The Johnny Mercer Foundation (JMF) Teams Up with Kaufman Music Center for JMF’s Accentuate the Positive Songwriting Program for the Sixth Consecutive Year

Great American Songbook Opens Doors for 600 Students of Underserved Title 1 Elementary Schools
February 28 – May 22, 2017

NEW YORK – February 24, 2017 – The Johnny Mercer Foundation (JMF) has teamed up with  Kaufman Music Center for JMF’s sixth consecutive year of the Accentuate the Positive program, which teaches elementary school students the art of songwriting and introduces them to The Great American Songbook. This year, Accentuate the Positive will touch the lives of over 600 students in seven underserved New York City elementary schools.

Fourth-grade students will have the opportunity to write original lyrics using the Accentuate The Positive Activity Guide. The program is composed of four workshops and provides students the opportunity to explore their creativity with various Johnny Mercer songs including “Accentuate the Positive,” “Blues in the Night,” “Hooray for Hollywood,” and “Moon River.” With a strong language arts foundation, the program reflects national standards in music and language arts. Accentuate the Positive is adapted to meet the needs of the students, schools and communities served. The program was developed and is supported by The Johnny Mercer Foundation and is provided at no cost to the schools and the students.

“We’re very proud of the partnership with Kaufman Music Center.  For the last six years, together we have provided over 3,600 underserved New York City students an opportunity to explore their creativity through lyric writing,” said Dianne Thurman, Education Chair, Johnny Mercer Foundation.

Prior to the start of the Accentuate the Positive program, the students joined more than 600  New York City Public School children for three Broadway Playhouse performances presented by  Kaufman Music Center. Broadway Playhouse introduces them to great composers and lyricists of American musical theater. Many of the performers they saw on stage are the teaching artists who will visit their schools to help guide them in the Accentuate the Positive program.

“In their schools, Accentuate the Positive gives them a vehicle for expressing their inner thoughts. You should see their faces light up when they see their classmates enjoy their work! We help them see that their future has endless possibilities,” said Sean Hartley, Director of Kaufman Music Center’s Theater Wing.

About The Johnny Mercer Foundation:

The mission of the Johnny Mercer Foundation (JMF) is to support the discipline of songwriting in the tradition of the Great American Songbook as exemplified by the life and work of the legendary Johnny Mercer: lyricist, composer, performer, collaborator, and producer.  The Foundation continues Johnny’s legacy by partnering with individuals and organizations dedicated to celebrating and nourishing the disciplines he mastered and the causes he and his wife Ginger Mercer championed.

JMF has created a number of dynamic creative joint ventures with several prestigious institutions to facilitate our goals including; the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, Accentuate The Positive Programs (New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Miami), The Musical Theater Program at NJPAC, Georgia State University Fellowship Program, Florida International University Fellowship Program, the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project with Northwestern University and the Johnny Mercer Archives at Georgia State University, In addition, JMF also supports various charitable causes including UCLA’s Art of The Brain, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (Mark Taper and Johnny Mercer Artists Program), Braille Institute (Johnny Mercer Children and Adult Choirs) and KCET TVs Cinema Series.

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About Accentuate the Positive

In 2002, The Johnny Mercer Foundation launched a lyric writing program to teach elementary students about the art of songwriting and to introduce them to the songs of the Great American Songbook.

At the center of this program is Accentuate the Positive, a student activity guide that explains how a song is born, how music and lyrics are conceived and written and how these songs reflect our passions and ideals. Accentuate the Positive is currently being used in Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta and Miami schools.

Kaufman Music Center’s Broadway Playhouse series

Presented by Kaufman Music Center, Broadway Playhouse introduces kids to Broadway giants like Leonard Bernstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and many others through mini-musicals, sketches, medleys, sing-alongs and participatory games. The annual series originated at Merkin Concert Hall in 2007, and in 2013 expanded to the Snapple Theater for 15 free performances for children from Title 1 schools in low-income communities. This year, more than 600 children from 18 NYC public schools have attended free Broadway Playhouse performances celebrating The Gershwins, Harold Arlen (The Wizard of Oz) and Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast).

About Kaufman Music Center

Kaufman Music Center is NYC’s go-to place for music education and performance. It’s where music lovers, from curious fans to renowned performers, come together to explore their musical passions. Founded in 1952 as a community music school, today’s Kaufman Music Center is home to Merkin Concert Hall; Lucy Moses School, New York’s largest community arts school; Special Music School, a K-12 public school for musically gifted children; and Face the Music, a critically-acclaimed youth new music ensemble. Its innovative programs make the arts accessible to children of all backgrounds and are increasingly recognized as music education models for youth in urban communities.

Media Contact
Company Name: The Johnny Mercer Foundation
Contact Person: Hillary Herskowitz
Phone: 917.279.9574
Country: United States