On Feb. 1, hundreds of Los Angeles-area public school students will watch as eight-time GRAMMY® winner Natalie Cole and breakout singer-songwriter Josh Kelley become the final two signatures on the Hilton Harmony Piano.
The six-foot grand piano boasts more than 110 celebrity autographs, each one representing a $1,000 donation from Hilton to the music education programs of the GRAMMY Foundation®. The year-long tour earned more than $100,000 for the Foundation, touching the lives of hundreds of local school children along the way.
Some of the more than 110 artists who have lent their names to support the Hilton Harmony Tour cause include: Tony Bennett, Mary J. Blige, James Blunt, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Crow, Ellen DeGeneres, the Dixie Chicks, Herbie Hancock, Tom Hanks, Terrance Howard, Linkin Park, Maroon 5, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Keith Urban, Kanye West, and Stevie Wonder.
Just prior to last year's 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards, Hilton Hotels and The Recording Academy® launched the Harmony Tour program, bringing the issue of music education to the attention of GRAMMY performers, nominees and presenters. For each artist that signed the piano, Hilton pledged to donate $1,000 to the GRAMMY Foundation. The
Harmony Tour piano debuted backstage at the 48th GRAMMY Awards in February 2006, held at the STAPLES Center, collecting autographs from musicians and celebrities who appeared on the show.
The Hilton Harmony Piano then began a nine-city tour, acting as the centerpiece for special music appreciation lessons for school children in each city. Local and nationally-recognized musicians joined the cause by leading the music lessons, signing the piano and helping to raise additional dollars for the Foundation.
Now, directly following its private finale concert for local students at the famed Music Box @ the Fonda theater -- where Natalie Cole and Josh Kelley will be the featured performers -- the Hilton Harmony Piano will end its journey in Los Angeles as part of the 49th Annual GRAMMY Awards festivities.
"During this time of year, we all look forward to honoring achievements in the recording arts through our GRAMMY Awards," said Neil Portnow, President of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation. "But equally important is The Recording Academy's focus on raising awareness of the value of music by supporting music education in our communities. The Hilton Harmony Tour not only helped us in this effort, reaching thousands of students across the country throughout the year, but also in raising much-needed funds for the GRAMMY Foundation which will positively impact even more students in the coming months."
In March, after the piano's appearance at GRAMMY Week events, Hilton will work with Sotheby's and Julien's Auctions to give music historians and fans throughout the world the opportunity to bid on this invaluable collector's item, with all proceeds going to the GRAMMY Foundation's music education programs.
Before landing in Los Angeles, the Hilton Harmony Piano traveled more than 10,000 miles across the nation, making stops in San Francisco; New Orleans, including a mini-Jazzfest concert and lesson with Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews and Harry Shearer; Austin and Memphis. In Chicago, the piano received its 100th signature, marking $100,000 towards music education at a "press concert" with Buddy Guy, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and Shirley King. It then made its way to Washington, D.C., and New York City, before venturing to the Hilton Las Vegas, where "Harmony" provided inspiration for students during a music lesson with Vince Gill and collected its 109th signature from Barry Manilow.
"At Hilton we believe that Travel Should Take You Places and we understand that music plays a prominent role in our life journeys," said Jeff Diskin, Hilton's senior vice president of brand management and marketing. "By creating the Hilton Harmony Tour and traveling with our piano across the country, we've gotten to see, firsthand, the impact music has on students and our hotel communities. We're so thankful to the dozens of hotels that hosted the piano and music lessons and the 110 artists that have helped us along our journey, building awareness of the need for music education in nine cities across the country."
For more information on the Hilton Harmony Tour and for auction updates, visit hiltonharmonytour.com. To see the piano before the tour's finale, visit the Glendale Hilton, where it will be displayed until Jan. 31.
With nearly 500 hotels on six continents, Hilton Hotels continues to be an innovative leader in the full-service hospitality segment and the most recognized name in the industry. Hilton celebrates the accomplishment, enlightenment, renewal and celebration that travel enables. This commitment to personal guest achievement infuses all decisions about products, programs and amenities, and is underscored by the belief that travel can and should be transformative. Each unique Hilton Hotel was designed to reflect the sense of place of its location; each team member chosen to reflect the local culture and community. For more information, please visit www.hilton.com.
About The Recording Academy
Established in 1957, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc., also known as The Recording Academy, is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards, The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs - including the creation of the national public education campaign What's The Download (WhatsTheDownload.com). For more information about The Academy, please visit www.grammy.com.
About The GRAMMY Foundation
The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1989 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture - from the artistic and technical legends of the past to the still unimagined musical breakthroughs of future generations of music professionals. The Foundation accomplishes this mission through programs and activities that engage the music industry and cultural community as well as the general public. The Foundation works in partnership year-round with The Recording Academy to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural heritage. For more information, please visit www.grammyfoundation.com.
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