Laurel Massé and Julie Wilson
HeartSong: The Concert for New Orleans
October 16, 2005
With plenty of heart and a marathon of song (nearly four hours, no intermission!), the concert HeartSong could hardly have been more aptly titled. One of many music events to help raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina, the October 16 parade of talent at Symphony Space featured mostly cabaret performers. To help both musicians and animals affected by the storm, the ticket sales benefitted New Orleans' Contemporary Arts Center and The Andy Kruzich Animal Welfare Fund. In addition to a cross-section of New York entertainers, several New Orleans musicians presented samplings of that city's earthy and jazzy traditional (and new) sounds.
Emceed by Erv Raible, a co-producer, the show was kept lively with variety in tone. Songs specifically about the city or focusing on survival were balanced by lighter moments, including some comedy. Alex Rybeck ably served as Music Coordinator, playing piano for many of the artists.
Between Julie Gold's opening, singing and playing her own "From a Distance" to Brent Barrett's closing "Headin' for New Orleans," there were memories shared about the city and bittersweet moments, but it was mostly an upbeat evening including everything from Broadway songs to "Amazing Grace." With members of New Orleans' music community present in the front row and elsewhere, there was a sense of community, one city helping another....and an audience helping itself to a very satisfying evening of entertainment.

Laurel Massé Ann Hampton Callaway and Janis Siegel

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