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  • Jason Mraz headlines Second Annual Emerging Artist Benefit Concert at The Music Hall on July 3

    The fundraiser supports the arts organization’s mission to present up-and-coming artists on their way to stardom, and will feature performances by five Emerging Artist Grant award-winners

    PORTSMOUTH – Two-time GRAMMY® Award winner Jason Mraz will headline The Music Hall’s second annual Emerging Artist Benefit Concert on July 3 at the Historic Theater. Winners of the inaugural Emerging Artist Grant Awards will provide support as the opening acts for the evening.

    Known for hits like “I’m Yours” and “I Won’t Give Up,” Mraz’s music reflects optimism and inspiration, making him the perfect artist for this signature fundraising event which supports The Music Hall’s ability to present artists early in their careers, and serves as a vital lifeline for our operations and the preservation of our beloved venues.

    In demonstration of their commitment to nurturing artists, The Music Hall launched a new initiative as part of the 2024 Emerging Artist Benefit Concert, inviting early career artists to apply for an Emerging Artists Grant. 31 artists applied in the inaugural round, and a committee comprised of Music Hall staff and volunteers identified five aspiring artists in need of support to catapult their performance career to the next level. All five recipients will receive a $2,500 cash award, the chance to perform on the evening of the Emerging Artist Benefit Concert, and mentoring and assistance from Music Hall staff to build industry connections and network.

    The five award winners include Two Emerging Artist Grand Prize Winners who will perform on the Historic Theater stage prior to Jason Mraz:
    Sam Robbins, often described as an "old soul singer-songwriter", is a Portsmouth-native who has gained a reputation as one of the brightest rising stars in the national folk music community.
    Dwayne Haggins, who has been called “the love child of Sam Cooke and Mississippi John Hurt” and the “The John Legend of rockabilly”, has a unique sound that is strangely familiar, naturally mysterious, and unmistakably his own.

    And three Emerging Artist Grant Winners who will perform at the pre-show festivities at The Lounge and on Chestnut Street:
    Skye Darling, a Boston-based professional violinist and singer-songwriter, focuses on simultaneous voice and instrument and thrives on improvisation and innovation.
    Harrison Goodell, born and raised in Dover, is a rising singer-songwriter inspired by artists including Paul Simon, Noah Kahan, and The Lumineers, known for his captivating storytelling and passionate delivery.
    Halley Neal, a Nashville-based, New England-bred Americana folk singer and songwriter whose live shows center on themes of positivity and peace.

    The Music Hall considers an emerging artist to be a performer with an established audience from their region and in some big cities through regional or national touring. These artists are still building their fan base in secondary and tertiary markets (like Portsmouth).

    Applicants were required to be actively performing contemporary music and have a connection to New England, in recognition of The Music Hall’s status as a Seacoast cultural anchor. Artists signed to a major label or a major booking agency were excluded from applying. Applications were judged based on the quality of the artist’s creative works submitted and the level of alignment with the vision of The Music Hall’s Emerging Artist Series. Artists are encouraged to use the funds awarded to secure live performance opportunities or recording/studio time, to produce music video content, or to develop marketing assets and/or strategies.

    The Music Hall Executive Director Tina Sawtelle is thrilled with this inaugural round of Emerging Artist Grant recipients, noting, “𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒊𝒔 𝒂 𝒉𝒖𝒈𝒆 𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒑 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑴𝒖𝒔𝒊𝒄 𝑯𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒊𝒏 𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒊𝒕𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒕𝒐 𝒏𝒖𝒓𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒆 𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒓𝒈𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒔; 𝒘𝒆 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒆𝒂𝒈𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒐 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒃𝒖𝒕𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒂𝒓𝒆𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒔𝒆 𝒊𝒏𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒅𝒊𝒃𝒍𝒚 𝒕𝒂𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒓𝒐𝒖𝒈𝒉 𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒔𝒉𝒊𝒑 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒏𝒐𝒘 𝒇𝒊𝒏𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒊𝒂𝒍 𝒔𝒖𝒑𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕. 𝑰 𝒂𝒎 𝒔𝒐 𝒆𝒙𝒄𝒊𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒔𝒆𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒇𝒖𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒆 𝒉𝒐𝒍𝒅𝒔 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒇𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒎!”

    To further amp up the electrifying atmosphere, the 2024 Emerging Artist Benefit Concert offers several new opportunities in addition to the grant program. Festivities will start on Chestnut Street with live music, photo ops, and a red-carpet vibe.

    A $500 ticket to the event includes a $250 tax-deductible donation and provides access to an exclusive Pre-Concert Extravaganza featuring entertainment from select winners of the Emerging Artist Grant Program, complimentary hors d’oeuvres, and cash bar. A limited number of $300 and $150 tickets are also available, both of which offer a 50% tax-deduction for their ticket purchase. Thanks to the generosity of this event’s sponsors, The Music Hall was able to provide nearly two dozen tickets for students from the Portsmouth Music & Arts Center.

    The Music Hall offers gratitude to the patrons and sponsors who have supported this thrilling endeavor to nurture and celebrate the next generation of superstars, all while ensuring the organization's mission thrives:

    • Presenting Sponsor: McKeon Charitable Giving
    • Event Sponsor: Karen & David Della Penta
    • Production Partner: Malloy Events
    • Angel Sponsors: Ben Auger; Jude Blake & Mike Bailey; Chinburg Properties; Stephen A. Gaykan; Becky Lorton & Glen Brown; Suzanne & Jay McFarland; Edward Mehigen; Tina Sawtelle & Mike Pilot
    • Student Ticket Underwriters: Rachael DiLorenzo; McKeon Charitable Giving; Trombone Shorty; The Marshall Tucker Band
    • Emerging Artist Grant Donors: Karen & David Della Penta

    For more information on the Music Hall visit www.TheMusicHall.org. Or follow on social media: Twitter: @MusicHall | Facebook: /musichall | Instagram: @musichallnh | YouTube: /musichallnh

    About The Music Hall

    The Music Hall is a nonprofit performing arts center featuring curated entertainment from around the world in two theaters on its downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire campus: The Historic Theater, a landmark 1878 Victorian theater, designated an American Treasure for the Arts by the National Park Service's Save America's Treasures Program; and the intimate Music Hall Lounge, named "best performing arts venue" by Yankee Magazine.
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