Inaugural Elevate Oakland Benefit Concert
Raises $110,000 To Support Arts and Music Education Programs
In Oakland’s Public Schools

1798220_733312446692371_1019671224_nFebruary 10, 2014 – Elevate Oakland raised just over $110,000 through fundraising efforts and the inaugural benefit concert, which was presented by Oakland’s own Sheila E. and held at The Fox Theatre in Oakland this past Saturday, February 8th. Funds raised through this event will go to support art and music education programs in Oakland’s public schools where no art or music curriculum is offered and will continue to support the current programs in need at schools like Castlemont High School.

“We are truly grateful for the success of Elevate Oakland’s first benefit concert. The generosity of the artists who donated their performances and time is absolutely amazing. The support of the community, the teachers, all of our sponsors and the dedication of all our volunteers is what made this event such a success,” in a joint-statement issued by Elevate Oakland’s co-founders Sheila E., Jason Hofmann, Lynn Mabry and Yoshi Akiba, “We definitely plan to make this an annual event and are already planning the next one.”

The evening began with a pre-show VIP reception followed by a testimonial video compilation introducing Elevate Oakland, which then led into a perfect blend of performances by world-renowned artists, acclaimed musicians, vocalists, youth performers, and a few surprises all on one stage. Hosted by Sterling James of KBLX and music DJ D-Sharp, there were more than 1500 community members, local dignitaries, teachers and sponsors in attendance to show their support and enjoy a night of music curated by Sheila E.

Once guests were seated they were treated to the debut of the song and video, “In the Bay,” written and produced by the Castlemont High School students on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus just two days before. Following the video, local comedian Mark Curry made a surprise visit and brought the funnies, readying the crowd for the night of music they were about to experience.

Opening the evening’s musical line-up was youth band, Oakland Future Quartet comprised of young musicians who’s ages ranged from 12 to 15 years old. This kicked off a frenzy of stellar performances by Michael Franti with members of Spearhead, Ozomatli, Orianthi, Goapele, Judith Hill, Kev Choice, Juan Escovedo, Lynn Maybry, spoken word poet Leroy Crosby aka Hykuu, Center of Hope Choir and Castlemont High School Choir. There were also surprise appearances by Oakland’s comedian Mark Curry, El Debarge and local favorite Martian Luther. Throughout the night the students were strategically paired with the featured artists, while the evening’s musical director, Peter Michael Escovedo, and Sheila E.’s touring band (all bay area musicians) kept everyone in sync. The Castlemont High School Choir, Center of Hope Choir led by Leah Tysse, joined Judith Hill and Orianthi on stage. Eleven year-old vocalist, Trinity Harper brought the crowd to tears and a standing ovation with her acapella rendition of Adele’s “Don’t You Remember”. Sheila E. surprised the audience with a performance of her hits ‘Love Bizarre” and “Glamorous Life” joined by Eddie M. on saxophone, as well as youth musicians Lorice Dykes, Jr. on saxophone and Remy Ashley on trombone. Michael Franti kept people on their feet with his joy-filled music, and for the grand finale all performers on stage taking turns singing and playing until the lights came on.

Elevate Oakland also recognized that the benefit was made possible in large part by sponsors such as: 51Oakland, Another Planet Entertainment, City of Oakland, Dreisbach Enterprises, Elevate Hope Foundation, Give Something Back, The Grubb Co., Horizon Beverage Company, The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, KBLX Radio, Know Yourself, The Lotus Foundation, The Milagro Foundation, Mosaic Global Transportation, PG&E, Sylvan Learning, Wells Fargo, Yoshi’s, and a many others.

About Elevate Oakland The mission of Elevate Oakland is to strengthen the role of music and arts education in the public school system – thereby nurturing students’ innate creativity, increasing self-esteem and academic success, and to ultimately pave the way for higher learning. Elevate Oakland’s innovative philanthropic endeavor was established to improve academic achievement and increase student attendance by providing creative and relevant curriculums through Music and Arts education.

A collaborative partnership designed to bring innovative music and arts programs to the underserved youth in the Bay Area beginning with Oakland, CA. The collaborative partnership which founded Elevate Oakland is two non-profit organizations: 51Oakland (founded by jazz club maven Yoshi Akiba and Jason Hofmann, an Oakland-based entrepreneur and former educator), and The Elevate Hope Foundation (co-founded by Grammy and Emmy-nominated pop icon Sheila E., an Oakland native and renowned musician, composer, arranger and producer, and Lynn Mabry, a Berkeley native, entertainment manager and accomplished vocalist).

Elevate Oakland is supported by the City of Oakland and OUSD’s leadership and launched its inaugural curriculum at Castlemont High School in East Oakland at the beginning of the 2013/14 school year with classes beginning with Guitar, Band, Piano, and Choir.



“Elevate Oakland has made it not only possible but extra-ordinary for me here at Castlemont High school in East Oakland. They have helped with our budget crisis and brought in fabulous artists to inspire and work with our students. The results have been wonderful.” Julianne Moscovitz – Music Director Castlemont High School


“This important partnership has not only helped maintain five classes a day of music education at Castlemont High School, it has enhanced the work by providing professional musicians to work with students on a weekly basis.” James Harris – Vice President of School Board Oakland Unified School District


“Music education happens through our whole life—from our heartbeat to the music we hear in the womb, to every song we hear on the radio or sing in church or in school growing up. Some of us have the opportunity to learn to play instruments, and it really expands our horizons and the way we see the world. We learn to work at something that is a goal we have. You have to have something that fuels your passion… music is not a quantitative experience; it’s something that moves your heart. That’s the most important thing about any education—to be able to access your heart.” Michael Franti – World Renowned Multi Platinum Artist & Musician, Humanitarian and Poet



“In the Bay” by Young Knights from Oakland, CA Produced on The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus