April 29, 2024 I Event

Guitar Center Music Foundation Hosts 3rd Annual Benefit Concert

Ernie Isley accepts his award during the April 4 event.

The Guitar Center Music Foundation (GCMF), Guitar Center’s nonprofit organization that advances the transformative power of music by granting instruments to music education and music therapy programs, held its third annual Benefit Gala and Concert on April 4 from 7–11 p.m. at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles.

This year’s event honored Ernie Isley, a member of The Isley Brothers, who have been inducted into both Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Guitar Center’s Rock Walk. A who’s-who of the Los Angeles-based music community showed up to take part in this event, pay tribute to music icon Ernie Isley and support GCMF.

Produced by Hammond Entertainment, the evening also featured red-carpet arrivals, cocktail hour, dinner, special live performance, and silent and live auctions. Before the award presentation, Isley was celebrated musically by a diverse lineup of artists, accompanied by a band led by the evening’s musical director, keyboardist, and arranger Greg Phillinganes. Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid delivered a spirited rendition of The Isley Brothers’ 1975 funk anthem “Fight the Power, Part 1,” with Phillinganes taking on vocal duties.

Later, Ray Parker Jr. garnered enthusiastic applause as he joined the band for a soulful rendition of the Isleys’ 1978 hit “Groove With You.” Toto co-founder Steve Lukather also performed the Isley Brothers’ 1974 cover of the Seals and Crofts classic “Summer Breeze.” Then, Melanie Faye took the stage with her contemporary guitar skills on the group’s 1977 slow jam “Footsteps in the Dark,” a song written by Ernie Isley, who also contributed guitar and drums to the original recording. Upon taking the stage, Ernie’s daughter Alex Isley, herself a GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter, affectionately referred to her father Ernie as “my favorite writer ever” before delivering a heartfelt rendition of another of his compositions, the timeless 1976 track “(At Your Best) You Are Love.”

“This event was a huge success, in terms of paying tribute to the living legend Ernie Isley and raising funds and awareness for The Guitar Center Music Foundation,” said David Helfant, chairman of the board at The Guitar Center Music Foundation. Ernie Isley and his brothers have left an immeasurable legacy in music history, and we were so proud to have honored him at this year’s Gala. This annual event has been building real momentum and visability for the goals of the Foundation, and we plan on next year’s celebration being bigger than ever.”

“Many thanks to everyone involved with the Guitar Center for creating such a memorable evening,” Isley said. “My sincere hopes and best wishes are with the future generations of musicians.”


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