In response to COVID-19 (coronavirus), The Composers Showcase of Las Vegas (TCS), a local non-profit best known for presenting a monthly forum for songwriters at The Smith Center’s Myron’s Cabaret Jazz Showroom, established the TCS Entertainment Community Relief Fund when the pandemic hit hard in March.
To date, $50,000 has been raised and 80 local entertainers, musicians and artists who applied for assistance have received financial aid from TCS. The entertainment community is in tremendous need, and even more so now with the permanent closure of “Le Reve” displacing over 200 cast and crew.
Since the Las Vegas Strip went dark in mid-March, hundreds of Las Vegas entertainers have been forced off the stage, their careers sidelined, and livelihoods destroyed. To help out-of-work entertainers and musicians who are in need of financial assistance during this difficult time, The Composers Showcase has expanded its mission to include offering financial assistance and give back to the community that has kept TCS going for the last 14 years.
TCS co-founder and director, Keith Thompson says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the economic state of our community like nothing we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes.” “And it all happened suddenly and unexpectedly, before we had time to prepare for the financial hardship that lay ahead. Now we are five months into the crisis with no end in sight for our community. Though many parts of our economy are coming back, live performances and show business as we knew it are still a long way from returning in any way that can support the community at large. We see the same phenomenon all over the country, with Broadway shows and tours unable to reopen and cruise ships, music festivals and concert venues remaining shut down for the foreseeable future. Our concern is specifically for our Las Vegas entertainment and performing arts family, a forgotten segment of our society. These wonderfully talented professionals and skilled performers find themselves in a very frightening financial situation. Knowing that even small grants can help buy groceries or make a car payment, we want to help as we are able, and donations are the key to our ability to do so. We know that everyone is suffering, but we hope that those who are financially able to donate will see how important this is to support our local community. These artists have been here to uplift, inspire and entertain us, now we need to be there for them,” added Thompson.
As an integral part of the community that depends entirely on tax-deductible donations and charitable gifts, the Showcase’s 501(c)(3) is able to offer real, tangible and immediate support to those who apply for assistance. TCS now moves into its next phase, hoping to substantially increase fundraising as the crisis worsens and becomes even more widespread with no end in sight. Many more members of the community are now reaching out to TCS for relief and much needed help.
To donate, please visit the website, www.thecomposersshowcase.com and click on Donations-Relief Fund. There is also a link for the application for relief on the website.
Since The Smith Center is closed to live gatherings, Thompson, has been presenting a once-a-month live-stream series called “Highlights,” also part of The Smith Center’s “Living-Room Series,” that showcases great moments from past Showcases on video, and also acts as an ongoing fundraising drive for the TCS Entertainment Relief Fund.
The fourth in the highlights series will be held Wednesday, Aug. 26, 5:00 p.m. and will feature some of the more famous and high-profile moments from previous showcases and include performances by Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley with guitarist John Wedemeyer, renowned writer/arranger Artie Butler, Broadway star, Michael Cavanaugh, Grammy nominee and Dove Award winner Crystal Lewis, Broadway composer Richard Oberacker, hit pop-songwriter Alfred Johnson, and Showcase co-founders Michael Brennan and Keith Thompson with special performances by young newcomer, Chloe Watson, Vegas favorites Dennis Blair, Michelle Johnson, Le Reve’s Christine Hudman Pardy, and Grammy-nominated singer/headliner Clint Holmes with Lincoln Center Jazz trumpeter Kenny Rampton.
Back in April, dozens of members of the Las Vegas entertainment community, including 50 singers and 20 musicians, banded together to record an inspirational new song, “Needing Each Other,” produced and written by Thompson and co-produced by Alan and Kathi Glist of Glist Entertainment, Inc. The song’s accompanying video features messages of hope and optimism from well-known sports and TV personalities and Las Vegas entertainers who are standing in solidarity with the community in crisis.
The video is available on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Q1Ya9YLRnE, Vimeo and on thecomposersshowcase.com website.