Founded in 1998, The Mama Foundation for the Arts is a non-profit 501(C)3 whose mission is to present, preserve, and promote the history and fundamentals of gospel, jazz, and rhythm and blues music for current and future generations. Inspired by the worldwide success of Mama, I Want To Sing, Ms. Higginsen established the Foundation as a cultural space in Harlem where both youths and adults have access to quality training and employment in the performing arts. Through the Foundation's Gospel for Teens program, musical instruction in the art form of gospel music is offered to young people between the ages of 13 and 19 at no cost, providing desperately needed support to musically gifted children and replacing arts programs taken out of many inner city schools.
Gospel for Teens was the subject of an award-winning "60 Minutes" feature story (two 2012 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Feature Story in a News Magazine; as well as a 2012 National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence Award) that followed the program's students for a year - from auditions to their victory at their first competition, the open division at The Pathmark Gospel Choir Competition of Harlem, held at The Apollo in 2011.
Mama, I Want To Sing: The Next Generation is regularly performed weekly (Saturdays at 5:00 p.m.) at The Dempsey Theater (127 West 127th Street) along with Sing, Harlem, Sing! (Saturdays at 2:00 p.m.). Created by Vy Higginsen and inspired by the many years she spent behind the microphone at major urban radio stations (such as WBLS-FM and Kiss-FM), Sing, Harlem, Sing! is a musical revue that celebrates African-American music (including R&B, jazz, early rock 'n' roll, and gospel), urban radio, and the energy of one of the world's most legendary neighborhoods. The show features songs made famous by Chuck Berry, Ben E. King, JAmes Brown, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Minnie Riperton, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Etta James, and Chaka Khan, among others, in addition to traditional gospel tunes.
Tickets for regular performances of Mama, I Want To Sing: The Next Generation and Sing, Harlem, Sing! are priced at: $20 (children 14 and under), $30 (teens, students and seniors - with valid ID), and $35 (adults). The tickets for both shows are available through SmartTix.com (212-868-4444) or by calling the Mama Foundation for the Arts at 212-280-1045.
For more information, visit www.mamafoundation.org.