The Johnny Mercer Music Program
The Johnny Mercer Music Program at Braille Institute provides a special opportunity for Braille Institute students to develop and hone their vocal and musical talent.
Braille Institute is celebrating two decades of support from The Johnny Mercer Foundation (JMF). The partnership, which began in 1996, led to the creation of Braille Institute’s Johnny Mercer Music Program. Through the program’s music-based education and performance opportunities, youth and adults from Los Angeles and Orange Counties who are blind or visually impaired, discover that vision loss is not the end, but the beginning of a new way of living. All elements of the program are free, made possible in part through the support of The Johnny Mercer Foundation with additional support from the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts and the Flora L. Thornton Foundation.
“We are proud that The Johnny Mercer Foundation has chosen to work with us for the last two decades,” says Peter Mindnich, President Braille Institute. “Johnny Mercer’s work writing American classics such as ‘Hooray for Hollywood,’ ‘Jeepers Creepers’ and ‘Moon River’, brings smiles and good cheer to people today just as the songs did when they were first released. Our students, staff, and volunteers are proud to share the energy and passion embodied by his music.”
Braille Institute’s Johnny Mercer Music Program includes: a band, The Ambassadors of Music; an all-women’s choir, The Luminaries; a mixed choir of men and women, The Kaleidoscope Singers; a celebrated Barbershop Chorus; as well as the Johnny Mercer Children’s Choir and Johnny Mercer Young Men’s Choir. Each group is led by talented musicians and they rehearse on a regular schedule to prepare for public performances.
The classes offered through the Johnny Mercer Music Program are always favorites for students, volunteers, and our communities alike. We invite you to learn more about joining or supporting this program. See below for special programming developed to mark the 20th anniversary.
Special programming to celebrate the 20th anniversary
- Johnny Mercer Foundation Accentuate the Positive Song-Writers Workshop – for the Johnny Mercer Youth Music Program: JMF has paired Braille Institute youth with Sari Rose Barron, Director, JMF’s Accentuate the Positive Program, Los Angeles, and Marleena Barber, Braille Institute’s Children’s Choir Director to create two original songs. Sari and Marleena are guiding the students through sessions that encourage the students to find words to express their unique life story. The students will write two songs that will be put to original music by an American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) composer thanks again to support from The Johnny Mercer Foundation. The student’s will record the songs professionally, with live performances later this year.
- 20th Anniversary Johnny Mercer Music Festival Concert (March 30, 1PM – 2:30PM, Braille Institute, Los Angeles): This free event features performances by youth and adults from Braille Institute’s JM Music Program. They will perform such Johnny Mercer classics as Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive, Moon River, Dream, Hooray for Hollywood and more.
- First of its kind “Get Happy” Mercer and More Concert (May 15, 4PM – 6PM, Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, Los Angeles. The audience will be treated to a magical performance of uplifting songs from The Great American Songbook. Additionally, there will be an exhibit by Braille Institute art students. Proceeds support Braille Institute.
- Summer Performance (Aug. 7, Richard Nixon Memorial Library, 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd, Yorba Linda, 2PM – doors open at 1:30PM): Braille Institute’s JM Youth Choirs will perform with local, contemporary acapella groups.
The anniversary celebration concludes with our first ever JM Youth Music Program Alumni Concert. The program will feature performances by current and past JM Children’s Choir students. A highlight will be the premiere of the original songs created as part of the JMF’s Accentuate the Positive Song-Writers Workshop.
“In addition to writing and performing his own songs, Johnny Mercer loved to mentor songwriters. Johnny would be proud that the Foundation is supporting the songwriting skills of the members of the Braille Institute choirs, and the Foundation is very proud of these very talented young songwriters,” said John D. Marshall, Jr., President, JMF.