Tony Bennett's 'Exploring the Arts' Raises Over $1.5 Million for Arts Education at Inaugural Benefit Event in New York
PRESIDENT CLINTON ADDRESSES GALA AUDIENCE AT ROCKEFELLER CENTER
Other Attendees include Alec Baldwin, Chris Botti, k.d. lang, John Legend, James Taylor, U.S. Congressman Charles Rangel and Barbara Walters
Bennett's TV Special, 'TARGET PRESENTS TONY BENNETT: AN AMERICAN CLASSIC' Wins Three Emmy Awards at the Emmys Creative Arts Ball
Tony Bennett's EXPLORING THE ARTS raised more than $1.5 Million dollars for arts education in public schools during the organization's inaugural event, a concert and gala dinner benefit held in New York City on Sunday night, September 9. Tony Bennett performed at Radio City Music Hall and was joined on stage by Chris Botti, k.d. lang, John Legend and James Taylor. Regis Philbin welcomed the sold out audience to Radio City Music Hall and the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts Concert Choir opened the concert with "The Best Is Yet To Come," in tribute to the Sinatra School's founder, Tony Bennett.
Immediately following the concert, a seated gala dinner was held for 500 people at Rockefeller Center. President Bill Clinton attended the dinner and spoke about Tony's commitment to arts education. A live auction, presided over by Sotheby's auctioneer, Jamie Niven, raised additional monies and featured items contributed by Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, Andre Agassi, John Travolta, Billy Joel, and Annie Leibovitz, among others. The evening's co- chairs were Iris Cantor and John Desiderio and George and Mariana Kaufman. Alec Baldwin, Barbara Walters and U.S. Congressman Charles Rangel were among the attendees at the event.
"Susan and I are thrilled by the success of our first benefit for Exploring the Arts and we hope to do this every year to help ensure that the arts have the presence they deserve in public education," said Tony Bennett.
Exploring the Arts was founded by Tony and Susan Bennett and is dedicated to creating, promoting and supporting arts education. Through a unique approach of connecting private funders to public schools, a greater quality of arts resources and opportunities has become available to students of all means and backgrounds. Exploring the Arts' first major endeavor to-date has been the founding of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA), a public high school in New York City. Located in Tony's hometown of Queens, New York, FSSA provides a strong academic curriculum combined with a rigorous art studio program offering dance, fine art, vocal and instrumental music and theatre. The permanent site for FSSA is currently under construction and will be located adjacent to the Kaufman Astoria Studios complex. For more information please visit www.exploringthearts.org.
Chris Botti, k.d. lang, John Legend and James Taylor all performed duets with Bennett on his last CD, "TONY BENNETT DUETS: AN AMERICAN CLASSIC," which won three Grammy Awards and became the top selling and highest charting CD of Tony's career. Botti was particularly thrilled to be part of the event supporting Exploring the Arts and the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts since the trumpeter's first musical gig had been with Sinatra's band. lang -- who has recorded and toured extensively with Bennett (the two had their own duet CD together, WONDERFUL WORLD) -- performed "Because of You" with Bennett and Botti. James Taylor sang "Put On A Happy Face" with the 15-time Grammy winner and John Legend dueted on "Sing You Sinners."
On Saturday evening, Tony's television special "TARGET PRESENTS TONY BENNETT" won three Emmy Awards -- for Choreography, Art Direction and Sound Mixing -- given out at the Emmy's Creative Arts Ball. Tony Bennett's son Daegal was among the Emmy winners in the Sound Mixing category. Tony's special won a juried Emmy Award for Costume Design bringing the current Emmy total to four. The special was nominated in eight categories and will be up for three additional Emmy Awards at the primetime Emmys taking place on Sunday, September 16. Bennett will be performing on the show with Christina Aguilera and the two will sing, "Steppin' Out From My Baby," which they sang on the original special.
SOURCE: RPM/Columbia Records
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