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Band News (more headlines) 02-01-2001

Yamaha To Support Tony Bennett'S Frank Sinatra School Of The Arts

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BUENA PARK, CA-As a show of appreciation, music dealers and industry journalists were invited by Yamaha Corporation of America to a spectacular concert held during Winter NAMM 2001 at the Anaheim Marriott featuring the legendary Tony Bennett as a surprise guest.

Yamaha demonstrated its support of Bennett by announcing the donation of pianos and other musical instruments to the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, which Bennett plans to open in Queens, NY in September.

The Yamaha Dealer Appreciation Reception featured some of the music industry's top artists. Renowned jazz pianist David Benoit (Professional Dreamer) emceed the gala evening, joined by Tower of Power (Soul Vaccination: Live), Al Jarreau (Come Rain or Shine), Brenda Russell (Piano in the Dark), saxophone virtuoso Dave Koz (Careless Whisper), and the infamous Yamaha Artist All-Star House Band.

"Tony Bennett is not only a legendary artist but a great advocate of music education," states Terry Lewis, senior vice president, Yamaha Corporation of America. "On both counts, he's someone Yamaha is proud to call a friend. It's our pleasure to lend support to the music school he's conceived for young people in the name of the matchless Frank Sinatra."

"It was without a doubt the most rewarding experience to have Mr. Bennett appear at our concert," comments Chris Gero, corporate director of artist affairs, Yamaha Corporation of America. "It was an evening of wonderful artists, and he made a great bill unforgettable."

Bennett, a mainstay of American popular music for more than four decades, is riding a new wave of popularity with an audience that wasn't even born when he pressed his debut album, Jazz, in 1954. He is slated to receive a lifetime achievement award at the 43rd Annual Grammy® Awards on February 21. When he's not bridging the generation gap in music, he's serving as a global advocate of environmental preservation, a partner in the battle against cancer and juvenile diabetes, and also as a skilled painter.

Bennett conceived the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts as a tribute to his late friend. It is set to open in Queens, NY in September 2001 with a full complement of musical instruments donated by Yamaha.

The school will open at a temporary home at La Guardia Community College, and will eventually teach about 1,000 students in grades nine through 12-selected on a competitive basis-in a permanent home to be located on the site of Kaufman Astoria Studios, home to The Cosby Show and other major productions.

In addition to Bennett, the school is receiving support from comedian Alan King, singer Harry Belafonte, New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone and Queens Borough President Claire Shulman. In addition to regular academic coursework and dedicated community service, students will receive a pre-conservatory education in instrumental music, vocal music, fine arts, drama or dance. Older students will also be able to pursue filmmaking, technical theater or musical theater.

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