‘Little Kids Rock’ Annual Benefit Show to Feature Warren Haynes, Yo-Yo Ma, Brian Wilson & Other Luminaries

On Wednesday, April 14, national non-profit Little Kids Rock will host their free virtual benefit show. Presented by Hot Top Foundation, the event features a diverse lineup of musical talent including Jade Bird, Jack, Black, Brian Hardgroove, Warren Haynes, Victoria La Mala, Yo-Yo Ma, Carlos Santana, and Brian Wilson. In addition to the performances, there will be an online auction, speeches, and testimonials to celebrate the organization’s mission of bringing free musical instruments and lessons to over a million students across the country. After the COVID-19 pandmeic, the organization is working hard to ensure that musical support is available when students return to school. 

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“Early music education is very important for the young,” says Little Kids Rock National Board Member and longtime bandleader for Public Enemy, Brian Hardgroove. “Not only is it a direct path to critical thinking; I believe it can also help a young person better understand the past that has led to their present. Music has always inspired and brought us together, and music will continue to inspire and bring us together.”

Little Kids Rock began as an informal effort by former schoolteacher Dave Wish to give his San Francisco Bay Area second grade students a music enrichment program. Borrowing from friends and scouring area flea markets for instruments, he began offering free after-school guitar classes. The curriculum Wish developed immediately captured each student’s interest because it had them playing the types of music they enjoyed listening to, and enabled them to improvise and compose freely around a basic network of ideas and skills within minutes of picking up the instrument. More than 550,000 kids currently participate in Little Kids Rock programs nationwide.  When the pandemic hit and schools began closing, the organization moved its professional development workshops to online and began creating new curricular resources focused on distance and digital learning. 

“We are humbled that so many incredible members of the artistic and business communities are coming together via this event to support our mission to bring more music to more kids,” says Little Kids Rock Founder & CEO, Dave Wish. “This school year we were inspired to see our teachers use music to keep their students emotionally close even when they had to be apart. Music has been and will always be one of humanity’s emotional first responders.”

Co-chairs Richard Foos (Founder, Rhino Records and Shout! Factory), Crag Kallman (CEO, Atlantic Records), Nadine Levitt (Founder & CEO, Wurrly), and Stefani Scamardo (Founder, Hard Head Management) usually hold an in-person event in New York City. Given the current safety guidelines and dire need from the affected communities, the evening will be live-streamed and emceed by music artist T-Boz of TLC and DJ Skee of Dash Radio.

Tickets to Little Kids Rock Annual Benefit are free for general admission and $500 for VIP tickets—which includes access to exclusive interactive experiences. The online auction is now open and will close at 10:00 p.m. ET the night of the event.  Learn more about Little Kids Rock, here.

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