On Thursday, May 10, 2012, Midori & Friends celebrated Viva La Música! A gala to commemorate the Hispanic heritage of students throughout New York City. The gala was hosted by Alexandra Lioutikoff, Vice President of Latin Music at ASCAP. In attendance were Midori herself, the foundation’s Board Chair Peter Glaser, Consul General of Japan in New York, Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki and his wife Mamiko Hiroki.
Guests were treated to an impressive performance by woodwind and percussion students from schools, P.S. 160 in South Jamaica, Queens, and P.S. 229 in Elmhurst-Maspeth, Queens. The children played upbeat renditions of “Rock Out” and “La Bamba.” Arturo O'Farrill, a remarkable Latin jazz pianist, composer, and educator, performed a piece with his talented sons, Adam (on trumpet) and Zack (on drums). PS 180 seventh-grader Jenaba Sow took the stage to receive the organization's 2012 Byron Gustafson Award for exceptional engagement in a music program. The emotion in the room was palpable during this amazing evening filled with dreams, laughter and music.
Midori & Friends was founded in 1992 by the world-renowned violinist, Midori and a committed board of directors. Midori & Friends has enhanced the lives of almost 200,000 under-served New York City children and their families through providing high-quality music education programs and initiatives.
The institution serves over 15,000 students annually in 40 public schools and community agency sites within New York City’s most disadvantaged communities. Focusing on children with little or no access to the arts, the programs are offered at no cost to students and available to all children regardless of their musical ability, education, or economic background. In many cases, the music programs provide the first experiences in which children become engaged in school, realize a sense of accomplishment, and attain self-confidence.