Renee Fleming Set for Sing for Hope, 10/20
When one thinks of glamorous operatic superstars, under-resourced schools, healthcare facilities, and veterans' centers don't usually spring to mind. But on Monday, October 20, 2014, Sing for Hope (www.singforhope.org) will unite New York's philanthropic and cultural elite for a magical evening in support of arts outreach to communities in need.
The centerpiece of the evening will be a musical tour de force by "The People's Diva" Renée Fleming, perhaps the most celebrated musical ambassador of our time.
Ms. Fleming's special performance at TriBeCa Rooftop -- an intimate appearance rare for the in-demand star -- is motivated by her commitment to Sing for Hope's "art for all" programs, which range from youth arts classes to hospital bedside performances to the Sing for Hope Pianos that appear regularly in the city's parks and public spaces for anyone and everyone to play.
The Grammy-winning Ms. Fleming is arguably the world's most acclaimed opera star. Awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama, she is also the first classical artist to have sung the National Anthem at the Super Bowl for a worldwide audience of millions. On October 20, with Manhattan's skyline as her backdrop, she will perform classic and contemporary favorites, accompanied by legendary jazz pianist Fred Hersch, and joined in a finale - reminiscent of her stirring performance at Obama's 2012 Inaugural Celebration - by Sing for Hope's Youth Chorus.
It is only fitting that the evening would have an equally iconic lead sponsor: Steinway & Sons, the world's most beloved musical instrument company. In the company's words: "Steinway & Sons believes that music has a unique ability to touch the human spirit, and we are proud to partner with Sing for Hope to touch the lives of people in New York City and beyond."
In the words of Sing for Hope Co-Founder Monica Yunus, "Amidst all of the excitement around this year's gala, we are particularly thrilled about the generous support of Steinway & Sons. From our student days at Juilliard onward, we've always felt (like all musicians!) that a Steinway is the piano you dream of having at your fingertips. And in light of Sing for Hope's plan to bring our Sing for Hope Pianos back to the five boroughs in Summer 2015, Steinway's generosity feels particularly meaningful."
Yunus' fellow soprano and Sing for Hope Co-Founder Camille Zamora continues, "The Sing for Hope Pianos act as a creative gateway, especially for the most vulnerable young New Yorkers who may have never touched a piano before. These colorful pianos - first in their public spaces and later in their donated community homes - ignite a creative spark and facilitate the first crucial steps toward a lifelong love of music-making."
Ms. Fleming's performance will be accompanied by Mr. Hersch ("the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade" - Vanity Fair) on a special Steinway on loan from the company. The performance will be introduced by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus. About the organization of which he is also a founding board member, Dr. Yunus says, "I believe we have a responsibility and a built-in urge to use our creativity to help improve the lives of those less fortunate. Sing for Hope Volunteer Artists do this every day, and I am inspired by this work and proud to be a part of an organization that uses creative expression to transform the lives of the underserved."
The 2014 Sing for Hope Gala Honoree is Jim Woolery, the charismatic Chairman-elect of Cadwalader and a founding board member of Sing for Hope. The event is co-chaired by a trifecta of passionate arts philanthropists: Marina Kellen French, Margie Loeb, and Ann Ziff. Sing for Hope's 2014 Gala Host Committee is comprised of leading philanthropic, arts, and business leaders including Hugh Jackman & Deborra-lee Furness, Arianna Huffington, John & Jody Arnhold, Diana & Joel Peterson, Joan & Barry Tucker, Lili & Wilson Ervin, Cynthia Vance & Bob Abrams, Polly & Mike Brandmeyer, Kristin Fisher, Chris Carbone, Dr. William Isacoff, Flavia Gale, Linda Saul Schejola, Ted Hillery, David Kleinberg, and Yeardley Smith. In addition to Ms. Fleming, Ms. Loeb, Ms. Ziff, and Dr. Yunus, members of the Sing for Hope board committed to the gala's success include Plácido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli, Jeffrey Chertoff, Valerie Demont, Annabelle Garrett, Linda E. Johnson, Jodi Kahn, Lilia Marini-Calves, David Miller, Luis Moreno, Kara Unterberg, Billy Weisman, Damian Woetzel, and Board Chair Eva Haller.
According to the organization, which was founded in 2006, the event is nearly sold out, but there are still several remaining tickets and preferred table available at gala.singforhope.org or by contacting Sing for Hope's Development Manager Elizabeth Elliott at 212-966-5955.