By: Judy Shields
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 4/13/2018 – “When you sacrifice for your own child as a parent you can stay up all night making ways out of no ways so that your child can have certain opportunities. Our children in LAUSD are our children!” Rory Pullens, L.A. Unified Senior Executive Director of Arts Education told The Hollywood Times on the red carpet last night
Performers and stars came out for the “We Are One!” Benefit Concert for Arts Education Presented in Association with The Music Center at The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Although the wind was blowing pretty good last night, that did not deter the stars, performers and board members from walking the red carpet and having their photos taken and doing interviews.
The LA Unified We Are One! Benefit Concert represents the goal for all of Los Angeles’ city entities; LA Unified, City/ County/State Governments, Arts, Businesses and Cultural sectors to come together as one unit and work together to support the next generations of LA Unified student artists.
Through this Benefit Concert, the Arts Education Branch will raise additional funding to expand its arts efforts and forge closer partnerships with companies and individuals committed to the arts, arts education, and future generations of artists.
Nickelodeon, HBO, and Warner Bros. Entertainment have already signed on as sponsors and funding/resource partners.
Welcome remarks were made by Brother and Sister Actors David & Patricia Arquette.
Here was the concert schedule from last night:
The red carpet began about 6 p.m. last night and here is a look at the stars, performers and board members that walked the red carpet.
Patricia Arquette interview: THT: “How do you see the future for arts in schools?”
Patricia Arquette: “We really need it and we have more single parents than ever and millions of kids that they are trying to raise alone while they are being paid less. Enough is enough and we don’t have time for this anymore! We have to make some radical changes and we have to make that happen.”
David Arquette interview: THT: “What bring you out to this event?”
David Arquette: “I’m just here to support the L.A. Unified School District and their really strong move to support the arts. It is really an incredible thing that they did, because you hear all about the budget cuts and all the bad stuff, but we want to focus on the good stuff tonight. They are putting a priority on the arts and education and everybody out here supporting them is really a great thing.”
Ms. Judith Hill interview: THT: “What are working on?”
Judith Hill: “I am working on my second album, it’s been a long-time coming with this album because with a joint project with a musical as well, which is going to be premiering later on this year. It’s called “Golden Child” and its about diversity similar to the theme of tonight about celebrating people’s diversity and it’s a powerful story. We are looking forward to sharing that and it’s going to be here in LA.”
Kacey Fifield Interview: THT: “How important is art education to you and what motivates you the most?”
Kacey Fifield: “I think the art education is extremely important because if we grow and not being exposed to the arts, then how truly can you be the best and express ourselves and be inspired. I go to a regular school and I feel like that is good for me.”
Torin Floyd Interview: THT: “What brings you out here tonight?”
Torn Floyd: “I love The Hollywood Times, I am here supporting LAUSD and this wonderful event they are having. I am a singer/songwriter from LA myself, I grew up in Pasadena, so I just wanted to come and spread some love and just thank you for all that LAUSD does for our children.”
THT: “What type of music do you write and perform?”
Torin Floyd: “I do Pop and R&B. I like to fuss everything because living in LA you have the wonderful culture around you so I want my music to reflect the culture.”
THT: “How young were you when you started singing?
Torin Floyd: I started singing very young at five years old and I have been trying to pursue acting and having an agent that early pursued me into music and musical theatre. I started doing plays in college and writing my own projects and here I am releasing my first song on Spotify and iTunes called ‘Take Me Higher.'”
Scott Schmerelson Board Member Interview: THT: “What District are you with?”
Scott Schmerelson: “Board District 3, which is basically the Western San Fernando Valley and some of the Eastern San Fernando Valley.”
THT: “What do you do on the board?”
Scott Schmerelson: “I make sure that my kids get the best education possible. I make sure that my schools are tip-top as far as repairs and having what they need. I make sure that all my employees are happy so the kids get a good education, so I have a lot to do and I do it every day.”
THT: “What is your success rate?”
Scott Schmerelson: “OMG, our graduation in the valley is just fantastic, happy people with very few problems. It is just a great place to work. The Arts is what saves a lot of kids from dropping out of school. Some kids are not motivated by academics, but by sports and arts they come to school every single day and that is my hope to bring them in to see how important education is. The purpose of this program is to have music and arts in every single school we have on a rotating basis, so that all kids have a chance.”
Interview with Lupita Infante: THT: “When did you get started in music?”
Lupita Infante: “Well it’s been a family tradition as well, but definitely through middle school I was in choir and in high school I was in the jazz choir. Having the music in school is very important, hence why this event is so important to me. Something inside me was growing this love for music and I went to college and I’ve made it part of my career.”
THT: “How did you get into Madiachi music?”
Lupita Infante: “That is where the family part comes from, my grandfather, Pedro Infante, he was very well-known in Mexico, actor and singer and my father followed in those footsteps and now there is me.”
Rory Pullens Interview: THT: “You look so excited tonight, tell us why?”
Rory Pullens: “I’m excited to be here because we are here tonight for young people of LA Unified to experience something that has never been done before. To actually come together at a venue like the Music Center, right here in downtown LA and have an event of this magnitude which all about raising the awareness of the importance of the arts, generating the revenue so these young people can have music in their classrooms, art supplies they need and the resources that they need to have, because at the end of the day, one out of every six jobs here in LA county is in the creative industry. So by students experiencing the arts now is all about making this clear pathway for them that will last forever.” The major sponsor for tonight HBO, Nickelodeon, Warner Brothers all here tonight, you got the major represented, you got city council, you got county supervisors. I believe everyone will come together and act as one to ensure that these young people have what they need, that is why the theme is ‘We Are One!'”
The messages delivered during the concert were some powerful messages indeed. The speeches moved us all to cheering and getting up on their feet.
Rory Pullens told the audience that he could have a thousand jobs, but that he wasn’t looking for a job, he wants to be involved in a movement that he is passion about and he cares about and it going to make a difference. He quoted a good friend of his “I want to be able to change the world!”
“The budget of the arts education branch at LA Unified, while it has doubled in size, thanks to the leadership of our board and our superintendent, from the years 2014 – 2018, the arts grant budget has doubled in size,” said Rory Pullens.
Here are a couple of videos of the local kids from different LA schools performing onstage last night:
About the Los Angeles Unified School District (LA Unified)
Second largest in the nation, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LA Unified) enrolls nearly 650,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, at over 900 schools that offer a variety of specialized and comprehensive educational programs.
The boundaries spread over 720 square miles in six local districts that include the metropolitan city of Los Angeles as well as all or parts of 31 smaller municipalities and several unincorporated sections of Southern California. www.lausd.net
About the LA Unified Arts Education Branch
Part of the Los Angeles Unified School District and its rigorous Division of Instruction, the Arts Education Branch partners with local and national arts, entertainment and philanthropic communities to collaboratively support the growth of a robust arts culture. Nearly 650,000 K-12 students receive a comprehensive and challenging visual and performing arts curriculum. The Arts Education Branch sponsors school, family, and community arts-related programs and staff professional development for cutting-edge arts education design and implementation. It believes that all LA Unified students, from every culture and socioeconomic level, deserve quality arts learning in dance, music, theatre, visual and media arts as part of the core curriculum.
For more information, please visit: www.arts.lausd.net