Today, education non-profit Mighty Writers continue their weekly series with jazz pianist Marcus Roberts. This marks the second installment of a new benefit video series called Mighty SONG Writers to raise money for the Philadelphia-based literacy program, put together in partnership with media outlet Literary Hub. Last week, Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell debuted the show.
Each week, noteworthy musicians of various genres will play songs and also answer questions about literature — making for a unique video format. The Mighty SONG Writers series will continue with a new video every Wednesday, aiming to raise money to support Mighty Writers, whose mission is to teach low-income and minority kids to think clearly and write with clarity. The organization offers free programs for students from elementary through high school at nine centers in diverse neighborhoods around Philadelphia and New Jersey, including several bilingual locations for Spanish-speaking students.
Marcus Roberts is a Grammy nominated jazz pianist, bandleader, arranger, and composer. He has recorded over 20 albums as a solo artist and bandleader, has been profiled by CBS’ 60 Minutes, and holds an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Juilliard school. Blind since the age of five, Roberts is also a recipient of the Helen Keller Award for Personal Achievement. He has written over 150 original compositions, including commissioned works for Chamber Music America, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Seiji Ozawa‘s Saito Kinen Orchestra.
Watch Mighty SONG Writers’ second video, in which Marcus Roberts plays several pieces and talks about how, when he was a child, his mother made sure that his blindness wouldn’t prevent him from learning to read and write.