FAME Staff

The Score Inaugural Edition!

A.-Toni-Lewis-1Welcome to the inaugural edition of our newsletter The Score, where we will share some of the ‘happenings at FAME’ on a quarterly basis.  In this edition, we are pleased to launch FAME’s new logo that strongly reflects our commitment to education and music success for our students.

As we celebrate our 14th Anniversary and begin our 15th year of service, the future of FAME – much like the futures of the young people we serve – is bright.

In fulfilling our mission and vision to deliver superior educational and artistic opportunities for middle and high school students, in the Greater Washington Region, we are bridging social and economic gaps to deliver a transformative message to more young people: We see your potential and we will help you achieve your dreams.

FAME does this by meeting the students’ determination and commitment with award-winning programming and learning-rich experiences that support their journey to high school graduation followed by college or professional training, and ultimately, a sustaining job and a rewarding career. We accomplish this through the FAME Jazz Band Program, in-school and afterschool programs, support to teachers, summer music enrichment programs, community outreach, and more.

To fully grasp and meet the needs of a community that is so rich in the arts and potential, FAME partners with:

• Educators

• Artists from every genre

• Universities

• Corporations

• Community leaders

• Government officials, and

• Parents

We are grateful to our program managers and instructors, our partners and sponsors, and every individual who has donated or given the gift of their time and presence.

When you read the stories of the FAME Jazz Band Program, you will see the difference we are making, together.

If you are already part of the FAME family, Thank You. We look forward to your continued support. If you are new to FAME, we invite you to get to know us through the stories of our students … and we hope you are moved to support us in whatever way you can.

Sincerely, A. Toni Lewis

Click Here to download the printed pdf!


Congratulations FAME Jazz Band Program High School Graduates!

ninaNia Harris Burnley, Piano

Nia has played piano since the age of three and the clarinet since the 4th grade. She has participated in advanced school bands and orchestras each year. To satisfy her interest in playing jazz, she participated in Bishop McNamara’s Jazz Summer Camp and attended the Washington Jazz Arts Institute during the summer of 2015. In November 2015 Nia auditioned for the inaugural FAME Jazz Band Program. She attended FAME’s weekly academic tutoring sessions conducted by Innovative Study Techniques, private saxophone lessons, sectionals and rehearsals, advanced music theory, and attended FAME’s Summer Music Technology Program. Nia participated in performances at the Berklee School of Music, Focused on the Future TV show, Lake Arbor Jazz Festival, and many more.

Nia recently graduated from Bishop McNamara High School with a 3.7 GPA and received numerous academic and musical awards including Summa Cum Laude, The Jazz Lab Directors Award, The Ellen Mercer Scholarship Award and The John Phillip Sousa Award. She was involved in the National Honors Society, English Honors Society, Fine Arts Diploma Program; and President of the Tri-M Music Honors Society and Student Council Cabinet. She was accepted into several colleges: St. John’s University, Hampton University, Duquesne University, Howard University, University of Baltimore County, Temple University, and University of Miami School of Music. This Fall Nia will major in business with a music minor at Howard University.

Nia attributes her interest in jazz to her grandfather, the late legendary jazz saxophonist Eddie Harris. She is grateful to her parents, Yvonne and Kenneth Burnley, and her grandmother, Sara Harris, who always encourage her musical and academic pursuits. Nia remarked that “participation in the FAME programs enabled me to achieve advanced academic and artistic goals”.

William PorterjrWilliam Porter Jr., Tenor Sax

William started playing the alto saxophone in the fourth grade and continued to play throughout the middle school where he participated in both school’s jazz bands and performed multiple solos and sang in the Gwynn Park Middle School’s After School Chorus. William auditioned to attend Benjamin Foulois Creative and Performing Arts and Suitland High School Performing Arts Schools. He participated in Suitland’s Advanced band and Jazz bands. He was accepted into the Prince George’s County Honor’s Band program several times and advanced to the Solo and Ensemble Competitions for saxophone duets. William has a strong desire to play the saxophone at a high level.

