On January 15, 2013 violin virtuoso Joshua Bell graciously lent his home for an Education Through Music (ETM) friendraiser to help grow ETM’s supporter and donor base. Guests, from the entertainment, finance and philanthropy communities, gathered to hear the Grammy Award-winning violinist perform and speak on behalf of Education Through Music.
A queue of well-dressed guests sipped on champagne and mingled in a star-studded crowd with the likes of Christine Baranski, Julianna Margulies and husband Keith Lieberthal, Tommy Hilfiger, Gayle King and the Laurens: Ralph, Ricky, David and Lauren Bush. The evening’s host committee was also peppered with famous, boldfaced names such as Harvey Weinstein, Christine and Steve Schwarzman, Glen Close and David Shaw, and Meryl Streep.
Bell, who was accompanied by Sam Haywood on piano, was introduced for his performance by Education Through Music’s Executive Director Katherine Damkohler. Damkohler described Bell to the crowd as a “constant supporter [whose] personal visits to our schools have been a priceless gift to our children.”
Between pieces, Bell—a member of ETM’s advisory committee since 2004—retraced his earliest experiences at an ETM partner school: “I felt like The Beatles,” he told the spellbound audience. “I was amazed. They [the students] were prepared for months ahead of time and knew all my music—they were too young to realize I was not a rock star. But they had music in their lives. I was so touched by it.”
Since his visit, Bell has dedicated much of his time and resources to inspiring inner-city students through classical music—making the genre fun and accessible to a new generation. As a true ambassador, Bell also articulated ETM’s purpose to the crowd with ease: “It’s not necessarily about trying to find the next Yo-Yo Ma; having music in these kids’ lives is going to make a huge difference…for some reason [music education] gets cut from the curriculum, but it’s as important as reading and writing.”
Among the attendees moved by Bell’s words was Richard Bernstein, the executive vice chairman of commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley, and a passionate music education advocate. Mr. Bernstein, a classical pianist, is the honoree for ETM’s 2013 Children’s Benefit Gala. The Gala will be held this April at Cipriani 42nd Street and feature a performance by Joshua Bell and Mr. Bernstein. For more information about the Children’s Benefit Gala please visit www.ETMonline.org/2013gala.
Visit https://picasaweb.google.com/100187773237659744459/2013ETMFriendraiserWithJoshuaBell for additional photos from the Joshua Bell Friendraiser.