Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

By Christine DeSouza
News Editor 

Inspiring others through her songs

 

Andra London

Ever since her first stage performance, when she was seven, in the JCC Players' production of "Oliver!," Andra London has loved the stage. From that humble beginning, London went on to perform for six years with the Orlando Opera Company Youth Ensemble before forming the singing trio Visions during her teen years with two other local Jewish young ladies. The group made four albums and performed 150 concerts in 80 cities nationwide.

"One beautiful byproduct of Visions was the opportunity to travel all over the country, which gave me exposure to different communities-to see their commonalities and priorities," London said.

Graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Emory University, she chose to use her creativity in advertising and went to New York City to work at Ogilvy. Later she applied her marketing and development skills at Hillel International in Washington, D.C., and finally landed where she is now in Atlanta working as a global creative director for The Coca Cola Company. London spends her days developing global advertising campaigns for Powerade, both for the Olympics and the World Cup. With this exciting career, she still has time to share her Jewish story through song with communities across the country.

London's program is filled with traditional and contemporary Hebrew and English songs, peppered with a powerful testament to the work of the Jewish community in formulating her own Jewish identity.

"I am very grateful to the JFNA [Jewish Federations of North America] Speakers' Bureau for promoting my program to communities across the country," London stated.

Tonight, Jan. 9, London will be sharing her story in Sarasota at the Lion of Judah and Pomegranate Luncheon, and on Sunday, Jan. 11, she will be in Jacksonville to perform for the Women's Division Champagne Brunch. She has three other performances on her calendar after these programs: The federations in Orange City, Calif., Philadelphia and Greenwich, Conn.

In 'My Jewish story through song,' London shares her own Jewish experiences from childhood to young adulthood and how Jewish organizations influenced her, and yet each of these programs will be different-customized to the Jewish community she is visiting. "I ask to hear their objectives; what is their vision? Each community has its own priorities. I like to cater my program to make it relevant and personal to each audience."

Last fall, at the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando's annual meeting, London sat on a panel and what has helped her feel part of the Jewish community. "Social events around the various holidays or with some type of Jewish content can create opportunities for people to meet," London said, explaining that the sense of belonging to a community strengthens Jewish identity and engagement.

In Atlanta, London is part of a pilot program through the Federation of Greater Atlanta called LEADS (Leadership, Education And Develop Series). "The Federation identifies leaders across Atlanta to invite other young people into their homes-in a relaxed setting-to discuss topics [proved by the Federation] from Jewish values to tradition, and get to know each other," she explained.

Now 30 years old, London is grateful to the Orlando Jewish community for its support and the foundation it gave her throughout her life: From the JCC preschool to the JCC summer camps, BBYO to Hillel and the Jewish Federation Young Adult Division, as well as her synagogue, Congregation Ohev Shalom .

"The [Orlando] community shaped my Jewish identity and I'm proud of my Jewish heritage," she said.

And now, London carries that pride to other Jewish communities with this message through her gift of song. 

 

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