The Louis Armstrong House Museum’s year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of “What A Wonderful World” will culminate this month with the museum’s Annual Gala paying tribute to Louis Armstrong and those who continue his legacy.
This year’s event, which will be held on January 23rd at Capitale in Manhattan, will include a cocktail hour, silent auction, seated dinner, and the presentation of the Louie Award the 2017 honoree, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon.
Past recipients of the Louie Award include Quincy Jones, Dick Cavett, Dr. John, George Avakian, Jon Faddis and Robert F. Smith. Following the ceremony, Wycliffe Gordon & His International All Stars will close the evening with a special performance.
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.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the release of “What A Wonderful World,” the museum hosted an exhibit celebrating the iconic song, displaying rare artifacts including Armstrong’s part from the original arrangement, rare photos from the original 1967 recording date, albums, sheet music, news clippings, and even one of Louis’ trumpets.
Read the New York Times’ “New York Today: 50 ‘Wonderful’ Years.”
The anniversary of Louis’ most enduring song offered visitors a chance to reflect on what the ode to hope and love—written during the chaotic, violent late 1960s when the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War tore apart much of the country—still can teach us 50 years later.
The Gala will also feature 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.
This summer, the museum broke ground on its new 14,000-square-foot Louis Armstrong House Museum Education Center, located directly across from the original house in Corona, Queens. The $23 million facility, a gift from a variety of benefactors including the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Queens College, the Borough of Queens and the governor’s office, will house a state-of-the-art exhibition gallery, 68-seat jazz club, museum store and the Louis Armstrong Archives, currently housed at Queens College. Cogswell called the center “the next step towards creating a Louis Armstrong campus” that will preserve and celebrate the jazz star’s legacy. The facility is set to be completed in 2019.
The gala will help raise crucial funds for the museum during the construction of the education facility.
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.
For advance reservations, please contact Gala@LouisArmstrongHouse.org or call 718.478.8274.