Sunday, March 17, 2019 | 2 a.m.
On Thursday, award-winning classical musician Alexandria Le will sit at the keys of two pianos for a series of free performances — one in the back of a red pickup truck and the other at Mario Basner’s World Heritage Collection at Tivoli Village. She hopes to bring music to the streets of Las Vegas in an effort to raise money during Nevada’s Big Give, a 24-hour fundraising event for nonprofits across the state.
Le is participating on behalf of the organization she founded, Notes with a Purpose, which uses music as a catalyst for change in the community. It’s one of almost 250 groups participating in the eighth-annual Big Give event.
“Music is an equalizer,” Le said. “People experience music, no matter what socioeconomic status they’re in. It affects them in some way.”
Big Give was started by Stacey Wedding seven years ago to bridge the gap between Nevadans and their local charities. Donors visit the Big Give website, select the organization of their choice — some include SafeNest, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, EyeCare 4 Kids, Paws 4 R Heroes and the Neon Museum — and donate electronically from now until Thursday.
Ninety-five to 100 percent of donations go directly to the nonprofits, which are also eligible for additional financial prizes on the day of the event.
To help Big Give expand, United Way of Southern Nevada partnered with Wedding three years ago and is now responsible for a portion of the operation. The event has raised more than $4 million for nearly 500 groups and schools since it started.
“It’s the small nonprofits that really need help and fundraising,” said Laurie Mann, the vice president of marketing for United Way of Southern Nevada. “For United Way, that’s what we’re trying to do ... support all of our local nonprofits through this one day.”
This year, donors can interact with select nonprofits from 11 a.m. to noon at The Green at Town Square. The Golden Knights mascot, Chance, will also make an appearance. For many of the small groups, Big Give is their main fundraising event of the year, Mann said.
“What we're trying to do is really get support for all of our local nonprofits through this one day,” Mann said. "As we build up our nonprofits, we build up support that people [in the community] receive."
In Le’s case, she hopes her piano performance can help raise about $10,000 for Notes With a Purpose’s three programs — Music Juicebox, Mission: Music Life, and Lullaby Project. All of the programs aim to bring classical music to those who can’t experience it for socioeconomic reasons. For example, Music Juicebox brings teaching artists to local schools to perform and interact with children. This past year’s artists were part of the group Decoda, which performed at Carnegie Hall in New York.
"I like to think of [Notes With a Purpose] as the arts’ greatest ambassador,” Le said. “We want to create unique and custom programs that appeal to people who are experiencing [classical music] in this way for the first time, helping them have an experience that will stay with them."
As far as Le’s own pickup truck piano playing, the location of this performance has not yet been determined but will be released at noteswithapurpose.org. It will also be showcased using Facebook live on the nonprofit’s page.
Her performances at Mario Basner’s World Heritage Collection will be at noon, 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and include musical guests from UNLV, Las Vegas Academy of the Arts and Nevada School of the Arts.
To learn more or donate to Nevada’s Big Give, visit nvbiggive.org