LSM Newswire

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

NAC Gala (with PM Stephen Harper) raises $575,000

National Arts Centre’s annual Gala raises $575,000 for the NAC’s National Youth and Education Trust Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes a surprise appearance singing in concert with Yo-Yo Ma


Ottawa, Canada – The National Arts Centre’s 2009 Gala has raised an impressive $575,000 for the National Arts Centre Foundation’s National Youth and Education Trust. It also featured a surprise performance by Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper singing in concert with Yo-Yo Ma! The National Youth and Education Trust provides funds for the NAC’s wide array of performing arts programming for young artists, young audiences and schools.

The NAC Gala on Saturday, October 3 had been sold out for months with audiences looking forward to an evening with superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma, NAC Music Director Pinchas Zukerman and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, along with rising star pianist Avan Yu. Yo-Yo Ma together with Avan Yu had already thrilled the standing-room-only crowd with an encore duet at the end of the first half. Then to their astonishment and delight, Yo-Yo Ma led out Prime Minister Stephen Harper for an surprise performance of “I’ll Get By With a Little Help From my Friends” backed by cellist Ma and the local group Herringbone. The Prime Minister’s wife Laureen Harper was the Honourary Chair of the Gala.

TELUS, Founding Partner of the National Youth and Education Trust, was once again the Presenting Sponsor of the Gala – a commitment that reflects TELUS’s continuing support of this primary resource for supporting the artistic development of young Canadians through educational materials, professional training, mentoring programs and young audience performances. The Trust is also supported by Michael Potter, supporters and patrons of the National Arts Centre Gala, and members of the NAC Foundation’s Donors’ Circle.

In addition to TELUS as the Presenting Sponsor, the Gala is supported by A&E, University of Ottawa and TD Bank Financial Group. Media partners are the Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Business Journal, Le Droit, Embassy Newspaper and The Hill Times.

The Gala Committee was chaired for the fourth year by Janet Yale, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs of TELUS, the Presenting Sponsor of the Gala, and Founding Partner of the National Youth and Education Trust.

Janet Yale said: “What a thrilling night! To have the privilege of being able to see such consummate performers as Yo-Yo Ma and Pinchas Zukerman and our own NAC Orchestra share the stage with pianist Avan Yu, a shining example of the next generation of artists, is exactly what this Gala is all about. It is wonderful to have our community, including our Honourary Gala Chair Laureen Harper and our surprise guest performer Stephen Harper, come together in this way to show their support for this fantastic cause.”

Jayne Watson in her new role as NAC Foundation CEO added: “I am so grateful to all the supporters of the National Youth and Education Trust who have demonstrated through their attendance at this Gala just how important a place the arts have in their lives. Janet Yale and the Gala Committee have really done us proud by raising such an impressive amount in these challenging economic times. I applaud Pinchas Zukerman and the musicians of the NAC Orchestra for donating their services for the Gala, and also Yo-Yo Ma who took time on the afternoon of the Gala to give a workshop to local music students.”

The crowd of over 2,100 included ambassadors, cabinet ministers, senators and members of Canada’s corporate elite. A luxurious wine and canapé reception in the lavishly decorated NAC Foyer was followed by the concert which featured Yo-Yo Ma performing the Dvorák Cello Concerto with the National Arts Centre led by Pinchas Zukerman. To conclude the evening, 650 Gala guests on the transformed Southam Hall stage dined on a spectacular gourmet dinner created by the NAC’s new Executive Chef Michael Blackie.

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