Original Air Date: December 5, 2011
Tona Brown is the first African-American Transgender violinist and vocalist to sing for a seated President of the United States of America. In June 2011, she was invited to perform the National Anthem for President Barack Obama in New York City during the opening ceremony of the LGBT Leadership Conference and Gala Fundraiser. As a professional musician and vocalist, her career spans across North America and Europe.
Ms. Brown sits on the National Advisory Board of OUTMUSIC – The LGBT Academy of Recording Arts (The LARA). She donated her time to the Academy to program and conduct the very first classical performance for the 7th Annual OUTMUSIC Awards with her 11 piece AIDA String Ensemble playing Vivaldi’s ‘Summer’. Tona is a founding member of the Aida String Ensemble and performs frequently as the principal violinist of the Radiance String ensemble.
Kevin Jones is a professional cellist who lives in Northern Virginia. Alongside violinist Tona Brown, he is a founding member of Aida Strings Ensemble and has performed with Tona for the last six years at venues on the East Coast. Kevin also performed at the OUTMUSIC awards in NY. A graduate of Old Dominion University, Kevin began his studies with Carter Melin, and, in addition to twice winning the University Concerto competition, was awarded the chair of principal cello in the Symphony Orchestra. An alumnus of and soloist with the Hampton Roads Chamber Players he has been playing chamber music since the beginning of his cello studies. He has also appeared as a substitute cellist with the Virginia Symphony.