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Denyce Graves
Denyce Graves and celebrity guests star in "A Jazz, Gospel and Classical Spectacular," a concert at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. The performance was recorded by WHYY and will be produced into a 90-minute national television special.
Photo ©Nigel Parry / CPi

Patti Labelle
Soul diva Patti LaBelle join Denyce Graves for "A Jazz, Gospel and Classical Spectacular,"a gala evening featuring some of the best known jazz, gospel and classical music ever sung.
Photo by Keith Major

Take 6
R&B vocal group and recent Grammy winners, Take 6, join Denyce Graves for "A Jazz, Gospel and Classical Spectacular,"a gala evening featuring some of the best known jazz, gospel and classical music ever sung.
Photo by: Dennis Keeley

WHYY Press Room

Download this press release (MS Word document)

WHYY NATIONAL PRODUCTION FEATURES DENYCE GRAVES IN CONCERT AT THE MANN CENTER

Education material based on program available for schools

Denyce Graves and celebrity guests star in "A Jazz, Gospel and Classical Spectacular," a concert at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. The performance was recorded by WHYY and will be produced into a 90-minute national television special scheduled for broadcast on PBS in March, 2004.

Soul diva Patti LaBelle and popular R&B vocal group and recent Grammy winners, Take 6, join Graves and other special performers for a gala evening featuring some of the best known jazz, gospel and classical music ever sung.

This multimedia project also calls for production of radio content, a DVD and a VHS tape, a Web site and an educational experience for thousands of school children in Philadelphia. WHYY offered the opportunity for 2,000 people from underserved communities to obtain free tickets.

"Thanks to our partnership with Denyce Graves and the Mann Center, we were able to create a distinctive program that serves the diverse community in the Philadelphia region and at the same time share this experience with viewers across the country," said WHYY President and CEO William J. Marrazzo. "In addition, at a time when many schools have reduced music education programs, we are offering a valuable music teaching experience."

WHYY worked with Dr. Dennis Creedon of the School District of Philadelphia to develop six "Learning Through Music" lesson plans, and presented workshops for teachers. The teachers received "Teaching Through Music Toolkits" containing jazz, classical and gospel music curriculum material, and some 800 Philadelphia students attended concert rehearsals. There are also plans to put the toolkits on the Web.

Craig Hamilton, WHYY Executive Director of Development said, "Denyce Graves believes it is important to be a role model and to inspire young children. The opportunity to reach out to school children through this concert is just one of the benefits of producing this program."

Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves is recognized worldwide as one of today's most exciting vocal talents. Her career has taken her to the world's great opera houses and concert halls. She has become particularly well known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. She also appears in a broad range of musical programs with leading theaters in North America and Europe, and is a much sought-after recitalist. Her recordings range from a performance of Rigoletto with conductor James Levine and the Metropolitan Orchestra to the recent release, "The Lost Days: Music in the Latin Style."

With support from WHYY's Presenting Sponsor PNC Bank and other underwriters, WHYY made available 2,000 free concert tickets through nonprofit and community groups. "We waned to make this music accessible to those who might not be able to afford concert tickets," notes Hamilton.

This is the second production shared by WHYY and The Mann Center. On September 16, 2001, The Mann Center, WHYY and The Philadelphia Orchestra jointly presented A TRIBUTE CONCERT for victims of 9/11, which was broadcast nationally on television and radio.

The Denyce Graves television program is produced by WHYY in partnership with Carmen Productions. Producers are Paul Gluck, Craig Hamilton and David Perry. The program is made possible by PNC Bank, The ARAMARK Charitable Fund, Peter Buttenwieser, The Philadelphia Tribune, Carmen Productions, Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. and Terry Ann Marek and The Connelly Foundation.

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