First and foremost, I want to extend my wishes for a happy and healthy New Year to you all. While the last few years have been challenging, I hope you found joy and optimism this holiday season. I am filled with gratitude, humbled, and honored to lead an organization that is a shining beacon of culture. I know that things are still a bit uncertain, but when we work together, we will get through whatever lies ahead.
This season’s theme, “The Renaissance is Now!,” is a reminder that the Apollo has long been a hub of Black creativity, cultural expression, and artistry in Harlem. This winter and spring, we will continue to inspire audiences both in the historic Theater and on the Apollo’s Digital Stage. We have an exciting lineup for 2022, including:
- The return of Amateur Night at the Apollo on February 16. Attracting performers and audiences the world over, the legendary talent show is a chance to witness the next star in the making;
- A special conversation between Apollo Master Artist-in-Residence Ta-Nehisi Coates and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter of the Grammy Award-winning band The Roots on their artistic inspirations on March 30;
- The Lyricist Lounge 30th Anniversary on April 16, honoring the legendary safe space for hip-hop artists to hone their skills that is now an integral part of hip-hop culture;
- The Gathering: A Collective Sonic Ring Shout on May 7, presented in partnership with American Composers Orchestra and National Black Theater. It features a diverse array of contemporary, multidisciplinary artists including Joel Thompson, Carlos Simon, Courtney Bryan, Toshi Reagon, and Jason Michael Webb with a 70-member orchestra and 60-voice choir composed of both professional and amateur singers from African American churches and choral ensembles across New York;
- Our bi-annual Africa Now! festival featuring East African jazz vocalist Somi with surprise guests; a special screening of Queen of Glory written, directed, and starring Nana Mensah; and special panel discussions and late-night events; and
- The return of our late-night offerings, Apollo Music Café and Apollo Comedy Club, featuring an array of the best independent and emerging artists including Prince protégé Liv Warfield who opens the Music Café on January 15.
You can learn more about our complete season lineup, including community conversations, education events, additional film screenings, and access tickets on our website here. To ensure our community, staff, and artists remain safe, we have implemented a number of protocols, including requiring proof of vaccination and masks for everyone entering the Theater as required by state and local health officials. For more details, please visit our website here.
Building on the Apollo’s decades-plus relationship with SiriusXM, I’m thrilled to share that the company has generously donated $5 million to the Apollo for the support of artists and creating access for new audiences. In recognition of this gift, we are naming the orchestra level of the historic Theater the SiriusXM Orchestra. I look forward to sharing more about our continuing collaboration with SiriusXM in the months ahead.
Unfortunately, due to COVID, there have been delays in the opening of our new spaces in the Victoria Redevelopment Project. We are now expecting to open in early 2023. The Apollo’s Victoria Theater will enable us to build on our longstanding role as a supporter of artistic creation and collaboration in Harlem and for Black and African diasporic arts and artists, and as a central hub for the community. I look forward to welcoming you to what will be an exciting next chapter for the Apollo and for our community.
Our annual Dining with the Divas luncheon will take place in just a few weeks. This annual program raises funds for the Apollo’s School Day Live program, which brings young people to the Apollo for special performances. This year’s luncheon is on track to be the best one yet and is sold out. It is truly a testament to our community, and we are incredibly grateful to those who participate and contribute every year.
I’d like to especially thank the many generous donors who have sustained us over the past year and continue to support our work. For those who are able, we hope you’ll consider supporting the Apollo’s upcoming season and future by making a donation here.
President & CEO
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