LSM Newswire

Monday, October 6, 2008

NAC annual Gala raises $835,000 for the National Youth and Education Trust

National Arts Centres annual Gala raises $835,000 for the NACs National Youth and Education Trust

Ottawa, Canada The National Arts Centres 2008 Gala has raised an impressive $835,000 for the National Arts Centre Foundations National Youth and Education Trust. The Gala, which this year featured the legendary Tony Bennett, had been sold out for months, and the crowd was on its feet repeatedly throughout the night. In the opening half of the programme Music Director Pinchas Zukerman led the National Arts Centre Orchestra supplemented by the five participants in this seasons Institute for Orchestral Studies (IOS) plus the Richard Li Young Artist. The first half highlight was a performance of the Allegro from Vivaldis Concerto in B-flat major for Violin and Cello by 11-year-old violinist Kerson Leong, and his 13-year-old brother, cellist Stanley Leong, both recent participants in the NACs Summer Music Institute (SMI). The National Youth and Education Trust provides funds to support the wide array of artistic and educational programming the NAC undertakes for young Canadians, including the SMI and the IOS and the Richard Li Young Artist Chair.

The evening included the announcement that Pinchas Zukermans friends from around North America have begun a Pinchas Zukerman 60th birthday scholarship fund with a $60,000 gift to support international scholarships for the Summer Music Institute. It is the first dedicated fund for this purpose.

TELUS was once again the Presenting Sponsor of the annual Gala, reflecting its continuing support of the National Youth and Education Trust, as its founding partner. The Trust is also supported by SunLife Financial, patrons of the Gala and the National Arts Centre Foundation Donors Circle. The Honorary Chair of the Gala was Laureen Harper.

The Gala Committee was chaired for the third year by Janet Yale, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs of TELUS. Janet Yale said: Tony Bennett held the crowd in the palm of his hand. What a wonderful entertainer! It was equally thrilling to see the reaction of the audience when the NAC Orchestra and Pinchas Zukerman were joined by our two young string players, Stanley and Kerson Leong, who have already benefited from the National Youth and Education Trust through the NACs Young Artists Programme. When you see before your eyes the future of music in this country, its easy to understand the importance of fundraising events such as this. Im grateful to all the hard work of this years Committee and to all those who supported the Gala.

NAC Foundation CEO Darrell Gregersen enthusiastically added: Over 2,000 people left their heart at the NAC tonight! This unforgettable evening is the result of an enormous amount of passion and hard work from Janet Yale and the Gala Committee, and also to the contribution of Pinchas Zukerman and the musicians of the NAC Orchestra who donated their services for the Gala and performed so wonderfully. It was truly inspirational when we learned first thing Monday morning, that our soloists Stanley and Kerson Leong have asked to make a donation to the Trust.

After a luxurious wine and canap reception and a taste of San Francisco in the NAC Foyer for everyone in attendance, the concert thrilled the crowd. The Ottawa Citizen, which featured the Gala on its front page the next morning, said Tony Bennett is one of the wonders of popular music and added: A special treat came in the form of a Vivaldi concerto for violin and cello, played with real pizzazz by the Leong brothers. Following the concert and a post-concert reception in the Foyer, 800 Gala guests dined on Southam Hall stage, which had been magically converted into a classy art deco dining emporium.

The glittering crowd included ambassadors, cabinet ministers, senators and members of Canadas corporate elite.

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