Two new members were elected to the BeaconArts board this year. Meet them here!
Born and raised in The Bronx, New York Damon Banks has been a “world musician” in the truest sense of the word. His years as an in-demand bassist and composer, and has allowed him to work with some of the music industry’s most creative artists, innovative musicians and brightest stars. Some of these artists include: George Benson, Peter Gabriel, Angelique Kidjo, Chico Hamilton, Hassan Hakmoun, Arto Lindsay, Marc Ribot, Loose Ends,The Neville Brothers, Andre de Shields, Bobby Womack, Ronny Jordan, C.J. Chenier, Saul Williams, KRS-ONE and Brooklyn Raga Massive among others
Now a Beacon resident, Damon is also an international teaching artist / producer, who has led workshops and facilitated grant-supported teaching initiatives for: The El Sistema Organization, Bard College, Interlochen School of the Arts, Cal Arts, Wesleyan University, St. Ann’s School and Medger Evers College. He just completed 12 years teaching High School music at Poughkeepsie Day School.
Donna Mikkelsen is an ambidextrous artist living in Beacon, New York. She has been developing her method of symmetry drawing as an artistic daily practice and a teaching tool for more than 25 years.
After a decade of directing an arts integrated non-public school in the Hudson Valley that she founded, Mikkelsen shifted her focus to her art and developed a daily practice of symmetry drawing known as “Spontaneous Symmetry” in 2012. Although it is a very personal and intuitive process, Mikkelsen believes she discovered a tool that can be applied by anyone.
Jeremy is a celebrated singer/songwriter, composer/lyricist, and producer.
Iron & Coal, Jeremy’s Amadeus Award-nominated, deeply personal concept album turned large-scale multimedia concert event celebrated its long-awaited New York premiere at the prestigious Prototype Festival in January of 2020. Recorded in Vienna in 2011, Iron & Coal explores the emotional landscape of a father who survived the holocaust and the son who grew up under the long shadows of Auschwitz. The world premiere (produced by BMP, Beth Morrison Projects) at the Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland, featured 230 musicians, including 3 choirs, youth and adult orchestras, an older and younger father, and Jeremy (as himself) alongside a host of incredibly talented artists behind the scenes. Jeremy’s earlier concert-theatrical piece Drift, was also recently revived in concert events both in London and in Lancaster PA. Additional recent shows featuring music and lyrics by Jeremy include Spun, Calling All Kates, and Greta.
Jeremy signed a record deal with Deko Entertainment in Fall of 2020, releasing his latest album Brooklyn to Beacon, (just before Thanksgiving) to universal praise. Previous albums include, Drift, Blue Skies and All, 37 Notebooks, and Iron & Coal. “House of Love,” recorded by Shoshana Bean for 37 Notebooks (featuring the Broadway Dreams Chorus), has been recorded and performed numerous times, and is consistently used in many diverse charitable campaigns including Equity Fights Aids, Defying Inequality, and the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus annual holiday concert at Town Hall, appropriately billed, “The Holiday House of Love”. Additionally, Jeremy wrote and performed two songs for the Clear Blue Tuesday film soundtrack (co-starring Jeremy), and penned the featured single “Babazille Mahlangu” for the Broadway in South Africa campaign. Jeremy scored a Billboard Top 25 hit with his song “Queen” recorded by Frankie Grande. Frankie also recently released the follow-up single (penned by Jeremy), “I Got Me”. Additionally, Jeremy served as music director and featured performer and mentor for the Broadway Dreams Foundation. Favorite performances include Life Ball (Vienna), Hollywood in Vienna (honoring the late great, James Horner), opening ceremonies for the Macabee games at both Madison Square Garden and in Vienna, Austria, and performing alongside his PATH Fund Broadway rock pals for the annual charity event, Rockers on Broadway.
Fun, little-known factoid: Jer was once an owner of rock club Southpaw, in Brooklyn!
Jeremy lives in Beacon with beautiful wife Sarah-Jane, young kids Gus and Frances, older daughter Alexandra, and hyper dog, Lily Bunny (Gus named her. Don’t ask.)