Crossroads student musicians reunite for another concert fundraiser
By Michael Aushenker
Don’t accuse percussionist Alec Singer, a senior at Crossroads School in Santa Monica, of missing a beat.
Teens United Live, an annual concert fundraiser he co-founded with three Crossroads classmates, returns for a third year on Saturday at the Moss Theater at New Roads School in Santa Monica, with all proceeds supporting Los Angeles students in need.
Back in freshman year, Singer founded the nonprofit with his fellow jazz program students: vocalist Bella Porter, pianist Taylor Mackall and bassist Sol Was (who happens to be the son of musician and producer Don Was).
The impetus? He heard through the grapevine that music programs at Foshay Learning Center in South Los Angeles was experiencing financial turbulence.
“They had a funding cut,” Singer, now 18, recalled.
For two years in a row, their Teens United Live fundraiser, which featured student musicians from across the Westside (including Harvard-Westlake, Brentwood and Windward schools), sold out the legendary Roxy on the Sunset Strip, raising nearly $40,000 to benefit their less-fortunate musician peers.
Last year’s show included Colburn School jazz musicians and the Harmony Project, featuring younger kids, performing Katy Perry’s “Fireworks.”
This weekend’s Teens United Live expands to include students from throughout the Los Angeles public school system.
“For the last two years, we’ve sort of been like the house band,” Singer said.
This time around, the founders have been as busy as ever behind the scenes but are sharing more stage time than ever before with other young musicians.
“This year, we have a lot more people,” he said.
The quartet, who have been jamming since the 7th grade in a pop-rock outfit called Zuzu, want to donate this year’s proceeds to a general education fund for schools in Lennox neighborhood, east of LAX.
After Saturday’s benefit, Singer and company, poised to graduate in May, are ready to step down.
“I think maybe we can pass down the throne to underclassmen,” he said.
Ultimately, the takeaway for these young musicians has been about more than filling a music venue.
“You really can make a difference, and you can have fun while you’re doing it.”
Teens United Live is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Ann & Jerry Moss Theater at New Roads School, 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica. Tickets are $25 or $100 for VIP seating. teensunitedlive.com
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with correct spellings of names and to correctly identify Foshay.