Photo Flash: 'The Songs of Our Lives' Benefit Concert
Some of the greatest songwriters of the past 50 years convened in New York City on Tuesday, December 8 for The Songs of Our Lives: Performed by the Songwriters Who Wrote Them, a benefit concert for Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.
The unique evening featured songwriters talking about - and performing - the songs they wrote. The program included recollections from such musical luminaries as High School of Music and Art alumnus Charles Fox ("Killing Me Softly," "I Got a Name," "Ready to Take A Chance Again"), as well as songwriters Hal David ("What The World Needs Now," "Alfie"), Alan Bergman ("The Way We Were," "The Windmills of Your Mind"), Charles Strouse ("Bye Bye Birdie," "Annie"), Paul Williams ("Evergreen," "We've Only Just Begun"), Alan Menken ("Little Shop of Horrors," "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin"), and David Zippel ("City of Angels," "Hercules"). In addition to Mr. Fox, the work of other school alums including songwriting greats Marilyn Bergman, Cy Coleman and Ed Kleban, were performed during the evening. Tony Walton directed. Jazz musician Steve Tyrell and current cast member of The Marvelous Wonderettes Lindsay Mendez also performed. The evening concluded with a surprise performance of What I Did For Love (sung by India Carney) and One from the cast of the school's upcoming production of A Chorus Line.
The concert was held in the intimate 500-seat Little Flower Theatre, followed by a post show reception with the songwriters and special guests at O'Neal's Restaurant.
The Songs of Our Lives was conceived and organized by composer Charles Fox to help the school through a budget cutting period brought on by the general economic conditions and to continue to provide the highest standard of nurturing and developing young, gifted students in the arts. "As an alumnus of Music and Art High School which merged with the High School of Performing Arts 25 years ago, I benefited enormously in my early musical education and development at this extraordinary school," explains Fox. "I feel devoted to helping the school continue the same high level of opportunities that it has offered so many of us in the arts over the years."
Said Kim Bruno, principal of LaGuardia High School: "We are thrilled to have Charles Fox and this extraordinary group of talented songwriters at LaGuardia. This event starts the 25th anniversary year of LaGuardia and I can think of no better way to mark the occasion."
In addition to raising the needed funds for The LaGuardia High School for the Arts to continue all of its arts programs during this difficult economic period, it is the hoped that the concert also raised public awareness of this unique and extraordinary institution that has produced many of the world's great artists in every category for the past 60 years. For more information, visit www.alumniandfriends.org.
Paul Williams and Ken Ascher
Hal David and Steve Tyrell
Karen Akers and Kim M. Bruno
Steve Tyrell, Karen Akers, and Ken Ascher
Paul Williams and students from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School