The Music Center Receives $2.5 Million Endowment Gift From Prominent Business Leader And Cultural Supporter Fredric Roberts To Endow The Director Position For Its Spotlight Performing Arts Competition, Scholarship And Artistic Development Program For Southern California Teens
LOS ANGELES (September 22, 2021)—The Music Center, Los Angeles County’s performing arts center, announced that Fredric Roberts, an emeritus member of its board of directors and founding chairman of The Music Center’s Spotlight, made a $2.5 million dollar gift to endow the position of The Music Center’s Spotlight director. This is the first time a Music Center position has been endowed. The gift was made to honor the 20-year commitment to Spotlight by its director, Jeri Gaile, who runs the nationally recognized competition and scholarship program for Southern California high school students, and to help ensure the sustainability of the program. The position will now be known as the Fredric Roberts Director of The Music Center’s Spotlight program.
Presented by TMC Arts, The Music Center’s Spotlight provides more than 1,500 students each year with opportunities for performing arts scholarships and artistic development through expert advice, coaching, auditions and mastery classes taught by professional artists and arts administrators. Spotlight recognizes and rewards all participants throughout the competition with a range of benefits such as individual feedback from industry professionals, opportunities to perform and more than $100,000 in cash awards through three rounds of auditions.
“Fred has been a longtime patron of The Music Center and was the driving force behind the creation of The Music Center’s Spotlight competition nearly 34 years ago. Since then, his vision of and support for aspiring young artists, no matter their level of expertise or financial background, has been the backbone of the program,” said Rachel S. Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center. “We’re grateful for his very generous gift and thrilled that the first endowed position at The Music Center will fittingly bear his name. His ongoing commitment to Spotlight is inspirational and steadfast, and the impact of his continued generosity will benefit thousands of talented teens in Southern California in the years to come.”
“We marvel over the talent of the Spotlight finalists and the semi-finalists, but equally important is that everyone—every single applicant who shows up on day one—comes away changed in a positive way with more self-confidence, feeling more powerful and believing they can succeed in whatever they do,” remarked Fredric Roberts. “This is the essence of The Music Center’s Spotlight and the proof of Jeri Gaile’s deep understanding and commitment to this principle. Jeri has become a confidante, coach and role model to these students, all of whom are nurtured and comforted, guided and encouraged with her experience, enthusiasm and kindness. This endowment celebrates her 20th anniversary with The Music Center and helps support this worthwhile endeavor for the next generation of young artists.”
“I want to thank Fred for this great honor and for the opportunity to have collaborated with him so closely all these years with our shared goal of giving kids the chance to focus on their career in the arts, on stage and off,” Jeri Gaile, Fredric Roberts Director of The Music Center’s Spotlight program. “Through The Music Center’s Spotlight, young artists can pursue their interest in the arts at no cost and, at the same time, learn life skills like discipline, focus, practice and collaboration that are equally as important should they become doctors, lawyers and teachers. Sustaining Spotlight is especially important as some schools continue to reduce their arts education programs. We’re very grateful for Fred’s dedication and incredible support.”
The Music Center’s Spotlight is a nationally acclaimed performing arts competition for teens from Santa Barbara to San Diego. The program is completely free with no financial barriers to participate, which gives equal footing to kids looking to make their dreams come true. The performing arts scholarships and artistic development associated with the program provide teens with the type of support and performance experiences that allow them to develop their talents and determine their path. Through a constant learning environment, students get coaching before, during and after their auditions and receive in-depth verbal and written feedback on their performances, outlining their strengths and areas to improve upon. Nearly 51,000 students have participated over the past 33 years in The Music Center’s Spotlight, including notable alumni such as Misty Copeland, Josh Groban, Adam Lambert and Lindsay Mendez, among many others. Awarding more than $2.5 million in scholarships to aspiring artists since the program’s founding, The Music Center’s Spotlight provides $100,000 in cash awards annually to Grand Prize Finalists, Semifinalists, Honorable Mentions and Merit awardees. The competition’s 14 finalists each receive a $5,000 cash scholarship and the opportunity to perform in The Music Center’s Spotlight Grand Finale, which takes place in summer.
Situated on the ancestral and sacred land of the Tongva and many other indigenous groups who call these grounds home, The Music Center acknowledges and honors with gratitude the land itself and the First People who have been its steward throughout the generations.
Fredric Roberts, an award-winning photographer, had a 30-year career in the finance industry, including the creation of F.M. Roberts & Company, a Los Angeles-based investment banking company. In 2012, he created, and has directed The Fredric Roberts Photography Workshops, which teaches photography to, and empowers, high school students in developing countries around the world. In 1993, he served as chairman of the board of governors of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), which then owned and operated the Nasdaq Stock Market. Roberts later served as a member of the Nasdaq Board of Directors and its executive committee, chairman of the NASD’s Corporate Financing and Strategic Planning Committees, the Nasdaq Marketing Committee, and the National Nominating, Rate Formulation and Listing Qualifications committees. Recently, he was a director, and former
chairman of the board, of Cost Plus, Inc., a leading specialty retailer of casual home furnishings and entertaining products. He is also chairman emeritus of The Music Center’s Leadership Council and founding chairman of its Spotlight performing arts competition and scholarship program. Roberts is a graduate of Yale University and The Hill School and is an active member of the business and cultural communities in Los Angeles.
A native of Los Angeles, Jeri Gaile has worked in the arts for 40 years and has been the director of The Music Center's Spotlight program for the past 20 years. She began dancing professionally following graduation from the School of American Ballet under the direction of George Balanchine. She was a principal dancer with the Los Angeles Ballet and has performed with the San Francisco Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet. Gaile worked as an actress, dancer and singer on stage, films, television and commercials. She starred as “Rose McKay” on the hit TV series Dallas and made numerous guest star appearances in episodic television. Since 1995, she has produced a variety of arts events including The Music Center's Spotlight at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Dorothy B. Chandler Children's Festival and invitational dress rehearsals for students at The Music Center. Gaile has co-produced master classes for Performing Arts L.A., and has served as a pre and post-performance moderator for Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center. She has also been a guest lecturer for Screen Actors Guild’s Dancers in Transition, American Ballet Theatre summer sessions as well as numerous high schools and art studios throughout Southern California. She serves on the advisory boards of the Festival of New American Musicals and the August Wilson Monologue Competition for Center Theatre Group. In addition to her work in the arts, Gaile has also served on the board of Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services as well as its Home- SAFE/Early Head Start programs.
About The Music Center
The Music Center convenes artists, communities and ideas with the goal of deepening the cultural lives of every resident in Los Angeles County. The $70 million non-profit performing arts organization has two divisions: TMC Arts and TMC Ops. TMC Arts, The Music Center’s programming engine, provides year- round programming inside The Music Center’s four theatres, on Jerry Moss Plaza, outside at Grand Park—a 12-acre adjacent green space—in schools and other locations all over Los Angeles County and on a digital platform called The Music Center Offstage. TMC Arts presents world-class dance with Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, free and low-cost public concerts and events, as well as live and digital K–12 arts education programs, workshops, performances, interactive experiences and special events. TMC Ops manages the theatres, the Plaza and Grand Park, which comprise $2 billion in county assets, on behalf of the County of Los Angeles. The Music Center is also home to four renowned resident companies—Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles Master Chorale, LA Opera and LA Phil. For more information, visit musiccenter.org. Follow The Music Center on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @MusicCenterLA.