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    Posted June 8, 2014 by
    New York City, New York

    Historic Carnegie Hall Concert Set For June 25

    By Nathan James

    This year, New York City Pride Week will have even greater significance, as history gets made at the world-famous Carnegie Hall auditorium. Tona Brown, a gifted classical violinist and mezzo-soprano vocalist, will step out onto the stage of the Weill Recital Hall on June 25, and become the first African-American transgender woman to perform at this iconic venue, presented by Aida Studios. "It's the realization of a lifelong dream," Brown says, "and I'm privileged and honored to have this opportunity to go down in history."

    Brown, whose career includes singing the National Anthem for president Obama, when he attended a 2011 LGBT fundraiser in New York, studying under the legendary Isaac Stern, and singing in the opera Suor Angelica as La Principessa, sees Carnegie Hall as the highlight of her artistic journey. "I'm so grateful for all the love and support we've received from the community," she reflects," especially from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)." GLAAD was instrumental in helping the project meet its goals, organizing an online Indiegogo fundraising campaign and publicizing it on its widely-read blog. GLAAD VP of Communications Rich Ferraro spearheaded the effort within the group, to raise awareness of the concert's meaning. "[GLAAD] has been phenomenal," says Brown.

    During the concert, whose theme is "From Stonewall To Carnegie Hall", in homage to the long path of progress over the past half century led to this event, Brown will be accompanied by accomplished pianist Charlie Gilmer, a fellow Virginian. Gilmer, who is musical director at the Authentic Community Theater in Maryland, also teaches his art to music students throughout his region. Popular out comedienne Tammy Peay is the evening's hostess, lending a joyful presence to the concert, as she speaks love and equality, as befits her long career on stage and screen. Peay, whose work includes stand-up comedy, roles on the critically-acclaimed Finding Me Web series, and numerous hosting gigs at LGBT Pride shows, ceremonies, and other events, is an outspoken advocate of LGBT rights. Joining Brown, Gilmer, and Peay, is writer, radio personality, and longtime LGBT activist Nathan James. serving as emcee, and taking the audience on the spellbinding, historical journey that culminates with Brown's milestone performance. An awards ceremony, named by concert organizers for James, honoring outstanding contributions by individuals to the artistic and LGBT communities, will underscore the momentous nature of the show.

    Brown is herself a passionate trans activist, engaging public dialogue through her online Conversations With Tona Brown TV show, as well as in local and national media outlets. The Springfield native also appears on R&B sensation Nhojj's latest album, Made To Love Him, and her own collection of music by African-American composers, entitled This Is Who I Am. Brown's repertoire extends even to acting, as she has been cast in a major role on the new Netflix TV series, City Lightz. As a multi-talented artist, Brown seeks to elevate herself and transgender persons everywhere, through education and demonstrable excellence at her craft.

    The rainbow comes to Carnegie Hall at 7:30 PM on Wednesday, June 25, with ticket prices ranging from $35 to $70, and all those who attend will be witnesses to history. You can help support the concert by donating to Phase II of the fundraising campaign at http://www.gofundme.com/8wt2t8, and tickets are in sale now. They can be purchased on the Carnegie Hall website by visiting http://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2014/6/25/0800/PM/Tona-Brown-Violin/.
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