Past Event

2018 Annual Benefit Concert

Our 2018 Annual Benefit Concert features three of the most exciting names in jazz for one night only: multi-GRAMMY-winning artist Arturo O’Farrill with his Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble, Latin GRAMMY winner Sheila E., and pianist and museum Co-artistic Director Jon Batiste. 

Together, we’ll honor a pillar of the Harlem music community, pianist and educator Bertha Hope and Chairman of the Harlem Arts Alliance, Voza Rivers. 

To purchase a sponsorship package or ad, click on one of the links below or visit. To speak with us for additional information or to purchase a sponsorship, call or email event manager Jennifer Trehar (646) 651-1232 x12 or

Sponsorship Opportunities

Benefactor and Patron Packages

Virtual Journal and Program Ads

General Admission

6:00 pm      VIP Reception
7:30 pm       Awards Presentation and Concert


Arturo O’Farrill pianist, composer, and educator, was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. He received his formal musical education at the Manhattan School of Music, Brooklyn College Conservatory, and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. Arturo’s professional career began with the Carla Bley Band and continued as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte.

In 2007, he founded the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the performance, education, and preservation of Afro Latin music.

In December 2010, Arturo traveled with the original Chico O’FarrillAfro Cuban Jazz Orchestra to Cuba, returning his father’s musicians to his homeland. He continues to travel to Cuba regularly as an informal Cultural Ambassador, working with Cuban musicians, dancers, and students, bringing local musicians from Cuba to the US and American musicians to Cuba. Concurrently, Arturo is the Director of Jazz Studies atCUNY’s Brooklyn College.

An avid supporter of all the Arts, Arturo has performed with Ballet Hispanico and the Malpaso Dance Company, for whom he has written three ballets. In addition, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company is touring a ballet entitled “Open Door,” choreographed by Ron Brown to several of Arturo’s compositions and recordings. Ron Brown’s own Evidence Dance Company has commissioned Arturo to compose New Conversations, which premieres Summer of 2018 at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, MA.

Arturo has received commissions from Meet the Composer, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Philadelphia Music Project, The Apollo Theater, Symphony Space, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Young Peoples Chorus of New York, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Arturo’s well-reviewed and highly praised “Afro-Latin Jazz Suite” from the album CUBA: The Conversation Continues (Motéma) took the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition and the 2016 Latin Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. His powerful “Three Revolutions” from the album Familia-Tribute to Chico and Bebo was the 2018 Grammy Award (his sixth) winner for Best Instrumental Composition.

Jon Batiste is an internationally acclaimed musician, bandleader and composer. As an educator and television personality, he spreads his unbridled optimism coupled with a profound understanding of the arts. Born into a long lineage of New Orleans musicians, Batiste is a graduate of The Juilliard School with a master’s degree. After graduating, he toured globally with his band Stay Human and currently appears nightly on national television as the bandleader and musical director for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

Jon is a Forbes 30 under 30 honoree, Musical Director for The Atlantic and Co-Artistic Director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. He balances a demanding performance schedule with speaking engagements, curating events, occasional acting and producing opportunities, all while relentlessly composing new music. His latest album Social Music, spent over a month atop the Billboard and iTunes jazz charts as the No. 1 jazz album in the world. Jon is also a coveted brand ambassador– featured in campaigns for Chase, Apple, Lincoln Motor Company, and numerous fashion brands including Bonobos, Ralph Lauren, Barney’s and Nordstrom. He has worked with famed photographer Annie Leibowitz, among many others, and his personal style has been profiled in various fashion publications including GQ, Vanity Fair and Vogue.

Jon’s mission is to share his faith, hope and love with the world around him.


Sheila Escovedo picked up the drumsticks and started making music at the precocious age of three. Sheila delivered her first solo performance to a live audience two years later and has since established herself as one
of the most talented percussionist/drummers and performers in the world. Best known to music fans as Sheila E., she became a top session and touring musician before the age of 20, performing and/or recording with George Duke, Herbie Hancock, Billy Cobham, Con Funk Shun, Marvin Gaye (on his final world tour), Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan, Patti LaBelle, and Steve Nicks among others.

In recent years, Sheila E. has served as drummer of Ringo Starr’s All Star Band and musical director for the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce’ Knowles, and Prince. Her producing, arranging, and performance talents have been showcased on the Latin Grammy Awards, Summer Olympics, WOW Awards, ALMA’s, The Image Awards and the Academy Awards. Sheila was nominated for an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Music Direction” in recognition for her leadership as musical director for President Obama’s Performance at The White House: Fiesta Latina.

