Holiday Jam 2018 Testimonials

Nick Rolphe

Narada Michael Walden is all about Love at all times, and that is immediately apparent within minutes of meeting him, hearing him speak, or hearing his music. The Love and Positivity that pours out of him at all times permeates everything he touches. With that being said, there’s no wondering why his annual Holiday Jams exude that same magic from start to finish. Narada brings the best out of all the amazing young musical talents he features in his jams, as well as the professional musicians he assembles to play along side his star “pupils”. The result is an amazing night of honest, open, and earnest music that is entertaining, touching, and heartfelt all at the same time. The young musicians are very fortunate to have Narada and his foundation to nurture them along the path of artistry - and one can rest assured that the future of Bay Area music (and beyond!) is in the BEST hands. 

Dee Dee Simon

It was LIT!  Thank you so much Narada! There is nothing like performing with exceptional talent. I am always in awe of God's favor with those he blessed to bless others.  Thanks for giving and sharing your platform. I didn't get to say goodbye because I was riding on the Freeway of Love to work right after. Now how do you go to work after that.  Poor inmates bahahahaha.  The nurses here were hanging on every word about your phenomenal event.  It was a good Grave yard night for us. Happy Holidays and God bless you all. Again it was LIT LIT!


My mother doesn’t go out & is extremely tired today because she had to get up & preach, but she doesn’t regret it for ONE second.She went on & on about how impressed she was with EACH & EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU! (She’s not easily I quote, “now THAT is how you put on a show!”She went on & on about everything from the theater itself, to the musicians, to musical selections, the special & unique voices, etc etc etc
Well I couldn’t agree more. You all inspire me to do & be my best! Cheers to another magical show. 
Thanks Narada!

Robin Rothe

Narada’s foundation is a great way for young aspiring musicians to be perform and be mentored by some of the music industry’s heavy hitters.  What an honor to be a part of the 2018 Narada’s Holiday.

I loved how Narada directed the entire show from behind his drum set - all the while playing drums with such musicality; truly a treat to watch.  Equally as impressive was hearing the uniqueness of each vocalist and musician - it was off the hook good!  The spirit of Aretha was definitely in the house that night.

Lynn Asher

I firmly believe that it’s because the entire night was about Aretha and everyone rising up to meet that challenge to bring their A game! We were all at another level. We saw this with the girls as well when we did the spring fling with strings, with their focus on one artist, Billie Holiday.

I think moving forward this is a great direction to go in....honor an artist each year to pay tribute for the entire show. Legacy Artists. You’ve worked with many of them. I also think that it made for a great ticket sales to do a tribute, especially Aretha, the place was packed to the rafters last night. And everyone stayed until the very end.

I also felt that all of the singers this year brought their A game, and that the adults and kids that performed were all very,  very talented. High bar. 

Best year yet for talent across the board.

Even though the awards ceremony was long,  I think that’s OK. It makes it feel very intimate. To hear the stories from the people that are involved,  and also the people that you’re serving in terms of the Kids and Foundation itself. Everyone gave great speeches, and I think that it makes the show unique and meaningful. 

Last but not least, thank you so much Narada for your beautiful introduction of me. I am so grateful for that love and acknowledgment.  I really greatly appreciated it and love you for it. 

If you would like to meet sometime in the early part of the new year and go over the show, I’d love to do that with you like we did last year

Tom Johnston

On the 15th of December I took part in Narada Michael Walden’s Annual Christmas Jam which is dedicated to raising money for kids who need instruments, vocal training, and a place to make it all come together. It was big success and was enjoyed by a full house in Mill Valley as it is every year.

This year’s theme was a tribute to Aretha Franklin who Narada has both produced and written with, and it was an amazing celebration of her life and music by top caliber musicians and singers that would have made her proud!

Driving the jam was Narada behind his “kit” and also acting as MC for the evening. The crowd danced and sang along as the music flowed over them, and left feeling happy and as though their Christmas had kicked into high gear.

I wish this program all the success it deserves, and that it will continue with it’s mission to bring music to those who wish to make it. Music is needed now more than ever and I was happy to be part of the event.

Justus Dobrin

Now in my third year of joining the cast and crew of the Narada Michael WaldenHoliday Jam, I found this years’ celebration to be an outstanding tribute to music education, community building and the legacy of Aretha Franklin. We lost Arethae arlier this year and in the wake of many memorials and tributes, Narada and his foundation were able to bring Miss Franklin’s spirit alive with an amazing show.

The jam featured a tremendous orchestra, including two of Aretha’s original band members (Nick Rolfe /Piano and Ralphe Armstrong/Bass), fabulous singing talent and the NMW foundation singers. It was an honor and a privilege to share the stage with such a mighty team. We paid respects to Aretha Franklin’s legacy, celebrated the holiday season in community and raised money and awareness for musical education. To be a part of something so meaningful while enjoying one’s greater musical community was one my highlights of the year. It’s very fulfilling to share our talents and help build a musical future for our young people.

