The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles started fifth-anniversary celebration activities Monday with a gala concert, dinner and auction that added more than $500,000 to the museum’s coffers to continue supporting educational and other programs. The efforts have constituted the museum's primary mission since its doors opened in December 2008.
The event also introduced the organization’s first award ceremony; its Architects of Sounds Award saluted the wide-ranging impact that Motown Records has had on music and American culture, with honors presented to the label's founder, Berry Gordy Jr., and one of its original stars, singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson.
A concert at the nearby Club Nokia spotlighted the music of Motown in performances by Michael Bolton, Boyz II Men, Kelly Rowland and others. “American Idol” judge and veteran producer-musician Randy Jackson emceed.
Museum executive director Robert Santelli extolled Motown for helping forge greater racial unity in the country in the 1960s and 1970s, and for the label’s imposing catalog of hits over the decades.
He noted that more than 150,000 children, mostly from schools in Southern California, have taken part in the museum's educational programs over the last five years, and also took time to acknowledge the six programs on music history the museum has coordinated for the White House since 2010. It was announced during the evening that Santelli’s contract with the museum had been extended for another five years.
A handwritten set of Robinson's lyrics for his song "Who's Loving You" and two other auction items contributed $32,000 to the evening’s take for the museum.
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