Roland Corporation U.S. Proudly Supports Light Up the Blues Concert

Mike Lawson • News • July 9, 2016

Autistic Singer-Songwriter Nikki Nik Performs

Autographed musical instruments were donated by Roland for silent auction in support of Autism Speaks event Light Up the Blues concert.

Hollywood’s famed Pantages Theatre was host to the fourth annual Light Up the Blues concert, as several rock legends and Hollywood celebrities came together to help raise awareness for autism. The sold-out event was emceed by Jack Black — who wore blue suede sneakers in honor of the cause — and attended by celebritiesincluding Christina Applegate, Andy Dick, Patricia Heaton, Matt Walsh, and many more. Attendees enjoyed musical performances by Neil Young, The Rides (featuring Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Barry Goldberg), Jakob Dylan, The War On Drugs, Nikka Costa, Chris Stills, and others.

CHAMPS Students Entertain the Attendees with Gear Donated by Roland

As part of its ongoing initiative to help raise awareness of autism, Roland Corporation U.S. donated a dozen musical instruments — ranging from pianos and keyboards, to percussion instruments, to guitar effects and amps — that were hand-signed by the performers, as well as a Rock n’ Roll Fantasy Camp package, tickets to future shows at The Pantages, and autographed Light Up the Blues posters, all of which were included in a silent auction to benefit Autism Speaks. Autism currently affects 1 in 68 children in the United States and millions more worldwide.

This year’s event was again hosted by Kristen and Stephen Stills, and featured a performance by the students from CHAMPS (Charter High School of the Arts Multimedia and Performing). This all-student band performed on instruments provided by Roland and BOSS, entertaining attendees in the lobby before the main Light Up the Blues event and during intermission. Also present were hands-on stations where all attendees were invited to have fun playing a selection of Roland and BOSS musical instruments, with the assistance of Roland staff.   

A highlight of the evening was a special set of performances by three artists with autism: Nikki Nik, Soulshocka, and Kyle Cousins. Matt Asner, director of corporate development for Autism Speaks, commented, “I hope our guests take away a realization of the incredible talent that exists in the autism world. The unbelievable intelligence and beauty of the people who are going to be performing tonight — the three artists on the spectrum — to me, that’s the most important part. The fact that they can get up there with these super stars of rock and blues, with all of the lights and the crowds, and be super stars as they are. It’s incredible. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Chris Halon, Roland Corporation U.S. vice president of marketing, commented, “It was touching to see so many great names in music and movies come together in support of such a great cause. We are extremely proud to be able to do our part to help raise awareness, and we look forward to working with Autism Speaks on many more worthy initiatives.”

The concert spotlights Light It Up Blue, Autism Speaks’ annual global awareness and fundraising campaign celebrated by the international Autism community during World Autism Awareness Day and throughout Autism Awareness Month each year. Proceeds from the concert go toward Autism Speaks’ research and advocacy efforts for families and individuals impacted by the disorder.

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