Meet Harry

Meet Harry. Harry is 15 years old and is practicing in Kurth Hall for his piano recital at the Sammons Center later this summer. Harry is a member of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, which offices at the Center and practices here every Sunday. GDYO is one of the first tenants to have a home here, coming on board 35 years ago when we opened our doors in March of 1988. Harry is a great example of what a regular day looks like in our building and who we serve.
While we do accommodate the concerts, galas, and dances, you may be surprised to know that our community more frequently has needs for the rehearsals, meetings, and recitals that come beforehand. Not all art lives in museums and fancy theatres, and artists like Harry need spaces for their art too. They need spaces where their art can be created, developed, and enjoyed. We wouldn’t be surprised if Harry did find himself sitting at a Steinway at Carnegie Hall later down the road, but until then, Harry, we are here to help you get there by giving your art a home where it can grow.

Meet Cynthia and Blake!


These faces may be familiar to you if you have ever attended a Sammons Jazz concert! Cynthia has been the Sammons Jazz MC for many years, and more recently, Blake has joined her as a special guest MC!

Cynthia Dorn Navarrete might be familiar for more reasons than one. She and her larger-than-life personality may have graced your TV screens as she’s an actress with a long television and film career appearing in motion pictures such as The Rookie and Miss Congeniality. Her energetic spirit has led her life in many directions as she has worked in local productions, as a drama teacher for DISD high schools, and as a member of the African American Spiritual Ensemble, which also happens to be a tenant organization of the Sammons Center, New Arts Six. Friend of the Center for decades and enthusiastic jazz supporter, we couldn’t help but shine a spotlight on her and invite her to host our Sammons Jazz evenings as her bright personality fills any room she’s in any way!

When we met Blake Lindsay, all he had to say was “hello” before realizing we needed to put a mic in front of his “voice from God.” You know what we’re talking about if you have heard him at Sammons Jazz or any of his other professional voice-over work! We met Blake after hosting a special jazz concert for the inspiring José André, a blind child prodigy jazz pianist. We became acquainted with the organization Envision Dallas and their Director of Communication and Outreach (Blake) and hoped they might enjoy a few comp tickets to this special event. Envision Dallas is a wonderful organization dedicated to enriching the lives of those who are blind or visually impaired. After learning about Blake’s career and incredible gift for public speaking, we asked him to MC, and the rest is history. Blake is also a motivational speaker and author who recently wrote a book about his life, “Overcoming Obstacles & Getting Extraordinary Results.”

Be sure to say hi the next time you see them!

Photo Credit: Bart Marantz