“If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it.”
So said former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson once upon a time. The theme is at the forefront of the arts. Everyone knows that opera, among other art forms, and its future relies on it being passed from one generation to the next. But that isn’t the only important aspect of the transference, but also how the arts themselves can develop and further the education of the younger generation.
So it was that this dialogue hung in the air on the night of Dec. 12, 2017, in Tribeca at an event held by Time In Kids. The event, entitled “Puccini with Passion” was hosted by Dana Tang, Andy Darrell, and Lily and Wilson Ervin, and was a benefit concert for the Time In Kids Arts Initiative, an organization that aims to “ transform the lives and learning of chronically disadvantaged public school children, ensuring that equality, opportunity and access – to the arts and through the arts – become staples of public education. Not only did the event feature the artwork created by some of the children within its ranks, but also a special musical performance by superstar soprano Ailyn Pérez, internationally-renowned tenor Brian Jagde, and pianist and Metropolitan Opera Assistant Conductor Bryan Wagorn.
Also in attendance were a wide range of prominent arts patrons as well as leaders of major foundations, such as the Richard Tucker Foundations’ Barry Tucker and Hildegard Behrens Foundation Founder and Chairman Gastón Ormazábal, among others.
The two singers have been very much involved with the organization with the soprano starting her collaboration in Spring 2016. She has been a massive proponent of the organization, working with them personally and inviting other colleagues to help out. She is on the Advisory Board and has been very active in involving other singers, advocating for the program with funders.
One such colleague was Jagde, whose first involvement with Time In Kids came on Dec. 13, 2016 (that’s one year ago as of the publication of this article). During that session, which you can read all about here, he taught and performed from “West Side Story.”
Prior to the performance, guests churned in slowly but surely, eventually filling space. A piano stood in one corner of a living room space by a number of windows from which one could see a gorgeous skyline of New York City’s iconic skyscrapers in their nocturnal splendor. Around the piano were a number of chairs set up for an intimate concert and around 8 p.m. everyone was asked to take a seat in anticipation.