Sheila has been on tour beginning in 2012 playing across the United States and Europe. Current projects for Sheila E. include: CEO of her Entertainment Company StilettoFlats Inc., the release of her solo album ICON, a literary biography, titled “The Beat of my Own Drum” (Simon and Schuster), ventures in television production and content development, worldwide ministry, and motivational speaking.


Bertha Hope, an accomplished pianist and dynamic force in improvised music, has been making headway in the jazz scene since the early 1960s. Raised in Los Angeles, Bertha attended Manual Arts High School. She began her jazz journey with pianists Elmo Hope and Richie Powell in her youth. Although she studied piano at Los Angeles Community College,
she received her B.A. in early childhood education from Antioch College.

She married Elmo in 1960; they moved to New York where Bertha worked as a telephone operator by day and performed at night. In 1961, both Elmo and Bertha recorded together
for the Riverside label on an album called “Hopefull.” After Elmo’s passing in 1967 she decided to devote her career to promoting his music.

During her marriage to bassist Walter Booker, Jr., they created two ensembles, ELMOllenium and the Elmo Hope Project. Bertha served as an artist in residence for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts where she performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Foster, Nat Adderley and Philly Joe Jones. She gained exposure for her own music in the 1990s with the groups Jazzberry Jam and The Bertha Hope Trio. She also toured extensively in Japan. She recorded several albums during the 1990s including “In Search of Hope,” “Elmo’s Fire,” “Between Two Kings” and “Nothin’ But Love.” She taught advanced jazz ensemble at The Lucy Moses School, and “Introduction to Jazz” program at the Washington Irving High School (sponsored by Bette Midler). In 2014 she was honored at the Bronx Music Heritage Center with a tribute concert. She continues to perform in the New York area and beyond.


Voza Rivers is a founding member and Chairman of the Harlem Arts Alliance, a nonprofit arts service organization; 1st Vice President of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce; and Vice Chairman of HARLEM WEEK. With over 40 years of experience as an arts administrator and arts producer, he is one of
the nation’s leading African-American theater, music and events producers. Rivers’ relationship with the music industry was launched in 1980 when his firm ESA-BMG was business manager for TONY award winner Ben Harney (“Dreamgirls”), multi-GRAMMY award winner Count Basie and his Orchestra, and platinum recording groups Living Colour and Arrested Development.

In 1985, he produced Nina Simone’s return concert to the US. He has served as the Associate Producer for Living the Dream celebrating the first special on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday at Radio City Music Hall; was the SVP/CEO and Executive Producer for Percy Sutton’s Apollo Theater Records and Apollo Theater Artists Management; and was one of the producers for the first Apollo Theater Hall of Fame TV Special. Rivers has executive produced five albums, including South African playwright/actor/musician Mbongeni Ngema’s first album for Island Records, and was nominated for a 1989 Grammy for Best Musical Cast Album for “Sarafina! the Musical.” He co-produced a Tribute to Nelson Mandela Concert featuring Miriam Makeba, Tito Puente and Celia Cruz at the Apollo Theatre. He also served as President of PRG records a calypso label.

Rivers/NHTG produced the South African play “Woza Albert!,” written by South African playwright/director Mbongeni Ngema; produced Ngema’s “Asinamali” and “Sarafina!,” both later presented on Broadway and nominated for a TONY. NHTG coproduced with Lincoln Center a musical concert featuring Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masakela and the cast of “Sarafina!” at Radio City. Rivers coproduced with Lincoln Center Ngema’s Township Fever, at Brooklyn Academy of Music. In Japan, he has co-produced major musical events featuring Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick, James Brown, Boy George, Mary J. Blige, Manhattan Transfer, Ben E. King and others in venues that include the Nagoya Dome, Tokyo Dome, and in front of the historical Himeji castle built in 1333.

The Harlem Arts Alliance (HAA) is the only service organization of its kind in Harlem, HAA plays an essential role by helping to build the resources, network and capacity of its richly diverse membership. HAA has developed to offer its core services to a growing membership of more than 400 arts and cultural group and artists who represent all disciplines and areas of the arts. Among its members are artists emerging in their careers as well as those established and nationally recognized. HAA has earned its reputation within
and outside of Harlem as an invaluable resource. It has received awards and recognition for service to the Harlem arts community; developed partnerships with cultural organizations and local businesses; advocated for artists’ funding; and received support from foundations, corporations, government and businesses.