William is an inaugural member of FAME Jazz Band Program. Although he auditioned with FAME as an alto sax player, he started playing the tenor saxophone for FAME in the tenth grade to fill a void in the band.  Each year William’s playing has grown by leaps and bounds. Today he is a professional musician – commanding his instrument!   William says that “it was the participation in FAME’s many music programs that ignited my passion for jazz and helped me to pursue jazz instead of classical music”.  William has recently graduated from Suitland high school. During his time there he participated in multiple programs such as AP courses, IB courses, and the CVPA band program. He was accepted into Berklee College of Music and will be attending The New School in New York, NY.  William plans to receive a bachelor’s in jazz studies; then he plans to focus on writing, arranging, and performing music with his talented sister.


ABOUT FJBP: With the support and expertise from several national and local educators and musicians, and the Prince George’s County Government, the FAME JAZZ BAND PROGRAM was established in 2015 by A. Toni Lewis, Founder and Executive Director of FAME.  The Artistic Director is renowned music educator and performer, Dr. Clarence E. Knight, Jr.  The overall goal of the FAME JAZZ BAND PROGRAM is to provide year-round high caliber music and academic instruction to talented Prince George’s County Maryland middle and high school youth.  The students perform on major stages, serve as ambassadors for the State and County, receive academic and college prep tutoring during the school year; and participate in music theory, technology, and instrumental programs.  The Inaugural artistic director was Nat Adderley, Jr., international jazz pianist and former music director for Luther Vandross.

PEPCO recognizes Exelon volunteer, Moneka Cunningham, for her service to FAME

Moneka Cunningham (center), Pepco external affairs manager, is recognized for her work with the Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education at Exelon’s “Energy for the Community Volunteer” awards luncheon on May 23. Pictured are (from left) Exelon Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer William Von Hoene, FAME founder and Executive Director A. Toni Lewis, Cunningham, Pepco Region President Donna Cooper, Pepco Holdings Senior Vice President and COO Tyler Anthony. (Courtesy of Pepco/Exelon)

Moneka Cunningham (center), Pepco external affairs manager, is recognized for her work with the Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education at Exelon’s “Energy for the Community Volunteer” awards luncheon on May 23. Pictured are (from left) Exelon Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer William Von Hoene, FAME founder and Executive Director A. Toni Lewis, Cunningham, Pepco Region President Donna Cooper, Pepco Holdings Senior Vice President and COO Tyler Anthony. (Courtesy of Pepco/Exelon)

Moneka Cunningham was honored on May 23rd at the company’s “Energy for the Community Volunteer” awards luncheon, during which Exelon also announced a $10,000 charitable contribution that amplifies the work she does with the local nonprofit “Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education.”

“Our charitable contributions and volunteerism help improve the quality of life for our customers and local communities,” said Dave Velazquez, president, and CEO of Pepco Holdings. “This year’s award winners are shining examples of selflessness, kindness, and passion, and the work we do as a company to power a cleaner and brighter future for our customers and communities.”

Cunningham, an external affairs manager, has been volunteering with FAME since 2014. Every year, FAME opens the door to music education and opportunity to at-risk students.

Instrument Donation by Concert for Causes


Instrument Donation by Concert for Causes

A Special thanks to Bret Murray and his nonprofit organization, Concerts for Causes, for donating numerous musical instruments to FAME students.  The instruments will be used for the in-school programs and by FAME Jazz Band Program members. These donations will enable students to have instruments to take home to practice.

Recap Race for FAME 2018


The 3rd Annual RACE 4 FAME was hosted in National Harbor, MD, on Saturday, May 13, 2018, by United Parcel Service (UPS) management and employees in the DC Region, to provide academic tutoring, musical instruments, and summer programming for FAME youth.  Race 4 FAME is an informal, family-friendly and exciting “scavenger hunt” enjoyed by the entire family.  Participants are not required to run, 90% of attendees walk and are able to complete the designed course in one hour.  A celebration is held at the end of the event where winning teams receive awards and exciting prizes, including a night stay at the Gaylord Hotel, UPS bikes, VIP tickets for the Capitol Wheel, a gift card for Arena Stage and more.

