The Ella Nixon Drive for children and families

12/1/2016, 10:58 a.m.
The Ella Nixon Drive is an annual holiday toy, clothing and gift-giving event that not only works to secure a ...
Lil Phillips Contributed

The Ella Nixon Drive is an annual holiday toy, clothing and gift-giving event that not only works to secure a happy holiday for those in need but also serves to encourage and assist others in becoming charitable organizers so that they may reach their own gift-giving goals. Roz Nixon, founder of the drive, said, “Christmas was the most important time of the year for my mother. She was filled with holiday spirit and loved to decorate the house inside and out. She would buy us so many gifts and toys that sometimes we could not open them all on Christmas Day.”

Nixon has chosen jazz music to bring attention to her annual evening of giving with “Jazz for Joy.” She said, “We invite all to join us for an exciting night of fun and great music as we gather gifts that will be donated to homeless families and children in foster care, so that they may have a memorable Christmas Day. Our proceeds will be donated to The Children’s Village, Safe Horizon, Springfield Family Shelter and Harlem Dowling.”

This year, Nixon’s guests will sing and dance along to excerpts from the critically acclaimed play “SS NIRVANA,” a magical jazz musical that spotlights legendary blues and jazz artists. Wednesday Dec.7, 2016, she will spotlight the music of Dinah Washington, Nat King Cole and Bessie Smith. This year’s drive will feature the talented Lil Phillips, who will perform the music of Washington. Phillips, a well-seasoned jazz performer who is known here and abroad, has also been slated to play Dinah in the “Dinah Washington Story.” The music of Nat King Cole will be crooned by none other than Rob Fulton, who some audiences say “brings chills as he performs the most cherished tunes from the King Cole song book.”

Just back from encore performances in Russia, Antoinette Montague is sure to set the night on fire with her sassy, saucy portrayal of Bessie Smith. Nixon assured, “She is a show within a show that you don’t want to miss.”

Jazz for Joy will be held Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. “There is no cover, so please bring gifts or gift cards for boys and girls ages 12 to 19,” said Nixon, “to Harlem Besame Restaurant, 2070 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., Harlem, the exact same space where boxing great Sugar Ray Robinson’s corner bar and restaurant was born.”

For more information, call 646-373-3690.