SCAN-Harbor gala shines spotlight on youth talent

The fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel included an appearance by Hip Hop legend Doug E. Fresh.

Hip hop legend Doug E. Fresh performs on stage at SCAN-Harbor’s gala at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan Wednesday.

Hip hop legend Doug E. Fresh performs on stage at SCAN-Harbor’s gala at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan Wednesday. Courtesy of SCAN-Harbor

Wednesday night at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, SCAN-Harbor, the largest youth service provider in Harlem, East Harlem, and the South Bronx, held a fundraising gala featuring appearances from partners such as the New York Yankees, Madison Square Garden Entertainment’s Garden of Dreams Foundation, YouTube Music and a performance from Hip Hop legend Doug E. Fresh.

The stars of the show, however, were the performers from SCAN-Harbor’s Performing Arts Academy. Comprised of program participants from SCAN-Harbor’s services, children ranging in age from 5 to 22-years-old performed for nearly an hour, belting rousing renditions of well-known classics, and a few originals.

Before Doug E. Fresh joined them on stage, SCAN-Harbor Performing Arts Academy’s various ensembles ran through 20 songs and vignettes featuring dancing, instrumentation and vocal performances that brought members of the audience out of their seats nearly a dozen times throughout the night.Shawn Smith Jr, an inaugural winner of the Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship, had just the previous week attended his graduation from Howard University, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts Degree and was back on a stage not only performing, but receiving the Beth and Stephen Dannhauser Award for Excellence in Performing Arts, along with fellow SCAN-Harbor Performing Arts Academy alumni Tayon Burton. Burton and Smith had many memorable moments throughout the concert, including leading the ensemble choir in an acapella, foot-stomping version of the Beatles’ “Come Together.”

Burton also performed a silky smooth duet with fellow alumni Lavienna Ingram, who also gave a solo performance showing off her singing and piano playing skills. The set from the SCAN-Harbor Performing Arts Academy closed with a medley involving all 50+ performers who filled the entire room and getting everyone in the room on their feet.SCAN-Harbor Board Member Lyor Cohen had invited Doug E. Fresh to join the festivities, and even “The World’s Greatest Entertainer” had to share his amazement at the performance the kids had on the show.

Before dropping a single beat, Doug E. Fresh had this to say: “This has been unbelievable! I am highly… impressed! Let me tell you something, your talent, your skills, your look, your vibration… is unbelievable!”Doug E. Fresh, then went on to share that he’s excited to return to collaborate with SCAN-Harbor saying, “I want to thank my brother Lyor Cohen for inviting me, and let me tell you… I hope that we get to do this again!”The event raised funds for programs aimed to provide the highest risk families and children living in Harlem, East Harlem, and the South Bronx with integrated family-focused programming that uses a positive approach, harnesses individual strengths and fosters responsibility, self-esteem, initiative and the development of life skills.Though the evening will no doubt be an indelible memory for the youth who performed, they also made sure it would be a night their audience would never forget.

This article was republished from an original version with permission from SCAN-Harbor.

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