Face For FAME2

This year’s partners included Prince George’s County Council Members: The Honorable Obie Patterson (District 8); Vice Chairman, The Honorable Todd Turner (District 4); & The Honorable Derrick Leon Davis (District 6). The 2016 & 2017 events were held in Old Town Alexandria, VA.  Race 4 FAME was created by the amazing UPS Manager, Wayne Ferguson. 


Recap Motown Revue 2018



For six years, The Motown Revue, has been produced jointly by The Honorable Obie Patterson (District 8) and FAME-Foundation for the Advancement of Music & Education at local arts venues to give youth an opportunity to perform with professional musicians, provide entertainment for senior citizens and the community, advocate for cultural arts education and live music programs in schools, and bring awareness of FAME. Additionally, the event provides opportunities for senior citizens to learn about available community resources and gives them an opportunity to network with each other and their government representatives.  The Master of Ceremonies was Harold Fisher from WHUR Radio; and entertainment was provided by The FAME Jazz Band, Keith “Showtime” Busey, Nu Era, Robert T, Anissa Hargrove, and Johnnie Steele & the Steele4Real Band.  Our co-sponsor this year was Oxon Hill High School and featured Chef Rolston Barthley.

FAME Selected by Venture Philanthropy Partners


FAME Selected by Venture Philanthropy Partners for New Strategic Initiative to Enhance Capacity of Youth-Serving Nonprofits in Prince George’s County

Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) selected FAME-Foundation for the Advancement of Music & Education, Inc. as one of four nonprofits in Prince George’s County to participate in VPP’s new Ready for Work Nonprofit Capacity Building Initiative. VPP is a philanthropic investment organization that builds strong nonprofits and strategic networks that measurably improve the lives of children and youth throughout the Greater Washington, DC area.  Ready for Work is a six-year, $15 million investment to help young people in Prince George’s County successfully transition to adulthood career and college ready. The Nonprofit Capacity Building initiative seeks to strengthen nonprofits to better serve youth across the County. The Prince George’s County Council believes in the power of nonprofits to serve the community and is generously contributing $250,000 in financial support for this initiative.

FAME was selected through a competitive process that sought to identify multi-service nonprofits that support a broad range of positive outcomes for children and youth. This includes a focus on providing high school students with the skills, tools and support that they need to succeed in high school and prepare for a post-secondary education and careers after graduation. A key goal of Ready for Work is to build networks of community-based organizations that can provide integrated supports for students. The Nonprofit Capacity Building Initiative will strengthen the capacity of these nonprofits to provide more students in the County with high-quality services. In addition to FAME, the following nonprofits were selected to participate in this initiative: First Generation College Bound, Joe’s Movement Emporium, End Time Harvest Ministries.

VPP selected Fair Chance, an experienced provider of nonprofit capacity building, to co-manage the initiative and to work with the nonprofits to improve organizational outcomes in Effective leadership, Strategic governance and stewardship, Organizational management practices, Program design, implementation and evaluation, Communications; and Collaboration.

Jazz Diplomacy Exhibit at the U S State Department

FAME youth jazz ambassadors, Langston Hughes II, Bryant Thomas II, Brandon Seaforth, William Porter & Julian Wilson, performed during a historical photo exhibit that is touring the world. It was recently on display here in Washington, DC, at the U.S. diplomacy center to commemorate the outstanding contributions of jazz musicians to U.S. diplomacy.  


The exhibit, on loan from Meridian Center, chronicles the international tours of legendary jazz musicians who were selected by the U.S. State Department to serve as roving cultural “ambassadors” from the 1950s through the 1970s. The photographs portray the journeys of music greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Dave Brubeck, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Benny Carter.  See the performance at https://youtu.be/2tEopyA7lPc. See FAME youth performances at www.FAMEmusic.org.

FAME 101


FAME is a harmony of music and education.  We prepare youth for college and career through a four-pronged approach:

Music Instruction – Middle and High school students receive college-level music instruction from college faculty and professional musicians to build the next generation of musicians and increase their confidence and enthusiasm for learning.

Educational Support – Students receive weekly instruction in STEM subjects, while also improving language skills. FAME’s music and educational components meet national standards and help students to excel in school and achieve advanced academic placement.

