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Founded by Vy Higginsen in 1998, the Mama Foundation for the Arts (MFA) has been internationally acclaimed for rebuilding Harlem as an artistic cultural center featuring entertainment and arts education. The Mama Foundation has produced a dozen theater productions, which have been performed on several continents. MFA’s best known musical, Mama, I Want To Sing, is the longest running Black Off-Broadway show in American history.
In 2003, Higginsen created the School of Gospel, Jazz, and R&B Arts. Three years later, she formed the award-winning Gospel for Teens program to train youth and “save the music.” According to Lesley Stahl from CBS’s 60 Minutes, “The Gospel for Teens program is not just teaching gospel, it is saving these kids.” Mama Foundation members have performed at numerous special events including the TED2012 Full Spectrum conference, the Congressional Black Caucus, The Stellar Awards, and a reception for Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. Madonna, Chaka Khan, opera singer Jessye Norman and gospel artist Shirley Caesar are among the many stars that have shared the stage with the Gospel for Teens Choir.
A renovated five-story brownstone on a residential block on West 126th Street between Lenox Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in Manhattan has been the home of the Mama Foundation for the Arts (MFA) since its inception in 1998. One block away is the foundation’s performance space, The Dempsey Theater, where thousands have enjoyed Mama, I Want To Sing: The Next Generation and Sing Harlem Sing!
What is so wonderful about the work that Mama Foundation is doing is their commitment to bring the arts not just as entertainment but as personal enrichment through the Vy Higginsen’s School of Gospel, Jazz and R&B Arts.
Earlier this year Mama Foundation held a series of lessons for learning to sing gospel. Now Mama Foundation is hosting a series of learning to sing jazz and blues. So step into being a active part of the artistic new Harlem Renaissance. The classes are from 7 to 9pm on four series of Wednesdays: May 22, May 29, June 5 and June 12. Classes are $80 for the four sessions. To register by phone call (212) 280-1045 or see their website at mamafoundation.org.
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