Amber Weekes (Courtesy photo)

Amber Weekes, an LA-based jazz vocalist and proud alumna of Mount Saint Mary’s University, will headline performances at “Women in Jazz” at the Moss Theater in Santa Monica on Friday, March 1, at 7 p.m.

This special event, presented by New Roads School, the Santa Monica Youth Orchestra and the University, is set to raise $15,000 in scholarships for Mount Saint Mary’s Equity, Diversity and Justice Leadership Scholars program that trains students to be ambassadors for antiracist learning and teaching.

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“Our vision at Mount Saint Mary’s is to become an antiracist university,” says Krishauna Hines-Gaither, PhD, vice president of equity, diversity and justice.

“We have created an antiracism committee, with representation from every division at the University. We are diversifying our faculty and staff, attracting more diverse students, and looking at our curriculum, policies and practices to increase our services to underserved populations.”

Concert proceeds will provide ten new $1,500-scholarships to the University’s program which launched last fall.

“We look for students who have an interest in and appreciation of equity, diversity and justice to help us send the message – and want to grow,” Hines-Gaither says.

Julius Carlson, PhD, associate professor of music at Mount Saint Mary’s and co-founder of the Santa Monica Youth Orchestra, a tuition-free music program that provides students with musical instruments and experiences, has been producing concerts with the Orchestra and New Roads School for two years, including the upcoming Women in Jazz concert.

“The Women in Jazz concert will provide a platform for the cultural expression of West Coast Jazz,” says Carlson, who is thrilled to help provide a venue for the concert to help raise scholarship funds.

“It’s fantastic that we are supporting young people to feel empowered and help make positive change,” he says.

“I want to see the audience filled with people who believe in social justice. Music is the magnet that attracts people, even though they are coming from different places.”

Weekes has released four albums. (Courtesy photo)

Weekes, who has performed all around the world and produced four jazz albums, will lead an evening of jazz performances, accompanied by award-winning trumpeter Tatiana Tate and saxophonist Keshia Potter, who has toured with Beyoncé, Robin Thicke and Jennifer Hudson.

A 1984 graduate of the Mount, Weekes credits the ever-musical environment of her childhood home where she was encouraged to sing on the coffee table, as well as her years as a student at Mount Saint Mary’s for giving her the leadership skills to build a successful life and career in both public service and her beloved jazz.

“Going to an all-women’s university gave me a different perspective. Everyone in charge was a woman and that provided a role modeling. And when I toured and drove around the campus with my mother, I suddenly felt that I had found a home where I knew I belonged,” says Weekes.

“Somehow, I knew that was the place I was supposed to be. I knew when I left that day that I was going to be empowered to do whatever I wanted to do with my life, wherever I belonged on the planet.”

Looking back 40 years later, Weekes believes her educational experiences there contributed greatly to the person she has become.

“I became multifaceted like a diamond,” she says. “I did give a significant amount of my public service career to giving a voice to those who didn’t have one, but my heart has always been in the music. I did not have to sacrifice one career for another.”

Tickets are $50 for general admission and $100 for VIP seats,and may be purchased at