Dana went after music with a passion, learning everything he could from anyone that would take the time to teach him. From banging on pots and pans at home to a paid gig on the drums at church, he learned his craft as best he could. When the church job gave him the opportunity to travel overseas, he took it and that choice eventually led him to pursue a degree which ultimately led to a career in music.
As a successful adult, Hammond knew that it was just a series of simple choices over the years that kept him from becoming a statistic. He understood that it was being exposed to new and exciting things that kept him focused and on the right track. Having the ability to choose a positive journey gave him power and reshaped his perspective on the obstacles in his life.
Since the city of Los Angeles cut funding out for music and art programs in public schools years ago, Dana knew that the only way to give kids exposure to what he knew (and statistics said) was a critical educational component was to do something. In 2006, the non-profit Choice Group was born. With a mission of providing music and art programs to the at-risk and foster youth in Los Angeles, Choice Group provides music and art as a creative outlet, exploring them as layered industries, and exposing a world of opportunity to those who choose to embrace it.
On Thursday, October 24, Choice Group will host its second annual fundraising gala at the at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica, California. The evening's theme will be "Dream Big, Raise More to Do More." Music, artwork and performances by Choice Group kids in the Los Angeles area will be showcased and there will be special performances by award-winning recording duo and CGI Board Members, Erica and Tina Campbell (Mary Mary) and Los Angeles-based singer Akelee. Emmy-Nominated Tonight Show Musical Director Rickey Minor will be honored with the 2013 Choice Group Impact Award for his dedication to support and promote economic, educational and social opportunities for the under-served.
In a press release, founder Dana Hammond talked about his hopes for the night, saying, "We hope that we are able to raise more to do more locally and eventually globally." Tina Campbell shared by Mary Mary supports the non-profit, adding, "Dana is a hero in our community. We have watched him take children whose families are facing economic challenges and have little to no knowledge of music and in 6-8 weeks, they are learning how to read music and playing collectively, like professionals. We support Choice Group and encourage others to get involved because Dana and his team have made and are really continuing to making a difference."
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