Tag Archives: gospel

Emily “Cissy” Houston, Valerie Simpson and Dionne Warwick Attend “Mama, I Want To Sing” 30th Anniversary Gala



The 30th Anniversary Celebration of
Mama, I Want To Sing
America’s Longest Running Black Musical
Saturday, March 23, 2013

Among many celebrity guest, Emily “Cissy” Houston, Valerie Simpson and Dionne Warwick attend “Mama, I Want To Sing” 30th Anniversary Gala Celebration at The Dempsey Theater in Harlem Saturday night.

After welcoming all the board members and the benefit committee at Red Carpet, the gala began with a very special performance that includes musical highlights from “Mama, I Want To Sing” and “Sing, Harlem Sing!, ”as well as a performance from the Gospel for Teens Choir.


Cissy Houston, Vy Higginson

The Background Story

By Vy Higginsen

I was the youngest of four children growing up on Harlem. My father was a minister and my mother was very involved in his church. My oldest sister, Doris, sang in the choir. She was eventually discovered by James Brown at The Apollo, and went on to a successful career in popular music. Kind and generous, Doris was a big influence on me. I was inspired to tell her story, and so I wrote Mama, I want To Sing with my husband, Ken Wydro.

As we wrote the story, we became aware that is wasn’t just ours. It was the combined stories of numerous African-Americans who grew up on the church, stepped out of the church choir and then made their way into the recording industry and on stage. They created a new sound that was uniquely African-American – Something at once uniquely personal and wholly universal.

Initially the script was rejected by every major producer in New York – none believed that the story was worth telling or that an audience could be found for a Gospel-based production.

With nowhere else to turn, we devoted our entire life savings to opening Mama, I Want to Sing in East Harlem at the Heckscher Theatre which had housed Joe Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival 15 years earlier. As the doors’ chain was lifted, puffs of dust and dirt greeted us in the abandoned 632-seat theater.

Standing on that dusky, silent stage, dimly lit with coated work lights; I saw the theater filled with senior citizens, church groups, school children, and hard-working black mothers and fathers who had spiritual values and loved soul-stirring music.

Mama, I wan To Sing opened March 25, 1983 with a minuscule advertising, promotional, and publicity budget. Word-of-mouth spread quickly through the black community and the theatrical and traditional musical circles. Mama, I Want To Sing positively the power, spontaneity and emotional uplift of the black church experience.

For thirty years now, Mama, I wan To Sing has been performed all over the world. It has not only entertained, but it has helped introduce gospel music to other cultures, and it has taught audiences everywhere about our community and our people.

Inspired by the show’s worldwide success, I created Mama Foundation for the Arts in 1998 as a cultural space in Harlem where both youth and adults have access to quality training and employment in the performing arts. With a mission to present, preserve, and promote the history and fundamentals of gospel, jazz, and rhythm and blues music, the Gospel for teens program began at the foundation in 2006. Open to the public at no cost, so that all interested could benefit from it, Gospel for Teens provides support to our musically gifted children by replacing the arts programs taken out of many inner city schools. In the past seven years, we have served hundreds of teens. These fine young men and women have now become Ambassadors of the Music, making sure that the music lives on for generations to come.

It is a thrill to have seen these young people evolve through the arts – I’ve witnessed them change mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

All of us are part of a community that is rich and full of history, conversation, food, music, and art and culture. To explore all that; to present that on stage – whether through our musicals, performances by the Gospel for Teens Choir, or other events – is a privilege.

During the initial run of Mama, I Want To Sing, Doris Troy played the role of our mother; and my brother, Randy, played the role of our father. Now, my daughter, Knoelle, is playing the role of her Auntie. Doris passed away nine years ago, but her life lives on stage to this very day. For that, I am jumbled, and so grateful.

Thank you for your support.


Vy Higginsen

This Friday(12/7) Gospel For Teens Holiday Benefit Concert ゴスペル・フォー・ティーンズ・ホリデー・ベネフィット公演!



300人のNYシティ・キッズが無償で音楽教育を受けているヴァイ・ヒギンセンVy HigginsenのMama Foundation主催、Mama I Want To Singにも出演中のゴスペル・フォー・ティーンズのベネフィットコンサート12月7日(金)開催!

今年はクワイアの新メンバーに加入したばかり14歳の日本人シンガーMIREIも参加! オンラインチケットはここから

December 7th
Dempsey Theater in Harlem (127 W127th St)

Buy tickets online here.

Tickets for Fall 2012 Season Now On Sale!

Sister Carrie Sings


Tickets for Fall 2012 Season Now On Sale!

“Mama, I Want To Sing” 30th Anniversary Season Beginning This Saturday October 6!

