I have not posted for a while because I have been so busy with work – specifically an annual event that is fun and exciting – but a also a whole lot of work!
My motivation for starting this blog a few months ago was to find a personal creative outlet to counter balance my day to day work and life. This was to be a place where I could write, document, muse, think and give a visual picture to all things creative either in my life, or wishful thinking for my life. I do talk about the purpose a wee bit in the About me section of the blog- I refer ever so slightly to my work – the way I earn a living – which has been so fulfilling for me as it is a way to live out a passion for people and for service. For those of you who don’t know – I lead the public relations/communication/revenue generating area for an international humanitarian organization that works primarily in Africa.
Although generating revenue is not easy and can be stressful – there is a wonderful fun side – and that is being involved in planning a great event that raises a bunch of money and gives the opportunity to not only work with amazing people – but meet interesting and well known people. This event provides a great inspirational evening for people to get involved in work that changes lives for the better all over the world.
This past Sunday we hosted a black tie gala event to raise money for on the ground medical care and treatment and ongoing research for HIV/AIDS specifically as it relates to those living in Africa. We raised close to $900K – each dollar helping to save lives and give people hope in Malawi, Africa. The evening is a very special event – a beautiful venue, and great talent and celebrity involvement. I have to say that this is one of the most interesting parts of my job – meeting people that I would never have the opportunity to meet otherwise.
I had the privilege of sitting with John Legend who performed for the evening. He was just wonderful! Of course he sang “Ordinary People” – how could he not.
I asked him while we were eating dinner, what he was going to perform – and his response surprised me – he said “I don’t know” “I will figure that out when I sit down at the piano”. My response to him “You are a true performer – you sing what feels right at the moment ” He smiled knowingly at me and nodded – because he knew I understood why he did that – he lives by inspiration – and that is the mark of a creative performer. Not to say that those who like to be fully prepared and scripted are not creative – they do the creative part prior to the scripting in order to produce quality during the performance. John Legend performs by inspiration – he just happens to be good enough to pull that off with perfection!
And then there is Cheyenne Jackson – who I have fully fallen in love with.
Some may not know Cheyenne yet – but you will soon – he is just that good. He has performed on Glee, Thirty Rock, and Broadway – and has a voice that melts you like butter – the tone and quality is amazing – but it is more than that – it is the performance – he pulls you in so that you are with him the whole way – you are transfixed and enveloped in the music – he is fantastic.
And more than an amazing voice – he is a wonderful person- so kind, so generous, so open, and caring. I met him last year at this very event and sat next to him at dinner – and then again at a small kickoff event for this years event. And he doesn’t forget you – which is so nice for someone that I am sure meets people all the time – all I can say is he is a lovely person. He sang a Diana Krall arrangement of Joni Mitchell’s song “A Case of You” which was a nod to Canada. He sat on the stage steps and had us all in the palm of his hands as he opened the evening with this amazing song. He chose it specifically for us – because of its Canadian roots – and that alone speaks to his care not only for his performance – but for his audience. He had us in mind. Thank you Cheyenne for giving us this special treat – and as I received in an email following the evening – this was the highlight of the evening for some – in fact one has gone so far as to say it is a highlight in an already full and wonderful life to hear this performed as it was. That is high praise!
Kim Cattrall – one very class act for sure. I can describe her as a beautiful, refined, elegant, shy (surprising I know) and generous woman. Very different from what you would expect after seeing her in character in “Sex and the City”.
Not one to want to take the stage (surprising again I know) she moved to the stage to raise the live auction number and agreed to throw in the dress she was wearing to the auction package and to have dinner with the purchaser – and the she raised the price by thousands just by doing so. Thank you Kim Cattrall – as these dollars go to directly save lives in Africa!
When she agreed to throw in her dress – she said not the shoes – but by the end of the evening – the gorgeous shoes were auctioned as well! I loved Kim Catrrall- she was lovely.
And then there is Kathy Griffin! What can I say about Kathy Griffin that you don’t already know. She is funny and irreverent – and works to shock you – in fact she is so shocking that it isn’t shocking if you know what I mean. She is quite brilliant – and for once you feel like you can laugh because you just don’t know what other reaction to have. You either love her or hate her – most loved her – but if you don’t like her – you really don’t like her at all.
There is no middle ground with Kathy. She raised a lot of money in the auction – she knows how to work a crowd – and she kept the energy moving in the room – there is no doubt about it!
It was a star studded evening – from the moment you arrived at valet parking to the crowds of onlookers hoping to catch a view of John, Kathy and Kim and others on the red carpet – to the end of the evening when your feet were so sore from the shoes you were wearing that all you wanted to do was sit down or crawl into bed.
I’m so thankful for the 500 plus guests who paid a high priced ticket to come and support the work we are doing – so thankful that this event gained media attention – so thankful that funds were raised and awareness was broadened about the fact that people are dying in Africa and they don’t need to die – there is medical care that can reach them – it just takes funds to make that happen!
That is the beauty of the outcome of such an evening. Money was raised and people are more aware about the needs beyond our North American borders! A very good outcome!