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Written by Melinda Steffy   
Published on Monday, 22 August 2016 10:30

LiveConnections honors WXPN host Helen Leicht with its “Connector Award” for 40 years of connecting musicians & communities in Philadelphia

 

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SUMMARY
Innovative music nonprofit LiveConnections presents its second Connector Award to WXPN radio host Helen Leicht, in honor of her 40 years on the Philadelphia airwaves and her dedication to connecting musicians and communities. The award will be presented at LiveConnections annual gala, the Big Hurrah, held on October 6 at World Cafe Live. The Big Hurrah captures the spirit of LiveConnections’ collaborative, community-building programming, featuring the best of LiveConnections artists and showcasing student performances from LiveConnections’ partner schools.



EVENT DETAILS
LiveConnections Big Hurrah

WHAT: annual gala featuring the Connector Award, adventurous performances by local artists, and student showcases from LiveConnections’ partner schools; proceeds benefit LiveConnections’ educational music programming
WHEN: Thursday, October 6, 2016, from 5:30-8:30pm
VENUE: World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA
TICKETS: $100 advance, $125 at the door
URL: http://liveconnections.org/big-hurrah2016

 



DESCRIPTION

PHILADELPHIA – Innovative music nonprofit LiveConnections presents its second Connector Award to WXPN radio host Helen Leicht, in honor of her 40 years on the Philadelphia airwaves and her dedication to connecting musicians and communities.

The award will be presented at LiveConnections’ annual fundraising gala, the Big Hurrah, held on October 6 at World Cafe Live. The Big Hurrah captures the spirit of LiveConnections’ collaborative, community-building programming, featuring the best of LiveConnections artists and showcasing student performances from LiveConnections’ partner schools. This year’s event features performances by R&B a cappella ensemble BrotherlyLove, jazz vocalist Joanna Pascale, Philadelphia poet laureate Yolanda Wisher, keyboardist Luke Carlos O’Reilly, percussionists Alex Shaw and Joe Tayoun, and singer-songwriter Ami Yares, among others. Proceeds from the event benefit LiveConnections’ music education programs, which reach more than 5,000 Philadelphia public school students each year, as well as youth and adults with disabilities.

LiveConnections created its Connector Award to recognize individuals who share its vision to build bridges, create collaborations and fuel innovation through the power of relationship. This year, LiveConnections presents the Connector Award to Helen Leicht, who is celebrating her 40th year on the Philadelphia airwaves. Leicht, who began her career in 1976 as midday host and music director at legendary Philadelphia radio station WIOQ, currently serves acclaimed Philadelphia public radio station WXPN as assistant program director, midday on-air host, host/producer of XPN Philly Local, and host of the weekly XPN Free At Noon concert broadcast. She is widely recognized for discovering new artists, introducing listeners to their music, and helping local musicians find and build audiences. Her dedication to musical relationship-building helped launch the careers of numerous Philadelphia musicians, including Amos Lee, Jim Boggia, Ben Arnold, John Flynn, Good Old War, Mutlu, Lauren Hart, Andrew Lipke, Melody Gardot, Matt Duke,  Sharon Little, Kuf Knotz,  and many others.

LiveConnections has benefitted from Leicht’s connecting work first-hand. Students from LiveConnections’ Percussion Studio summer camp were able to meet The Bacon Brothers before their XPN Free At Noon performance, and share their newly-acquired percussion skills with Kevin Bacon and Michael Bacon. Leicht also brought in celebrities such as Jon Bon Jovi and Jonatha Brooke to support LiveConnections’ Kids Count Campaign through videos that boosted the campaign’s visibility. Leicht has served on the LiveConnections board of directors since 2012.

LiveConnections co-founder and president Hal Real says, “LiveConnections is all about breaking down barriers and building bridges, and we couldn’t imagine a person more deserving of this Connector Award than Helen Leicht. Her work in Philadelphia over the last 40 years has prioritized relationship-building and collaboration between artists and their communities. She epitomizes the ways music can connect all kinds of people.”


Helen Leicht, WXPNABOUT HELEN LEICHT: Helen Leicht (pronounced “light”) has been a part of the Philadelphia radio community since 1976, when she was the midday host and music director at WIOQ, the now-defunct Album Oriented Radio (AOR) station. At WIOQ, Helen introduced the Philadelphia listening audience to the music of Tom Petty, The Cars, The Pretenders, Gerry Rafferty, Talking Heads, and Elvis Costello, among many others. She became known for her Leicht Lunch program, which encouraged listener participation, and her Sunday Breakfast with the Beatles show, which she began in October 1976. Helen then worked on air at WMMR and WMGK before joining WXPN in 1990. In addition to hosting the 8 PM hour of the weekly XPN Philly Local show and the weekly XPN Free At Noon live concert broadcast, she features a XPN Local Pick of the Day segment each weekday on air. Local artists she has showcased include Amos Lee, Jim Boggia, Ben Arnold, John Flynn, Good Old War, Mutlu, Lauren Hart, Andrew Lipke, Melody Gardot, Matt Duke, Sharon Little, Kuf Knotz,  and many others. With the WXPN Musicians On Call program, Helen is able to combine two key interests: community outreach and local talent.  Helen finds artists who perform at patient bedsides at local area hospitals, and help cheer up patients through the healing power of music.

 

ABOUT LIVECONNECTIONS: LiveConnections creates unique programs that inspire learning and build community through collaborative music-making. In 2008, a team of artists, educators and entrepreneurs founded LiveConnections to address declining music education in Philly schools and tap into the people-connecting power of music. We are a nonprofit organization in residence at World Cafe Live.

Each year, LiveConnections brings more than 5,000 students from city schools to World Cafe Live for our signature Bridge Sessions. These interactive educational programs blend live performances with hands-on activities, introducing students to diverse musical cultures and building skills in listening, expressing ideas and synthesizing new information. We also offer a number of in-school and after-school residencies at partner schools, providing sustained, in-depth music-making experiences for young people.

LiveConnections prioritizes accessibility for people with disabilities who face barriers to participation in the arts. We present several Bridge Sessions annually targeted for youth and adults with cognitive and physical disabilities, and our interactive, adaptive approach means individuals may fully engage at their own ability levels. Live webcasts of select sessions allow people unable to travel to the venue to participate.

In addition, in the spirit of innovation and community-building that drives our organization, LiveConnections curates six concerts each year designed for adventurous music-lovers. Our LiveConnections Presents concert series puts together Grammy winners, local talent and rising stars in unique, genre-crossing collaborations, and we frequently commission new music blending a variety of musical styles.

For more information, visit http://liveconnections.org.


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PLEASE NOTE: LiveConnections is a nonprofit organization in residence at venue World Cafe Live. All programs are created, presented and funded entirely by LiveConnections and should not be attributed to World Cafe Live.

 

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