Los Angeles– Nov. 13, 2015 – Today marks the 106th birthday of Johnny Mercer, “one of the greatest songwriters and performers of the 20th century,” according to John D. Marshall, Jr., Chairman of the Johnny Mercer Foundation (JMF). “While Johnny left us too soon in 1976, because his music is still used in movies and commercials, and is performed and recorded by artists young and old, Johnny’s music continues to generate income enabling our Foundation to continue its work,” added Mr. Marshall.
To commemorate this special occasion, JMF is focusing on three charities, in which Johnny and his wife Ginger were very much invested. First among them is the Braille Institute. This collaboration includes Johnny Mercer Children’s Choir, a choir for blind and visually impaired children ages 6-18 and The Johnny Mercer Young Men’s Choir ages 13-28 who have graduated from the children’s choir. The choirs perform free concerts at senior centers, schools, and other community facilities, showing people that blindness or any disability doesn’t stand in the way of an individual’s dreams. One of the choirs’ signature songs is Johnny Mercer’s “Accentuate the Positive.” For more information, go to http://www.brailleinstitute.org/music-program.html.
JMF also sponsors UCLA’s Art of The Brain Johnny Mercer Foundation Research Award as well as Art of the Brain’s patient-focused activities, including the Brain Buddies network, helping to connect volunteer “illness mentors” with patients in need of a critical support system. The 2015 recipient of the Research Award was David Nathanson, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Ahmanson Translational Imaging Division [ATID] in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at UCLA, recognized for his dedication and contributions to advancing brain cancer research. By supporting both brain cancer research and the Art of the Brain programs, JMF has had a significant impact on patients that Art of the Brain serves. To find out more, please visit http://www.artofthebrain.org.
The third charity JMF celebrates today is its collaboration with Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. The Mark Taper and Johnny Mercer Artists Program works with local artists and certified creative arts therapists, JMF helps bring the healing power of music to patients, soothing infants in the NICCU, encouraging patients to play drums in the rehabilitation gym and the teaching of songwriting as a process for working through painful procedures or experiences. Volunteers and musical groups provide music appreciation and educational activities as well as perform for patients and their families in waiting rooms and play areas. Special guests, including Seal, Bruno Mars and the Jonas Brothers, have put on mini-concerts for patients at the hospital. For more on this charity, visit http://www.chla.org/mark-taper-and-johnny-mercer-artists-program
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-Kaufman Music Center, Los Angeles 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.
For more information please visit www.johnnymercer.org
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