Gibson announces Apollo Theater benefit concert

Let’s Stay (In) Together: A Benefit to Support The Apollo is June 2nd

Gibson the iconic, American-made, leading instrument brand is proud to partner with the legendary Apollo Theater for the Let’s Stay (In) Together: A Benefit To Support The Apollo benefit concert. The celebration marks the launch of a partnership between Gibson and the Apollo Theater which will include collaborations on future show programming, music education initiatives, music preservation and support established and emerging talent. The live, free virtual benefit concert will kick off Black Music Month in June and will offer critical support to safeguard the ground-breaking institution’s future following the unprecedented cancellation of more than 100 programs due to COVID-19. The Let’s Stay (In) Together: A Benefit To Support The Apollo livestream is Tuesday, June 2nd at 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT at apollotheater.org.

Let’s Stay (In) Together: A Benefit to Support the Apollo Theater is sponsored by Gibson, through the Gibson Gives foundation. The free benefit concert will showcase an array of special guests delivering poems and performances dedicated to the memory of those who have lost their lives due to COVID-19. The landmark livestream event features performances by  “Captain” Kirk Douglas of The Roots, Kool & The Gang, Gary Clark Jr., Robert Randolph, Ray Chew, Michael McDonald, Lil Buck & Jon Boogz, Keb Mo, Celisse Henderson, Infinity’s Song, Marc Bamuthi Joseph and DJ Reborn, as well as special appearances from Dionne Warwick, Doug E. Fresh, Roy Wood Jr. and more to be announced. During the show, artists will perform the music of Apollo legends such as B.B. King, Patti LaBelle, and Stevie Wonder, and highlight the Apollo’s 86-year contribution to arts and culture. The Let’s Stay (In) Together: A Benefit to Support the Apollo Theater concert will also be available for free streaming by media partner, TIDAL.

Let’s Stay (In) Together: A Benefit to Support the Apollo Theater is part of Apollo Sound, which celebrates Black Music Month in June and illuminates the power of music to transform, build community, and heal. DJ D-Nice — the resident DJ for the Apollo’s annual benefit for eight years — will kick-off the month-long Apollo Sound celebration on Monday, June 1st by dedicating his wildly popular Instagram Live Club Quarantine dance party to the Apollo Theater.

The event is part of the non-profit Theater’s campaign to raise $4 million in immediate funding support. In addition to raising funds for the Apollo’s innovative artistic and educational programs — which serve more than 200,000 people annually — a portion of the resources raised will go towards a micro-grant initiative for local small businesses. Support for the Apollo Theater remains crucial as we all continue to navigate the negative economic effects of COVID-19 on the performing arts and entertainment fields. The Apollo Theater is committed to providing virtual programming and preparing for the next season of world-class live performances, community, and education programs. Any contribution over $75 qualifies for an Apollo Membership and supports staff salaries, teaching artists, performers and artistic and educational programs.

“For more than eight decades, the Apollo Theater’s strength and resiliency have been as constant as the talent on our stages, but like non-profit organizations around the world, we are facing an unparalleled challenge. Immediate additional funding is critical for us at this time, and I am incredibly grateful to the generous donors and friends who have supported the Theater since we closed our doors in March,” shares Jonelle Procope, Apollo Theater President & CEO. “I hope this online celebration inspires people across the globe to come together and enjoy the sounds of the Apollo, as well support the Theater’s mission to champion Black culture and the arts of the African diaspora. Through such generosity we will be able to give back directly to the vibrant Harlem community that has supported us for many years.”

“Music is one of the world’s enduring gifts, and its power to connect, transform, and heal have always been center stage at the Apollo,” states Kamilah Forbes, Apollo Theater Executive Producer. “Although our stages remain dark, the Apollo sound has never been more vibrant, and I’m grateful to DJ D-Nice for sharing it, and to Gibson for its support in helping us amplify our musical soundtrack while also raising funds for the Theater and our neighbors in Harlem.”

“We are thrilled to shine a light on the history of the Apollo, an American institution that needs our attention and support to stay intact during these times,” says Nat Zilkha, Partner at KKR and Chairman of Gibson Brands. “Gibson gives artists the tools they need to re-imagine American music and the Apollo gives artists the iconic space to entertain generations to come. We look forward to a long partnership with the Apollo Theater supporting their programs and the artists who inspire our entire culture.”

The legendary Apollo Theater — the soul of American culture — plays a vital role in cultivating emerging artists and launching legends. Since its founding, the Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world. With music at its core, the Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes the world premiere of the theatrical adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me and the New York premiere of the opera We Shall Not Be Moved; special programs such as the blockbuster concert Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo; 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella; and the annual Africa Now! Festival.

The non-profit Apollo Theater is a performing arts presenter, commissioner, and collaborator that also produces festivals, large-scale dance and musical works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend the Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens, including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival as well as other multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations.

Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres — including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at the Apollo are Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, H.E.R., D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Machine Gun Kelly and Miri Ben Ari; and the Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy.

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.