SING FOR HOPE
Tony Bennett Benefits
Music In The Inner
Joel Klein took the job as chancellor of the New York City
Department of Education, Tony Bennett started calling him.
The legendary singer said he and his wife Susan wanted to
start a school in Astoria, Queens, in memory of Frank Sinatra.
"That’s great," the schools
chancellor said. The chancellor and the singer both grew up on the
streets of Astoria.
"But why don’t we call it the
Tony Bennett School?" the chancellor suggested.
"No," the singer insisted.
"It has to be in memory of Frank."
"That shows the decency and
humanity of Tony," the chancellor said at the Sing for Hope annual
gala in October at 583 Park Avenue, an event space in an elegant
building that was designed by Delano & Aldrich and built in 1923.
(After a decade overseeing
the city’s schools, Klein left at the end of 2010 to become CEO of
News Corporation’s new education unit.)
"It was a dream my wife and I
had for 15 years," Bennett said. "Every school in the country would
have an arts program, so there will be more arts in the United
States than any country in the world."
He said he’s planning seven
schools. "We’re working on every rich person in the country to open
schools for the arts."
Bennett was guest of honor at
the Sing for Hope dinner, along with Ann Ziff and Ronald
Perelman. Perelman, the Revlon chief, was a no-show with good
reason: He had tied the knot the night before with his psychiatrist
girlfriend, Dr. Anna Chapman, making her his fifth wife.
Founded by opera singers,
Sing for Hope mobilizes world class artists, from classical
musicians to photographers to Broadway performers to volunteer in
cultural programs for schools, hospitals and communities.
Ziff was honored for her
passion for social work and music. Last year she made the largest
gift to the Metropolitan Opera.
"My mother was an opera
singer," she said. "Much to mother’s dismay I enjoyed Elvis
Presley and even pretended to be Jerry Lee Lewis. Luckily
I outgrew that and my music tastes elevated slightly."
Ziff’s music taste elevated
to such a degree that today she is managing director and board
co-chairman of the Metropolitan Opera, and vice chairman of Lincoln
Center for the Performing Arts.
Opera star Renee Fleming
said her fantasy is for Sing for Hope to expand nationwide.
The organization mobilizes
artists of all dimensions – classical musicians, opera singers,
Broadway performers, photographers – to serve the community in
volunteer programs in schools and hospitals.