SC: J Dilla Foundation helps Pershing music program

Susan Whitall and Chuck Bennett

J Dilla Foundation helps Pershing music program

Pershing High School — justly known for its proud athletic tradition with such superstars as basketball great Spencer Haywood and the Pershing Doughboys and Doughgirls — just got a nice donation of money and equipment from the Detroit Tigers for their baseball teams.

But the school has an equally stellar roster of Detroit musicians who attended: Duke Fakir and Levi Stubbs from the Four Tops; Little Willie John; and the late hip-hop producer J Dilla (James Yancey), to name just a few. Back in the '50s, when the Tops and John attended, Pershing and Detroit Public Schools were famous for their music programs, but today the under-funded district struggles.

The J Dilla Foundation is donating money and music equipment, with a value of $7,000-$10,000 to Pershing. The donation includes synthesizers, a beat machine, keyboard, softward and a turntable. At 10 a.m. Friday, there will be an assembly at Pershing announcing the gift, with live music and an appearance by Yancey/Dilla's mother Miss Yancey.

Wine time

Pablo Alvarez, chairman of Vega Sicilia, Spain's most famous wine, was the guest of honor at a wine dinner at Bacco Ristorante in Southfield on Wednesday. Sixty wine lovers and foodies indulged in a seven-course meal prepared by award-winning chef Luciano DelSignore, each course paired with Alvarez' fine wine. The piece de resistance was course No. 6, American A5 Kobe paired with the limited, highly anticipated Unico 2003.

"This is an amazing privilege, to enjoy these incredible wines with this perfect meal that Luciano has created," said Tom Natoci of Cloverleaf Fine Wine in Royal Oak. "Vega Sicilia unquestionably makes the finest wine in Spain compared to the likes of Lafite Rothschild or Chateau Margaux." This was Alvarez' first trip to Michigan. He brought along 10 signed cases of the Unico 2003 for purchase.

Supporting Nick

Several hundred people who love local photographer Nick Martines gathered at Andiamo in Bloomfield Township on Wednesday to support him as he battles a second round of cancer. There was entertainment from Heidi Hepler and Michele Ramo, a silent auction featuring some of Nick's remarkable photography, and a few words from WJR's Paul W. Smith. Guests enjoyed a pasta dinner and cash bar, donating a minimum of $50 to assist with the high cost of Nick's treatment. Nick, maintaining his customary jovial disposition, says he has the top specialists at Karmanos Cancer Institute and he's looking forward to a full recovery. But he reminds everyone: "Please get a colonoscopy. I don't want anybody going through what I'm going through."