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Siskin Children’s Institute is excited to announce that superstar Sheila E. will headline StarNight 2017. The event, held on Saturday, August 26 at the Chattanooga Convention Center, will welcome approximately 1500 guests. Long-time Institute supporters Emerson, Eddie, and Alisa Russell will serve as this year’s co-chairs. StarNight is Chattanooga’s premier gala supporting Siskin Children’s Institute’s efforts on behalf of children with special needs and their families.

Sheila E. became a top session and touring musician before the age of 20, performing and/or recording with George Duke, Herbie Hancock, Billy Cobham, Con Funk Shun, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan, Patti LaBelle, and Steve Nicks among others.

In the 1980’s, Sheila’s collaboration with the artist Prince, helped to catapult her to her own pop superstardom. Her obvious talent and hits like, “The Glamorous Life" and “Love Bizarre," in conjunction with her pivotal work on other Prince-related projects, contributed to her international stardom.

Sheila E.'s producing, arranging, and performance talents have been showcased throughout the music and film industry with appearances on The Academy Awards, The Latin Grammy Awards, BET Awards, The American Music Awards, The Kennedy Center Honors, The Summer Olympics, WOW Awards, ALMA's, and The Image Awards just to name a few. In 2010 Sheila was nominated for an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Music Direction" in recognition of her leadership as musical director for President Obama’s Performance at The White House: Fiesta Latina. Her recent projects, include The E Family Now and Forever, Pete Escovedo Live at Stern Grove Festival, Sheila E. Live from Lugano Switzerland, a literary biography titled The Beat of My Own Drum, ICON Sheila's 2014 solo album and the single release Girl Meets Boy in memory of the late, great, Prince. The current studio project, Iconic, is Sheila's continued contribution to the music industry and her efforts to raise awareness of social issues and humanitarianism.

“We are excited to welcome Sheila E. to Chattanooga for StarNight 2017 and thrilled to have the Russell family take the helm as this year’s event co-chairs," says Institute President and CEO, John Farrimond. “Their passion toward efforts to improve the lives of children with special needs and their families is extraordinary and truly inspiring."  

StarNight 2017 opens with a cocktail reception, beginning at 6 p.m., a formal dinner followed by a performance by Sheila E. An electrifying after-party with dancing and music from one of Chattanooga’s hottest DJs will round out the night. 



Emerson Russell is the CEO of ERMC, which started in 1972 as Russell Security and grew through the years to include various facility needs including janitorial, maintenance, and landscaping services in the retail, commercial, and aviation industries. Emerson is involved in many community organizations and serves on the boards of the Tennessee Workforce Investment Program, the SE TN Development District, TN Private Protection Services, the Southeastern Legal Foundation and is actively involved in the Chambers of Commerce for Chattanooga and for Catoosa County, GA, The Rotary Club, Salvation Army, American Heart Association, the Hunter Worley Foundation, the Shriners, the Masons, and Siskin Children’s Institute.

Eddie Russell has been involved in facility services for twenty years, presently serving as President of ERMC. He serves as a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Building Services Contractor Association International (BSCAI) and Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce. His relationship with Siskin Children's Institute began with the birth of his daughter, Presleigh, who was born with Down Syndrome in 2006.

Alisa Russell is the Records Management Officer and Director of Licensing at ERMC. She has a history of volunteer work with children at local schools and churches. Alisa recently served on the committee for the Siskin Children’s Institute StyleWorks event. 
Both Eddie and Alisa devote time each year to campaigning and participating in the Chattanooga Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) Buddy Walk.


Siskin Children’s Institute’s StarNight began 54 years ago as a fundraiser for the Siskin Memorial Foundation’s 365 Club and has evolved into the premier black-tie event in Chattanooga. This highly anticipated late summer show features a prominent entertainer each year with a star-studded mix of legendary favorites and rising stars.The evening includes a cocktail reception, elegant dinner, performance by a first class entertainer and after party with DJ music and dancing. Past entertainers have included Tony Bennett, Dinah Shore, LeAnn Rimes, Emmylou Harris, Kenny Rogers, Three Mo’ Tenors, Hootie and the Blowfish, Sugarland,  Colbie Caillat, The Band Perry, Kevin Costner & Modern West.

StarNight is the Institute’s largest fundraising event and, as Chattanooga’s premier annual gala, attracts nearly 1,500 people. All proceeds from the benefit the children and families served by Siskin Children’s Institute.


Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact  Linda McReynolds for more information. 

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