Sing for Hope Honors Chobani's Founder Hamdi Ulukaya

Image Sing for Hope celebrated its 7th annual gala in New York City in a multi-level Chelsea loft space punctuated by brilliantly colored Sing for Hope Pianos and vivid art photographs. Nearly 400 guests gathered to support Sing for Hope's arts outreach programs that democratize the arts and ignite the spark of creative innovation in all people. The event was chaired by Sing for Hope Board Member (and Metropolitan Opera Chair and Lincoln Center Vice-Chair) Ann Ziff, and honored Chobani Founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya. The evening was enlivened by stellar performances from Sing for Hope Volunteer Artists including distinguished lyric tenor Matthew Polenzani, Broadway leading lady Melissa Errico, Pianist Howard Watkins, a capella group The Maccabeats, and, in the surprise of the evening, a trio of "dueling Carmens" - Met stars Sandra Piques Eddy, Alyson Cambridge, and Rebecca Ringle, who performed the Habanera in matched red dresses while winding their way through the audience toward the evening's honoree.

Ms. Ziff opened the evening's program by welcoming guests and describing Sing for Hope's arts outreach mission in underserved communities throughout New York City. Her words were followed by an "art for all" dance moment led by international ballet icon and Sing for Hope Board Member Damian Woetzel. Ms. Ziff's and Mr. Woetzel's words of hope were later illustrated by a joyful performance of "This Little Light of Mine" by members of The Sing for Hope Youth Chorus who attend Sing for Hope's arts programs year-round free of charge.
Board Chair Eva Haller and Executive Director Bobby Kean provided context for the organization's work, and Sing for Hope Co-Founders, acclaimed sopranos Camille Zamora and Monica Yunus, introduced the evening's honoree, Hamdi Ulukaya, by sharing the "true voices" of Sing for Hope in quotes from program participants.

From the stage, Mr. Ulukaya spoke movingly of his initial decision to support Sing for Hope's arts outreach programs in healthcare facilities in honor of his late mother. He went on to speak of his commitment to The Sing for Hope Pianos - 88 art pianos in public spaces that invite all New Yorkers to channel their inner artist. He closed with remarks on the responsibility of business to "really step up" philanthropically and support organizations that make a difference. His words were met by a standing ovation, comparable only to the one given to the young people of the Sing for Hope Youth Chorus.
The evening's guests included Steinway CEO Michael Sweeney, Brooklyn Public Library CEO Linda E. Johnson, Canadian Consul General John Prato, The Huffington Post's Lance Gould, Luis Moreno of jumP, Harry Smith of NBC News, David Droga of Droga5, Jessica Asencio of JPMorgan Chase, Atlantic Magazine business editor Derek Thompson, Disney star Monique Coleman, Donald and Shelley Rubin, Joan and Barry Tucker, leading New York ENT doc Michael Pitman, Annabelle Garrett, Maria Eugenia Haseltine, Kara Unterberg, Billy Weisman, Elizabeth Sarquis, and Chobani's Head of Philanthropy Sujean Lee, COO Peter McGuinness, Chief Image Office Annette McGuinness, and Chief of Staff Grace Zuncic.

Closing out the gala was an After Party hosted by Sing for Hope's Young Professionals and featuring The Hot Sardines, DJ Seth Johnson, Modern Photo Booth, and an open bar courtesy of Frankly Wines and Encore Wine Imports. As the last guests headed out into the clear New York night, they carried away "art for all" mugs and the lingering joy of having fun while doing good.


Photo Credit: Allan Zepeda

Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07