Leonard Maltin to MC and Special Guests Include Dick Van Dyke and Ashley Brown, Star of Broadway’s Hit Musical Mary Poppins Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 6 p.m., at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion’s Grand Hall in Downtown Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC) honors the remarkable legacy of legendary composer and beloved American musical storyteller Richard M. Sherman (Beverly Hills) and LACC advocates and benefactors Mary Blodgett and Carlton Calvin (San Marino) at its annual fundraiser, Gala Bel Canto, on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 6 p.m., at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion’s Grand Hall in downtown Los Angeles. LACC and esteemed special guests, including Dick Van Dyke, star of such iconic films as Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Broadway star Ashley Brown, who played the title role in the hit stage version of Mary Poppins, present heartfelt tributes musical and otherwise to the evening’s illustrious honorees. Film critic and historian Leonard Maltin serves as emcee for the evening, which includes a sumptuous three-course sit-down dinner by Patina, exquisite wines and a dazzling live auction. Proceeds benefit Los Angeles Children's Chorus’ artistic, educational and scholarship programs.
Gala Bel Canto committee members are Chair Ann Sunshine (Pasadena), Rashmi Bansal (La Canada), Elissa Johnston (Los Angeles), Vena Bennett Luthey (Pasadena), Dianne Magee (Pasadena) and Andrea Greene Willard (San Marino).
Richard M. Sherman and his late brother Robert were one of Walt Disney’s most successful songwriting teams, having amassed numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards from a total of nine nominations. Over five decades, The Sherman Brothers wrote some of the most beloved songs in motion picture history. Music from such classic films as Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Parent Trap and The Aristocats, among many others, along with It's A Small World (After All) – one of the most widely performed and translated songs on earth – represent a monumental body of work that continues to touch the lives of millions each year. The brothers’ work finds continuing popularity through stage plays presented around the world, and a second CD of Richard’s personal piano compositions has recently been released. The spirit, joy, creativity, and generosity evident in the Sherman’s work have inspired children’s love of music for generations. These same principles have influenced 27 seasons of LACC choristers.
LACC parents Mary Blodgett and Carlton Calvin make the world a better place for children through their indefatigable community service, inspired leadership and generous philanthropy. Mary’s commitment to the arts led her to LACC’s Board of Directors in 2006, where she has since championed a choral music experience for all children. Among her many significant accomplishments, Mary spearheaded the effort to create and fund LACC’s Young Men’s Ensemble for boys with changing voices, now in its fourth year. Since 2001, Carlton’s company Razor® USA has been a major supporter of children’s causes. Through their vast breadth of support, Mary and Carlton have helped to secure the Chorus’ strength and artistic vibrancy for generations to come.
Gala tickets are $350 per person with special sponsorship packages available. The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, which is one of the theatres at the Music Center, is located at 135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90012. For tickets and information, please call (626) 793-4231 or visit www.lachildrenschorus.org.
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Described as “astonishingly polished,” “hauntingly beautiful,” and “one heck of a talented group of kids,” LOS ANGELES CHILDREN’S CHORUS is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost children's choirs. Founded in 1986 and currently led by Artistic Director Anne Tomlinson, LACC performs with such leading organizations as LA Opera, LA Phil, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, LA Master Chorale, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony and POPs and Calder Quartet. The chorus' roster includes more than 400 children aged 6-18 from more than 55 communities across Los Angeles in six choirs and a program of First Experiences in Singing classes and ensemble for young singers. LACC has toured North and South America, Africa, China and Europe, and produced the world-premiere of Keepers of the Night, an opera by Peter Ash and Donald Sturrock. The chorus appeared on LA Master Chorale’s Decca recording A Good Understanding, and Plácido Domingo’s Deutsche Grammophon recording Amore Infinito ("Infinite Love") and, in 2011, gave the U.S. premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Dona Nobis Pacem. The subject of a trilogy of documentaries by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mock, LACC is featured in the Academy Award-nominated Sing!, about a year in the life of the choir; Sing Opera!, documenting the production of LACC’s commissioned family opera Keepers of the Night; and Sing China!, chronicling its groundbreaking tour to China just prior to the Beijing Olympics. LACC has performed with John Mayer on NBC's “The Tonight Show” and was featured on Public Radio International's nationally syndicated show “From the Top,” among other credits.
ASHLEY BROWN recently reprised her title role in “Mary Poppins” on Broadway for which she received Outer Critics, Drama League and Drama Desk nominations for Best Actress. Brown also starred as Mary Poppins in the national tour of the hit musical, for which she garnered a 2010 Garland award for “Best Performance in a Musical.” Brown also played the role of Belle in "The Beauty and The Beast" on Broadway and starred in the national tour of Disney's "On The Record." She recently starred as Magnolia opposite Nathan Gunn in Francesca Zembello’s “Showboat” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and is returning this spring to star as Laurey in “Oklahoma.” Brown has appeared with numerous orchestras, including the Boston Pops, the New York Philharmonic, The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra at Disney Hall, the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, the Philly Pops, the BBC orchestra, opposite Josh Groban, the Cincinnati Pops, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Seattle, Fort Worth, Houston and Vancouver symphonies. She also recently made her solo concert debut at The Kennedy Center as part of Barbara Cook’s Spotlight Series, and has appeared in New York City at such prestigious venues as Feinstein’s at the Regency and Birdland. Other projects include a star turn at the La Jolla Playhouse in a production of “Limelight,” “Sound of Music” at the St. Louis MUNY, for which she garnered a Kevin Kline award, and her own PBS special called, “Ashley Brown: Call Me Irresponsible,” which received a PBS Telly Award. Brown’s album of Broadway and American Songbook standards is available on Ghostlight/Sony.
Gala Bel Canto Emcee LEONARD MALTIN is one of the most recognized and respected film critics of our time. He recently completed his 30th season with the long-running television show, Entertainment Tonight. An established author, he is best known for his annual paperback reference, Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide, a perennial best-seller. His companion volume, Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, focuses on movies made before 1965, going back to the silent era. Among his other books are The Best 151 Movies You’ve Never Seen, The Disney Films and Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons. His weekly program Maltin on Movies on ReelzChannel features reviews and interviews. He also previews movies-on-demand on Comcast and appears regularly on Turner Classic Movies. A prolific freelance writer, Maltin’s articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The London Times, Smithsonian, TV Guide and Esquire, among others. He has taught at the USC School of Cinematic Arts for fifteen years. Additionally, Maltin frequently lectures on film and was a member of the faculty of New York City's New School for Social Research for nine years. Maltin created, hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has written a number of television specials, including Fantasia: The Creation of a Disney Classic. In 2006 he was named by the Librarian of Congress to join the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation and has also been honored by the American Society of Cinematographers, Anthology Film Archives, The Society of Cinephiles and the Telluride Film Festival. In 1997 he was made a voting member of the National Film Registry, which selects 25 landmark American films each year. Perhaps the greatest indication of his fame was his appearance in a now-classic episode of the animated series South Park. He holds court at www.leonardmaltin.com and shares his life, and his love of movies, with his wife Alice and daughter Jessie.