The Emmy award winning Gospel for Teens choir is now featured in “Mama I Want To Sing: The Next Generation” which begins its 30th anniversary season this Saturday October 6 at 4:30 pm at the new Dempsey Theater, 127 West 127th Street in Harlem.

 Fall 2012 PerformanceSchedule

Saturdays, October 6, 13, 20, 27

Saturdays, November 3, 10, 17, 24

Saturdays, December 1, 8, 15

At 4:30 p.m.

Winter 2013 Performance Schedule

Saturdays, February 2, 9, 16, 23

Saturdays, March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

At 4:30 p.m.

Spring 2013 Performance Schedule

Saturdays, April 6, 13, 20, 27

Saturdays, May 4, 11, 18, 25

Saturdays, June 1, 8, 15, 22

At 4:30 p.m.

Several members of Gospel for Teens appear in the stage musical Mama, I Want to Sing: The Next Generation.

Dempsey Theater
127 West 127th Street

New York, NY 10027

$35 general admission
$30 groups of ten or more
$30 students and seniors

Theater parties and group sales:
Call 212-280-1045

Proceeds benefit the groundbreaking Mama Foundation program: Gospel for Teens.

Travel A, C, D, B,  2, 3 trains to 125th Street and the M2, BX15, M100, M101, M60, M102, M7 buses.


HARLEM 2012 SUMMER EVENTS!!夏だからハーレムに行こう!!ハーレム・サマーイベント

Summer is the best time to discover Harlem!

Thursday, August 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31
Harlem Summer Stage

Time:  5:00 pm
Location:  A.C. Powell Jr. State Office Plaza – 125th Street & A.C. Powell Boulevard
Admission:  Free

Aug 2 Rhythm & Blues
Aug 9 The Calypso King of the World – Featuring the Mighty Sparrow and the McCafe Poetry Finals
Aug 23 Hezekiah Walker’s Gospel Explosion & Vy Higginsen’s Gospel for Teens
Aug 30 All Things Latin

Sep 6 Summer Sunset @ the Plaza – Jammin’ on the Mic with Chris Curry & Friends

For additional information, visit: www.harlemsummerstage.net.

Friday, August 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31
Uptown Fridays!

Every Friday in August, explore current exhibitions with free guided tours and dance to great music at the Studio Museum.

Time:  6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Location:  Studio Museum – 144 W. 125th Street
Admission:  Free, $20 for party
For more information, visit: www.studiomuseum.org.

Saturdy, August 4
Dance Theatre of Harlem Family Street Festival

Outdoor festival featuring performance showcases, arts & crafts, vendors, food and entertainment.

Time:  12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Location:  W. 152nd Street from Amsterdam Ave to St. Nicholas Avenue
Admission:  Free
For additional information, visit:  www.dancetheaterofharlem.org.

Saturday, August 18
“Summer in the City”


Salute to Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence and the Great Bob Marley


Over 60,000 attendees will enjoy an outdoor R&B, Rock and Hip Hop concert, featuring regional dance events,  College “Step Show” Competitions and an outdoor film festival.  There will also be exhibitors and vendors providing delicious foods, creative arts & crafts, clothing and much more.

Time: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Location: 4 blocks on West 135th Street between 5th & St. Nicholas Avenue MAP

(c)Romi Uchikawa

Sunday, August 19
“Harlem Day”


 “HARLEM: Where the World Meets the World”

ジャズ、レゲエ、ラテン、ソカ、ゴスペル、R&B、HIP HOP, ロック、ブルース、カリプソ、あらゆる音楽パフォーマンスから、ソウルフード、アフリカンアートやファッションのベンダーまで、ハーレム&インターナショナル・カルチャーのエッセンスが凝縮したニューヨークで一番ファンキーなフェスティバル!

Over 90,000 attendees will enjoy four outdoor stages of live entertainment, featuring “The International Roots of Jazz”: Reggae, Latin, Soca, Gospel, R&B, Hip-Hop, Rock, Blues and Calypso.  There will also be exhibitors and vendors providing delicious foods, creative arts & crafts, clothing and much more.

Time: 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Location: 4 blocks on West 135th Street between 5th & St. Nicholas Avenue

HARLEM DAY 2011 Report

(c) Romi Uchikawa

Saturday, August 25
The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival


Featuring Toots Thielmans, James Carter, Tia Fuller, Cecile McLorin Salvant

Time:  3:00 pm
Location:  Marcus Garvey Park – The Richard Rodgers Amphitheater – 123rd & Mt. Morris Park West
Admission:  Free
For additional information, visit: www.harlemsummerstage.org.

For more events and details まだまだ他にももりだくさんのイベント&くわしい情報は