College Preparation – Students prepare for college education through academic tutoring, study skills development, SAT preparation, identifying college majors and requirements, and learning about the admissions and financial aid processes.

Work Readiness – Students develop technical skills for music industry-related occupations as well as soft skills such as organization, time management, goal setting, and networking necessary for employment in any industry.

FAME challenges students to set high expectations for their academic and life achievements by expanding students experiences to demonstrate that they are not defined by their current conditions or surroundings.

FAME at the U.S. Diplomacy Center


We are celebrating #JazzAppreciationMonth. Our panel discussion highlighted the history and impact of “Jazz Ambassadors” and other U.S. Department of State cultural diplomacy programs. The grand finale was an incredible jazz performance by talented high school musicians from FAME – Foundation for the Advancement of Music & Education, Inc. #DiscoverDiplomacy http://ow.ly/Wekd30jDuPC

American Music Abroad Exchange Programs – U.S. Department of State International Exchange AlumniMeridian International Center




Pepco Employee Honored for Volunteerism

Copy Cunningham Pepco_DSC0077


Contact: Tasha Jamerson                                                                     

Pepco, Communications

202-872-2680 (media hotline)



Pepco Employee Honored for Volunteerism

Exelon program recognizes employees and provides grants to nonprofit partners


Washington, D.C. (May 24, 2018) – Exelon honored Pepco employee, Moneka Cunnigham, for her community volunteer work on May 23rd at the company’s Energy for the Community Volunteer Awards Luncheon. During the event, Exelon also announced $10,000 in charitable contribution to the local nonprofit that Moneka supports in Maryland to amplify her hard work.


“Our charitable contributions and volunteerism help improve the quality of life for our customers and local communities,” said Dave Velazquez, president and CEO, Pepco Holdings. “This year’s award winners are shining examples of selflessness, kindness and passion, and the work we do as a company to power a cleaner and brighter future for our customers and communities.”


Moneka Cunningham, an external affairs manager, has been volunteering with the Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education (FAME) since 2014. Every year, FAME opens the door to music education and opportunity to more than 1,500 at-risk students. At any given time, Moneka can be found backstage encouraging the youth performers before they take the stage, at the front door greeting event attendees, or on the telephone thanking donors for their support. She is a maestro at fundraising, creating strategic alliances with businesses and corporate partners in the area, including Pepco. She helps set up fundraising events and secures venues for students to perform. Her work is very rewarding because it gives her the opportunity to help students achieve their dreams. She sees firsthand the growth in the students’ skills from song writing to performing and reading music.


This year, 24 employees across the Exelon family of companies were recognized for their efforts and their nonprofit partners each received grants from the company. An external selection committee, comprised of leaders from the nonprofit community, selected these dedicated individuals for their volunteer efforts from all the employees who submitted applications. Since 2007, the awards program has recognized more than 170 employees and provided more than $1.2 million to their nonprofit partners.


Through the Energy for the Community Program, hundreds of Pepco employees volunteer annually to support initiatives including arts and culture, community development, environmental sustainability, and education initiatives that align with the company’s purpose of powering a cleaner and brighter future for its customers and communities. 


In 2017, Pepco contributed more than $3.3 million to local nonprofits, while its employees volunteered nearly 7,000 hours to help hundreds of organizations throughout the District of Columbia and Maryland. Together, employees at Pepco and the Exelon family of companies volunteered more than 210,000 hours with a variety of nonprofit organizations in 2017.


Photo Caption: Moneka Cunningham, center, external affairs manager, was recognized for her work with the Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education (FAME). Pictured, from left, Exelon Sr. Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer William Von Hoene, FAME Founder and Executive Director A. Toni Lewis, Moneka Cunnigham, Pepco Region President Donna Cooper, Pepco Holdings Sr. Vice President & COO Tyler Anthony.


Find additional information about Pepco by visiting www.pepco.com. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pepcoconnect and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pepcoconnect. Our mobile app is available at www.pepco.com/mobileapp.





About Pepco: Pepco, a public utility owned by Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), provides safe and reliable energy to more than 842,000 electric delivery customers in Maryland and the District of Columbia.








Tasha Jamerson

Senior Communications Specialist

Media Relations

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