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Inner City Youth Orchestra to honor Dr. Otis Williams


Founding member of The Temptations

By Stacy M. Brown | NNPA Newswire

The Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA) on July 9 will celebrate its 15th Annual Season Finale Concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, featuring a special tribute to The Temptations and Dr. Otis Williams, the only remaining member of the five original Temptations.

Dr. Williams, who still tours and performs with his group in the U.S. and abroad, will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from ICYOLA. Upon receiving the news, Dr. Williams commented, “It’s a great honor to be the recipient of the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles’ prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. I’m 81 and Los Angeles is now my home.

“To see young people from Los Angeles’ inner city, with that same excitement about making music that The Temptations had when we were their age, brings back great memories from the early days of our career.

“Music transformed my life, and I can only imagine all the wonderful possibilities that lay ahead for this world class orchestra. I was born in rural Texarkana, Texas and grew up in the inner city of Detroit. Berry Gordy and Motown gave The Temptations and many young artists from Detroit’s inner city a chance to make their dreams a reality.

“That opportunity launched our iconic career. Now 60+ years later, I still love singing on stage and making music. I can personally relate to the life-changing opportunities that Charles Dickerson and ICYOLA are giving the orchestra’s youth.

“I applaud him and the entire organization for their extraordinary work and sincerely thank them for their special tribute to The Temptations.

“I’m profoundly proud to receive this distinguished award and to be a part of ICYOLA’s historic family.”

Dr. Otis Clayborn Williams, founding member of the world-renowned, five-time Grammy Award-winning group, The Temptations, is a music legend. From award-winning singer, songwriter to critically acclaimed author, from television producer, and Broadway executive producer to executive producer of the group’s new album, Temptations 60.

Dr. Williams has been and still is the chief architect of The Temptations’ evolution throughout the 20th and 21st centuries and he continues to carry the torch forward for the next generation of Temptations’ fans.

Celebrating 60+ years at the forefront of The Temptations, he is a global superstar. Dr. Otis Williams received an honorary degree, Doctorate of Humane Letters, from Stillman College, a historically Black college and university in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 2006.

Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, based on Williams’ personal journey, won the 2019 Tony® Award for Best Choreography. Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations is currently touring across the U.S. this year and next. The electrifying Broadway musical also opened in the UK, in the West End of London at the Prince Edward Theater, on April 20.

The Temptations are ranked #1 in Billboard magazine’s most recent list of the “Greatest R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of All Time.

Charles Dickerson, (aka Chuck), is the founder, executive director, and conductor of the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. His professional career spans over 40 plus years of conducting performances throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. He also holds important compositional and arranging credits. His best-known work is “I Have A Dream,” a choral and orchestral setting of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s landmark speech which was performed for the unveiling ceremonies the King Memorial on the National Mall in Washington DC, and at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles as Los Angeles County’s official celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the speech. He has also arranged and conducted orchestral performances of the music of Duke Ellington, Stevie Wonder, Motown and others.

Through its Orchestra Program, ICYOLA presents an annual Season of 8 to 10 concerts that features both the standard orchestral repertoire and contemporary music that resounds within the community from which ICYOLA emanates and that it serves. The Concert Season concludes each year with a Season Finale at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

ICYOLA boasts approximately 125 members aged 10 and above. ICYOLA offers intense after-school and summer break programs to youngsters in the inner-city communities of Los Angeles where they offer lessons on how to play an instrument, the fundamentals of music theory, and a rigorous literacy enhancement program through which they increase student’s reading, comprehension, listening and speaking skills.