~ 10th Anniversary Celebration “Our Year of Gratitude” ~
What do you get when young artists are mentored by seasoned artists? You get Timeless Gifts, a dedicated nonprofit youth program bridging the gap created when performing arts education was removed from Chicago Public Schools.
Timeless Gifts held their 10th Annual Christmas Duets Mentoring Concert and Gala showcasing “Our Year of Gratitude” on Sunday, Dec. 8 at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th Street, in The University of Chicago. This remarkable 10th Anniversary celebration was hosted by WVON’s Pam Morris-Walton and Art “Chat Daddy” Sims.
Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton and Nikki Hayes, president-LiUNA Local 1001, served as the honorary chairs this year. Guests enjoyed performances by Timeless Gifts’ proteges along with world-class instructors.
“We’re so excited to celebrate our 10th Anniversary of uplifting, inspiring, and teaching young people how to nurture their gifts in the performing arts. Ten years later and this wonderful youth program remains a labor of love,” said Joan Collaso, executive director and founding member of Timeless Gifts. “We’ve supported over 400 youth throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs through our seven-week summer program and now we have students in college as well as performing on large stages and doing great things in the arts and other areas of their lives.”
Timeless Gifts “Our Year of Gratitude” included honoring an amazing list of African-American talent including:
Val Gray Ward (Lifetime Achievement), an actor, playwright, and founder of Kuumba Theater Company; Jeff Morrow (Lifetime of Mentoring), an educator, voiceover artist/vocalist, and vocal producer for the hit show Empire;
Pastor Darius Brooks (Timeless Gifts’ Legacy Award), a Grammy Award-winning Gospel artist, songwriter, and producer;
Abe Thompson (Timeless Gifts’ Legacy Award), a radio executive, educator, mentor, author and philanthropist;
Pemon Rami (Timeless Gifts’ Legacy Award), an international film producer, theatre director, arts administrator, historian, lecturer and consultant;
NBC Reporter LeeAnn Trotter and Producer Pam Oliver for their continued support as well as coverage of Timeless Gifts’ Vocal Ensemble’s debut performance tour in Milan, Italy this past April that resulted in rave reviews.
Timeless Gifts was founded by Emmy award-winning Jazz artist and international vocalist Joan Collaso in 2010 and together with help and guidance from Lawrence Hanks, Rayzine Collaso and Juanita Passmore, Timeless Gifts first Christmas Duets Mentoring Concert was born.
The concert was held at Kennedy King College and consisted of young artists trained by seasoned artists to perform well-known Christmas songs using soulful arrangements. It was a heartwarming, emotional, and smashing success with one amazing performance after another.