I am proud to work alongside Narada Michael Walden and help in the annual holiday fundraiser. The NMW foundation is doing great work for our future talents and spreading the joy of music throughout the community. Peace and blessings,


I love the fact that while the Narada Michael Walden Foundation Holiday Jam is about raising funds and awareness for Music Education that it also is supporting musicians and educating young artists at the same time.  All the musicians are on their best game and it shows!  It's a big, grand, wonderful tradition, 22 years and counting!

This year's 22nd Annual Christmas Concert ... a "Tribute to Aretha Franklin" was off the hook. Having Aretha’s voice with us (at her request I might add) was so very special. It really felt like she was there with us. Having Ralphe Armstrong, her bassist for 30 years, driving our groove on many tunes added to Aretha’s presence ~ as did having her pianist Nick Rolf with us. She left us so much - I for one am so very grateful. And thank you Narada Michael Walden for your vision in making this happen . .

Frank Martin

I look forward every year to being a part of Narada's Holiday Jam.  He assembles the greatest musicians in the bay to play exciting, timeless music.  He always makes it a point to educate the youth about showmanship and professionalism and what it's like to be a working artist.  

Daniel Casares


The night was so love- filled and magical. Everyone was in the moment giving and receiving energy to and from the audience. Singing to the heavens, so the Queen of Soul could hear.  i think time stood still for just a moment to honor the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, that special night.

Every performer honored the Queen with heartfelt performances. Oh what a special night it was to share the stage with members from Aretha’s band and hear  wonderful stories about the Queen of Soul. Narada Michael Walden you are EVERYTHING. Your love for Aretha was magnified a thousand times more than you will ever know.  

Thank you for bringing us all together to celebrate and honor The Queen.  Long live her legacy through you and all of us.

Ralphe Armstrong

The Narada Walden holiday jam

Tribute To The Queen Of Soul ARETHA FRANKLIN Was A Wonderful Event!! I Have Played For Aretha For Over 30 Years! The Music was magnificent ! the only thing missing was ARETHA .the horn players were great it was just like being in her Band again .I am very sure that ARETHA was smiling down from heaven


To be apart of the 2018 Narada Michael Walden Holiday Jam tribute to the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin was truly "A Love Supreme". Everything about it was TOP NOTCH. It's so awesome to have been apart of this yearly celebration spreading so much love, joy and goodness to truly a honor. Peace and Love to you Brother Narada in all that you do.

Kendall House

Without the Narada Michael Walden Foundation, I would never have access to the incredible coaching and performance resources that I have received here. With the help of this amazing community, have been able to watch myself improve in new ways, whilst picking up new skills and techniques that have helped to shape me as an aspiring artist. Constantly immersing myself in what I love, and being around professional musicians who share my love for music is truly a blessing. Thank you so much for this opportunity. 

Sydney Brown

I have been in the Narada Michael Walden Annual Holiday Jam for the best 5 years or so, and every single one is a new and special experience in it’s own way.The 2018 show, in my mind, was the most fulfilling It was a tribute to the Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin. I had the opportunity to perform with her band, and with roughly a dozen other wonderful girls of the NMW Foundation Group on stage for an audience. It was one of the most joyful experiences of my life. Having the honor to work with such talented musicians under such heartfelt circumstances was an experience that I will never forget. I couldn’t have asked Santa for anything better this Christmas!

Nikki Orrick

Performing beside the most talented, passionate musicians I’ve ever gotten the chance to meet sparked this unchanging joy inside of me. I could feel Aretha’s presence in the room; she was on stage singing with us. Even after the show, her music kept speaking to me, inspiring me even more to keep pursuing what I love most. Music has this ability to connect an audience with the performer, it really brings a special feeling. I am so grateful for Narada Michael Walden and all that he does for young musicians. This opportunity was a night I will never forget, and will hold onto for the rest of my life.

Nikita Germaine

It was such an honor to be apart of Narada Michael Walden 22nd Annual Holiday Jam Queen of Soul Christmas - Tribute to Aretha Franklin. What a memorable event paying tribute to the Queen, singing a song that she performed many years ago, “Skylark”. When Narada chose the song “Skylark” for me to sing it was a pleasant surprise because I love jazz and I wasn’t aware that Aretha Franklin had recorded a jazz song, which she sang beautifully. I knew I had big shoes to fill and I was grateful for the opportunity, I hope I did Narada and the Queen proud. The evening was filled with so much good music of Aretha Franklin, for me it was nastalgic, as I’m sure it was for many others that evening. When I wasn’t on stage singing I was back stage enjoying listening to the other artists that performed that I’m sure made the Queen proud. I really enjoyed hearing the young people excited to be there on stage singing Aretha Franklin sings, it was priceless. Narada Micheal Walden, you should be proud of yourself for putting together an awesome show that left beautiful memories for us all. I love you to the moon and stars.