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Arizona artists and music legends come together to benefit Indigenous students

Maria Vassett

This Saturday marks the second annual installment of the Dream Concert. It’s a star-studded online performance benefitting the Native American Scholarship Fund at the Verde Valley School. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

In 1990, famed singer-songwriter Jackson Browne began the Scholarship Fund to provide tuition assistance and other support for Indigenous students at the Verde Valley School. He held live concerts in Sedona featuring Neil Young, Bonnie Raitt and many other legendary artists. Last year he rebooted the benefit as a virtual show, and this year’s installment features Browne himself along with Cyndi Lauper, Shawn Colvin, Taj Mahal and many others.

Several Arizona artists have also contributed including Sihasin, Calexico and singer-songwriter Nolan McKelvey, who performs his new song “Forward.”

"I’ve just always admired the concert and the whole fundraiser that they’ve done for this for so long. They really do a lot for support of Native Americans particularly in this region, and so I was just although I don’t have a personal connection to the school I admire what they’re doing," says McKelvey.

Jackson Browne told KNAU last year that he handpicks the artists for the Dream Concert because they inspire thought and contemplation. The show streams online Saturday at mandolin.com.

Ryan Heinsius was named interim news director and managing editor in January 2024. He joined KNAU's newsroom as an executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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