy and Peabody award-winning journalist, Motéma Music recording artist and a renowned jazz vocalist, lyricist and composer whose work has appeared in film, TV and on stage throughout the U.S. and Europe.

"It was a life changing experience to have studied under the professorship of Mr. Yamin and Mr. Carlson [JDP co-founder and co-author]. Since that time I continued to study music and recently received my Masters Degree in Classical Voice and Opera Studies from NYU."

-Tyenne Sillekens, Jazz Drama Program alum

Tickets for the 2014 Benefit Concert can be purchased for $150 at this link:


$100 of the purchase price is tax deductible. The Jazz Drama Program is a 501 c3, tax-exempt organization.

Corporate, Foundation and Individual Sponsorships can be obtained by contacting Benefit Concert Chair, Kareen Laton at kmlaton@gmail.com

Kareen Laton is The Jazz Drama Program Board Treasurer and the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Caravel Management LLC. Other Board Directors are Kirk Imamura, President of Avatar Studios, Jeannette LoVetri, founder of The Voice Workshop, Tom Dempsey, musician and Assistant Professor LaGuardia Community College, Damien Sneed, conductor and pianist and Eli Yamin, composer and pianist.

Press Inquiries:

Lana Neudorfer
(212) 569-3141

Sponsorship Inquiries:

Kareen Laton, Benefit Chair

More Information: http://www.thejazzdramaprogram.org/

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