Music Jazz Festival at Grace Lutheran


Alison Lewis photo

Grace Lutheran Church's April MidDay Music Jazz Concert will take place on Thursday, April 11 in the Church Sanctuary at 12:05 p.m.

Mahesh by Chuck Koton

Featured will be Alison Lewis and Mahesh Balasooriya. Singer Alison Lewis has appeared at venues ranging from Skirball Museum in Los Angeles to Lincoln Center in New York and has shared the stage with such notables as Michael Franti and Patti Austin. She has performed/toured as a soloist and ensemble member with classical choirs, world music a cappella groups, jazz ensembles, R&B acts, with gospel choirs at local and international high profile events. Her debut solo album, Seven, received national and international acclaim reaching the top 40 of both the CMJ and RMR charts and continues to receive airplay on Los Angeles' KJAZZ. Two of Alison's original songs earned finalist positions in the 2017 John Lennon Songwriting Contest and Hollywood Music in Media Awards. An active community organizer in the United States and abroad, Alison currently teaches music/voice to children with special needs and leads community singing workshops with vulnerable populations in Los Angeles' Skid Row through the Urban Voices Project.

Also performing will be Mahesh Balasooriya, a Sri Lanken-born and Grammy-nominated pianist, whose career began early. At age 16, he received first place in the Monterey Jazz Festival's Outstanding Rhythm Player Competition and in the Coltrane International Music Competition. By 18, he was playing at Disney Concert Hall in an orchestra behind Stevie Wonder with John Williams conducting. Mahesh attended USC's Thornton Music School on a full merit scholarship, where he studied both Classical and Jazz Piano. Since then, he has won numerous additional awards and accolades and has toured with a number of major artists including Natalie Cole, Al Jarreau and McCoy Tyner. He has performed with world-class symphonies and big bands and played at iconic venues including London's Royal Albert Concert Hall, Hollywood Bowl, and the White House. Mahesh is also a proud U.S. Veteran, having served in the United States Air Force immediately following 9/11. The program is free, donations support the Urban Voices Project, which brings the healing power of music to individuals marginalized by homelessness, mental health issues and unemployment. Through music education, musical workshops, and a performing ensemble, they share music and its healing power with many individuals and audiences inside and outside the neighborhood of Skid Row in Los Angeles. For more information, go to

At approximately 1:00 pm following the concert, attendees are invited to chat with the performers over refreshments in the adjoining Fireside Room. Admission to the event is free, but voluntary donations to the Urban Voices Project are welcome. Grace Lutheran Church is located at 4427 Overland Avenue, and the church office may be reached at (310) 559-1027.


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