SONATA Annual Board Workshop

Sponsors of New and Talented Artists Inc. (SONATA) workshop was held on October 11, 2014 under the direction of their new President, Somi Benson JaJa. The workshop started with a Welcome and Introduction of New Members; Mr. James Thompson, Ms. Shameka Smalls, Mrs. Dawn Howard and Mrs. Jackie Hamilton. SONATA has also added Mr. Teddy Adams, Ms. Elaine Campbell, Dr. Blenda Wilson, Mrs. Mary Nwosu and Ms. Kim Gusby as members and supporters. New members were sworn in by Mrs. Lillian Ellis, President Emeritus.

The training began with a presentation on Effective Policies. The presenter was Mr. Andre Lester, Contracts Administrator Georgia with Georgia Department of Human Services. Mr. Lester gave the group some valuable information on Non Profit Governance for sustainability through policies.

The President, Mr. Somi Benson JaJa led the Group with studies on Robert’s Rules of Order and Analysis for future growth. Their newly elected Financial Secretary, Mrs. Leah Nestor discussed goals for SONATA.

SONATA’s 2014-2015 year is off to a great start. Twenty-five students were given musical instrument scholarships for lessons. SONATA was also blessed to receive a grant from the Hodge Foundation for vocal scholarships. Students in grades 8 to 10 can still apply by visiting their website at or email

SONATA is still accepting donations to help fund all the events planned for the students. Please visit their website to learn more about the organization and make donations.

SONATA would like to thank all of their loyal supporters that have contributed to the success of this organization! 

Ellis Resigns as President of SONATA

After eleven years of service to Sponsors of New and Talented Artists, Inc. (SONATA) and seven years as president, Co-founder, Lillian Williams Ellis resigns as president. 

SONATA, an out growth of the now defunct Savannah Symphony Orchestra, through the years has made significant and important strides. It has provided more than two hundred music scholarships for students in grades seven through twelve who exhibit talent, interest and/or need to take orchestral instrument lessons from professional musicians. This year, SONATA will welcome nine new board members bringing the total to twenty-five members, which are made up of successful professionals, alumni and teachers.

Ellis leaves the organization in the very capable hands of a SONATA alum and teacher, Mr. Someari Benson-Jaja. He lives the vision and mission of SONATA, because he embodied the program from the time he was a sixth grader. Before Mrs. Ellis left office, SONATA received close to $10,000 to begin a new program. This funding was applied for by the in-coming president, Mr. Jaja. Ellis will continue to work and support this program that has made a difference in the lives of so many young people.

Mrs. Ellis thanks the Lord for the great and marvelous things He has done for SONATA.  — Savannah Herald

Students Show Off Their Musical Talents In Savannah To Benefit SONATA


SAVANNAH, GA -Student musicians put their talents on display this afternoon in Savannah. The Sponsors of New and Talented Artists, otherwise known as SONATA, held its annual fundraiser luncheon and gala.

SONATA provides free private music lessons for low income and minority students by matching them with the area’s top professional musicians.

"Studies show that the arts have a direct impact on education so if you are in music your test scores are going to be higher, if you are an artist your test scores are going to be higher, and performance based arts also help with their self esteem issues,” said Somi Benson-Ja Ja with SONATA.

News 3’s Coastal Sunrise anchor Kim Gusby emceed the fundraiser. A special award given in honor of Savannah music icon Ben Tucker went to local jazz legend Teddy Adams. Other award recipients include: Distinguished Service Award, Khristi Chisholm; Local Musician of the Year, Eric Jones; Educator of the Year, Michael Hutchinson.

Local Charity Kicks Off Fundraising Campaign with Savannah Youth Sings


April 14th, 2014

Local Charity Kicks Off Fundraising Campaign with Savannah Youth Sings

Sponsors of New and Talented Artists, Inc. (SONATA) has come a long way from its humble beginnings, to now being a source of learning and a producer of top quality professional musicians. Kicking off their fundraising campaign with Savannah Youth Sings, an invitational youth choir festival hosted by Savannah Country Day School and Esther F. Garrison Visual and Performing Arts, will feature some of the best choirs from across the southeast with all proceeds to benefit SONATA, Inc. This year’s Savannah Youth Sings will be held April 14th Lucas Theatre at 7pm with a suggested donation of $5. 

Since its inception in 2003, SONATA, Inc. has continually increased in both size and outreach. To date, SONATA, Inc. has not only awarded over $100,000 in scholarships, but has alumni that have achieved great success both in the United States and abroad. On the cusp of more success, this increase in size has consequently led to increased costs, and thus, a need for more sponsors.

SONATA, Inc., will culminate its fundraising campaign with their annual luncheon on June , 2014 at Noon at the Savannah State University ballroom.  As a sponsor of SONATA, Inc., depending upon your commitment level, you will receive recognition in the luncheon program, tickets to the event, visual recognition, your logo on our website, mention in publications, and many more. Also, as a sponsor, you are letting the community know that you support budding musicians and a positive outlet for the youth in our community.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of SONATA, Inc. OR interested in attending the fundraising luncheon, please contact Ashia Miller at 


About Sponsors of New and Talented Artists, Inc. (SONATA):

Sponsors of New and Talented Artists, Inc. (SONATA), which was created in 2003, seek to raise the ears, hearts, and souls of new and talented artists with an emphasis on classical music for Savannah and the surrounding areas. SONATA offers yearly one-on-one private music lessons, workshops, and educational opportunities for Savannah’s youth. These scholars also give back to the community by performing in recitals and events throughout the city. 

For more information regarding SONATA, Inc., as well as high-resolution photography, please 

visit the SONATA, Inc., website or contact:

Lillian Ellis

“Creating Musicians, Inspiring Community”