IBJOpinion

LOU'S VIEWS: Feinstein and company raise funds, pay tribute

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Lou Harry

Philanthropic arts patrons are asked time and again to attend fundraisers for their favorite organizations (and for the organizations where their friends have seats on the boards). The challenge for the organizations themselves is to create events that feel less obligatory and more pleasurable. Ideally, those pleasures tie in with the core mission of the group in question.

One group that succeeds at that task is the Center for the Performing Arts, which offered its Great American Songbook Hall of Fame Gala induction on June 21.

Oh, you could complain about the after-party’s long food lines or the awkward placement of bands (primarily facing walls and windows rather than attendees in multiple lounges). But the core event itself—the honoring of the latest round of inductees into the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame—was perfectly in tune with the organization.

The point—in addition to raising money for the center—is to pay tribute to performers and composers “responsible for creating America’s soundtrack.” Think of it as a more narrowly focused version of The
 

ae-views-johnny-mathis-with-award-hi-res-1col.jpg Legendary vocalist Johnny Mathis accepts his honorary award at the Center for the Performing Arts. (Photo courtesy of Angela Talley)

Kennedy Center Honors. This year offered tributes to Shirley Jones (yes, from “The Partridge Family,” but also from the film versions of “Carousel,” “Oklahoma!” and “The Music Man.”), Johnny Mathis, Linda Ronstadt and, posthumously, Nat King Cole.

With Jones and Mathis graciously accepting awards—although not performing—Natalie Cole charmingly standing in for her father, and Michael Feinstein hosting (and, in good voice, working in performances of three songs), there was plenty for those who wanted to see “names.” (Ronstadt, battling Parkinson’s disease, could not attend.)

The evening’s greatest pleasure was a new one, at least to me. Singer Denzal Sinclaire, backed by a terrific band of local players, offered a tribute to Cole that honored the man without imitating him. I don’t usually like medleys—they tend to be a “Remember this one?” hit parade with little time to plumb the heart of each song—but Sinclaire managed to put truth into every syllable with a sound that sent me running to YouTube as soon as I got home. I can’t recall a time when I so quickly became a fan of a performer. Here’s hoping he finds his way here for a full concert soon.

Also charming the crowd was Julia Goodwin, last year’s Great American Songbook Vocal Competition winner. That not-to-be-missed July contest serves as a nice companion piece to the Hall of Fame Gala, one event honoring those who have already contributed to the American musical canon and the other encouraging the next generation to pick up the torch (song).•

__________

This column appears weekly. Send information on upcoming arts and entertainment events to lharry@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Kent's done a good job of putting together some good guests, intelligence and irreverence without the inane chatter of the other two shows. JMV is unlistenable, mostly because he doesn't do his homework and depends on non-sports stuff to keep HIM interested. Query and Shultz is a bit better, but lack of prep in their show certainly is evident. Sterling obviously workes harder than the other shows. We shall see if there is any way for a third signal with very little successful recent history to make it. I always say you have to give a show two years to grow into what it will become...

  2. Lafayette Square, Washington Square should be turned into office parks with office buildings, conversion, no access to the public at all. They should not be shopping malls and should be under tight security and used for professional offices instead of havens for crime. Their only useage is to do this or tear them down and replace them with high rise office parks with secured parking lots so that the crime in the areas is not allowed in. These are prime properties, but must be reused for other uses, professional office conversions with no loitering and no shopping makes sense, otherwise they have become hangouts long ago for gangs, groups of people who have no intent of spending money, and are only there for trouble and possibly crime, shoplifting, etc. I worked summers at SuperX Drugs in Lafayette Square in the 1970s and even then the shrinkage from shoplifting was 10-15 percent. No sense having shopping malls in these areas, they earn no revenue, attract crime, and are a blight on the city. All malls that are not of use should be repurposed or torn down by the city, condemned. One possibility would be to repourpose them as inside college campuses or as community centers, but then again, if the community is high crime, why bother.

  3. Straight No Chaser

  4. Seems the biggest use of TIF is for pet projects that improve Quality Of Life, allegedly, but they ignore other QOL issues that are of a more important and urgent nature. Keep it transparent and try not to get in ready, fire, Aim! mode. You do realize that business the Mayor said might be interested is probably going to want TIF too?

  5. Gary, I'm in complete agreement. The private entity should be required to pay IPL, and, if City parking meters are involved, the parking meter company. I was just pointing out how the poorly-structured parking meter deal affected the car share deal.

ADVERTISEMENT