Last week marked the 50th Anniversary of Tony Bennett’s first performance at the Hollywood Bowl. Just shy of his 91st birthday, he was full of vitality, showmanship and humility. The pre-eminent singer of the 20th and 21st Century, and last of his generation, Bennett was joined by musical icons and close friends Lady Gaga and Gustavo Dudamel, two other leaders in their own musical genres. The show was fantastic. Then again, how can you not fall in love with Tony Bennett. He sings like he is speaking to your heart.
Beyond their collective stature and talents as top-of-class musical artists and performers, I am most impressed by what amazing human beings Bennett, Dudamel, and Gaga are, contributing as much to their humanitarian work as they do to their careers. While I haven’t had the pleasure of working directly with Mr. Bennett, I have worked with Lady Gaga’s Foundation to help teens across American through Social and Emotional Learning programs, and have witnessed Dudamel’s work with Il Systema in Venezuela and his commitment to bring that highly successful Youth Orchestra model for the underprivileged communities to Los Angeles through YOLA and HOLA.
When it comes to Humanitarian work, and helping others to find the American Dream he has lived, Tony Bennett breathes it. Beyond being a one of the brightest torches for the Great American Songbook, a genius of a performer, a humanitarian, and a voice that will go down in history, Tony Bennett is a walking, smiling heart of gold.
You can read a great profile on Tony Bennett and his career at www.hollywoodbowl.com/philpedia/tony-bennett