Hometown Favorite and SPARC Alum JASON MRAZ Performs Benefit Concert as Grand Finale of SPARC's 30th Anniversary
THANK YOU to Jason, Toca, their entire team, and all the fans and supporters who joined us for this magical night on Dec. 19, 2011!

Media Articles
Richmond Times-Dispatch - 12/15/2011
Style Weekly - 12/13/2011
Hanover Herald-Progress - 1/5/2012

Photo Highlights
Highlights from Photographer Adrienne Winkelmann

Video Highlights
SPARC students performing LIVE with Jason Mraz and Toca Rivera:

Original Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASESPARC Alum Jason Mraz and Toca Rivera

Ryan Ripperton, Executive Director
804-353-3393 ext. 225

Candace Mraz-Nelson, Director of Development
804-353-3393 ext. 224

Multi-Grammy winner and Mechanicsville native Jason Mraz will perform a benefit concert for SPARC, the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community. The intimate acoustic concert will be held Monday night, December 19, at 8:00 p.m. in the Carpenter Theatre at Richmond CenterStage.

The special performance will feature Mraz, a SPARC alumnus, with percussionist and longtime friend Noel "Toca" Rivera. Mraz has been touring the world in 2011 performing similar concerts with Rivera in iconic venues across North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. More than just a concert tour, Mraz' worldwide journey has seen him celebrating music's lasting power to inspire change and help others through global citizenship.

Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday, November 11, at 10 a.m. EST. Prices range from $35 to $150, and some ticket packages include a meet-and-greet reception with Mraz. All proceeds from the concert will benefit SPARC, a 501(c)(3) public charity celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2011.

"I took SPARC when I was really small," cites Mraz, "and credit them for kick-starting my imagination. I also credit SPARC for giving me my first big break; the lead role in Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat which we performed at beautiful Dogwood Dell. I was 15 and after the experience that summer I knew I would have a career in entertainment. I'm so happy about this homecoming to celebrate and acknowledge their 30 extraordinary years."

Hailed as one of the modern era's most gifted pop troubadours, Mraz has shared stages with percussionist Noel "Toca" Rivera for more than a decade. The two musicians first met back in 2000, when Mraz was just making his mark on the San Diego coffee house scene. Mraz's guitar and vocals match beautifully with Rivera's intuitive djembe playing and the two maintain a long friendship and collaborative relationship, recording and touring together to this day.

"Each time we play, Toca does something a little different on his drum," Mraz says, "and he's very committed to the harmonies. Like me, he lives in the moment which makes each performance stand-out from the rest. He's like every member of the Commodores & The Oak Ridge Boys all rolled up into one prized wind-up teddy bear designed to beat a drum."

Mraz has taken his musical journey from coffee houses to stadiums globally and now has two Grammy Awards and six Grammy nominations to his credit. His latest album, "WE SING. WE DANCE. WE STEAL THINGS." proved a global blockbuster, earning platinum and multi-platinum certifications in 17 countries around the world. One of the hit singles on the album, "I'm Yours" was ASCAP's 2010 "Song of the Year" and also holds the record for being the longest-running song in the history of the Billboard "Hot 100" chart. A world-renowned humanitarian, Jason founded Jason Mraz Foundation, which will focus on areas of human trafficking and equality, arts and education, environment preservation, and recovery and assistance.


SPARC is one of the nation's most comprehensive, community-based performing arts training organizations, providing valuable life skills to children through high-quality programs. Since 1981, its supporters have enabled SPARC to nurture the character and talents of hundreds of young people each year in more than 30 locations.

As of 2011, SPARC has served more than 10,000 children. It offers a variety of programs to children ages 5 18 in kindergarten through 12th grade. These include classes and camps at the SPARC Center; at regional satellite locations; and in schools, churches and neighborhood centers. Course offerings encompass music, dance, acting and theatre production for beginners to advanced students.

The SPARC Center, purchased in 2008 as SPARC's first permanent home, encompasses studio and classroom space, a 100-seat theatre and administrative offices. It engages more than 30 faculty each year, all of whom are professional teaching artists.

Currently SPARC is conducting a $4.5 million comprehensive campaign to improve facilities, expand programs, conduct more outreach at schools, and provide scholarship assistance to ensure that all children have access to its programs.

This concert is the finale of SPARC's yearlong 30th Anniversary Celebration, which has included a 30th Anniversary Gala at CenterStage in June, growing enrollment and outreach programs, and the dedication of the Sara Belle November Educational Theater at the SPARC Center.

For information on any of SPARC's programs or activities, visit www.sparconline.org or call 804-353-3393.