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(Columbia, SC) – The Auntie Karen Foundation will celebrate its 20th Anniversary with a MASKquerade themed event on Friday, September 10, 2021, at the Koger Center for the Arts. The Legends of…2021 Concert will feature Vanessa Williams with The Colour of Music Orchestra Black Classical Musicians Festival in partnership with the UofSC School of Music.

Get ready for an elegant evening by being creative with your mask attire!

Biography – Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Williams is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in the entertainment industry today.

Having sold millions of records worldwide, Vanessa has also achieved numerous #1 and Top 10 hits on various Billboard Album and Singles charts: Pop, Dance, R&B, Adult Contemporary, Holiday, Latin, Gospel, and Jazz.

Her critically acclaimed work in film, television, recordings, and the Broadway stage has been recognized by every major industry award affiliate including 4 Emmy nominations, 11 Grammy nominations, a Tony nomination, 3 SAG award nominations, 7 NAACP Image Awards, and 3 Satellite Awards. Her platinum single “Colors of the Wind,” from Disney’s Pocahontas, won the Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe for Best Original Song.

A graduate of Syracuse University, Vanessa is a strong advocate for equal rights, especially concerning the LGBTQ+ community and minorities. She was honored with the Human Rights Campaign “Ally for Equality” Award for her humanitarian contributions. Vanessa also achieved a career pinnacle with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.

Vanessa’s autobiography, “You Have No Idea,” co-written with her mother Helen Williams, was a New York Times Best Seller in 2012. Her recent Broadway credits include co-starring with Cicely Tyson in The Trip to Bountiful, (the #1 play of the 2013 season), After Midnight (2014), and a special limited engagement in Hey, Look Me Over at New York City Center in 2018. Vanessa was recently in previews for Josie Rourke’s City of Angels in London’s West End, when production was suddenly forced to pause due to COVID 19.

Vanessa is the mother of four – Melanie, Jillian, Devin, and Sasha. Her charitable endeavors are many and varied, embracing and supporting such organizations as Concerts for America, Special Olympics, and several others, as well as the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation.

Vanessa is one of the world’s most accomplished concert artists, appearing regularly with the most prestigious symphony orchestras in the world, most recently with the National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center.

Biography – The Colour of Music

Since 2013 the Colour of Music Festival has brought international, national, and regional classically trained black musicians to fill the streets and halls of Charleston with musical sounds that have been a part of the world stage for more than 300 years. Its goal is to give the public an opportunity to experience the talent of prodigiously gifted classical principals, composers, and performers of African descent the opportunity to share their musical talents, knowledge, and inspiration.

Few classical music enthusiasts are aware of the tremendous contributions of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, an African-French composer, and contemporary of Mozart, whose opera and classical masterpieces equaled or far exceeded those of his 18th-century contemporaries. Though highly recognized overseas, his contributions have gathered little notice in the U.S. Today, thousands of tremendously talented black classical principals, composers, and performers have few opportunities to grace concert stages of major American orchestras.

Featuring acclaimed black chamber ensemble players and artists, to form the Colour of Music Festival Orchestra in a five-day festival showcases artists from across the globe trained at some of the most prestigious music schools, conservatories, and universities in the world. Programs include organ, piano, vocal, chamber, orchestral performances, as well as an educational symposium series. With rave reviews from major publications, Symphony Magazine, NPR’s Performance Today, with Fred Child, Essence Magazine, and a CBS Evening News story, the Colour of Music Festival draws artists and patrons from around the globe.

The Auntie Karen Foundation created the Legends of…series to pay tribute to the contributions African American music has made to history and is returning after a one-year hiatus. Each year during Black History Month, the series profiles a jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel or blues artist who has made significant contributions to the history of music.

The Auntie Karen Foundation is a global, non-profit 501(c)3 charitable corporation in the state of South Carolina. The foundation’s mission is to create and implement a series of reproducible community outreach programs designed to empower, enlighten and educate through the arts. These programs include: Artpreneur/Technopreneur classes, an annual Young Entrepreneur Conference, and Hugs from Carolina, a partnership with City Lights featuring Auntie Karen’s International Character, Olivia the Octopus.

The Legends of…Concert series serves as the signature fundraiser for the Auntie Karen Foundation, which strives to keep the legacy of African-American music alive. For the third year, the series will feature an International Grammy-winning artist. The inaugural concert In 2004 featured Roberta Flack followed by Dianne Reeves in 2005, Al Jarreau (2006), Patti Austin (2007), Joe Sample & Take 6 (2008), George Duke & Rachelle Ferrell (2009), Ashford & Simpson (2010), Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds (2011), Ramsey Lewis (2012), Patti Austin (2012) Gladys Knight (2013), “A Tribute To George Duke” featuring Kirk Whalum, Lalah Hathaway and Jonathan Butler (2014), Chaka Khan (2015), Al Jarreau (2016) and Sheila E. with Morris Day, The Isley Brothers (2019) and Peabo Bryson and Stephanie Mills (2020).

Tickets prices range from $57 to $125 [ticket prices include $2 Koger Center Restoration Fee]. Special pricing is available at the box office for AARP members and Students with a valid student ID. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at or by calling (803) 251-2222. Premium tickets can be purchased online at Online credit card payments on the AKF website incur a processing fee (2.9% + $0.30 USD). All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

To learn more about the Auntie Karen Foundation and for Sponsorship opportunities and tickets, visit


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