The Louis Armstrong House Museum’s year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of “What A Wonderful World” culminated this January with the museum’s Annual Gala paying tribute to Louis Armstrong and those who continue his legacy. The event, which was held on January 23, 2018 at Capitale in Manhattan, included the presentation of Louie Awards to celebrated trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and to the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation. Past recipients of the Louie Award include Quincy Jones, Dick Cavett, Dr. John, George Avakian, Jon Faddis and Robert F. Smith.
The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation is dedicated to perpetuating the legacies of Louis and Lucille Armstrong throughout the world. Their generosity, donating Louie’s and Lucille’s Corona home to the city of New York and Armstrong’s archives to CUNY Queens College, made it possible for the creation of the Louis Armstrong House Museum. The LAEF is a long-time donor and supporter of the LAHM, and their vision, generosity and dedication to preserving Louis Armstrong’s legacy will be honored in a special ceremony.
The cocktail hour before the gala dinner featured a silent auction of Armstrong-themed items and gramophone music of recordings by Louis Armstrong and contemporaries by Phonograph DJ MAC. Louie Award recipient Wycliffe Gordon opened the dinner with a stunning, specially arranged cover of What a Wonderful World with 60 young NYC musicians from the InterSchool Orchestras Wind Symphony conducted by guest conductor and arranger Earl MacIntyre.
The evening featured a special tribute to Executive Director, Michael Cogswell for his vision and long service to the Louis Armstrong House Museum. Cogswell, a busy saxophonist with degrees in Jazz History and Library Science, was hired as Archivist in 1991. His first task was to preserve and catalog the 72 boxes of personal memorabilia that arrived at Queens College’s Rosenthal Library after the death of Armstrong’s widow, Lucille. After opening the Louis Armstrong Archives in 1994, Cogswell became Executive Director of the Louis Armstrong House in 1995, helping open the legendary jazzman’s home to the public in 2003, after a $5 million restoration process. Cogswell announced his retirement in late November due to health issues.
The Gala raised nearly $225,000 for the museum’s ongoing community and education programming and in support of the strategic expansion plan that involves the construction of a Louis Armstrong Education Center currently underway on the Corona campus.
Major funding for Louis Armstrong House Museum is provided by the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Queens College/CUNY; Fund II Foundation; the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS); the New York State Council on the Arts; the New York State Education Department; the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; Con Edison; Bank of America; New York Community Trust; the Rudin Family Foundation; the Estates of Jane and Leslie Katz; the Estate of Peter John Willcocks; and members and donors from all over the world. Support is also provided by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; U.S. Congressman Joseph Crowley; NYC Council Member Julissa Ferreras- Copeland; NY State Senator José Peralta; NY State Assemblymember Jeffrion L. Aubry, and NY State Assemblymember Francisco Moya. The Louis Armstrong House Museum is a constituent of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College.
From all of us at LAHM, thank you!