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$1 million gift boosts support for Songbook Foundation

7/30/2019 12AM

Sharing a mock toast to announce the gift to the Songbook Foundation are board member and donor Paul Lowden, Foundation Founder Michael Feinstein, donor Sue Lowden, Foundation Board Chair Carolyn Anker, and Center for the Performing Arts President/CEO Jeffrey McDermott. Not pictured is Foundation Executive Director Christopher Lewis.


Star-studded events in NY, LA, Indiana raise awareness and donations
for music preservation initiative launched by Michael Feinstein


CARMEL, IN – Five-time Grammy Award nominee Michael Feinstein and a handful of friends have pledged $1 million to support the Great American Songbook Foundation, the nonprofit organization he founded in 2007 to preserve and celebrate the legacy of our nation’s timeless popular music.


The gift was announced July 20 at the climactic finals concert of the 10th annual Songbook Academy® summer intensive, which brings 40 of the nation’s top high school vocalists to the Foundation’s headquarters, the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, for a week of workshops, masterclasses and mentoring from entertainment professionals and leading arts educators. Along with Feinstein himself, this year’s mentors and instructors included Broadway stars Laura Osnes and Michael McElroy and Grammy Award winners Melissa Manchester and Sylvia McNair.


Songbook Foundation Executive Director Christopher Lewis (at right) announced the gift and offered his gratitude to the donors: Feinstein and his husband, Terrence Flannery; frequent Songbook Academy mentor Marc Cherry, creator and executive producer of ABC's Desperate Housewives and the new CBS Original Series Why Women Kill; and Foundation board member Paul Lowden and his wife, Sue, residents of Las Vegas.


“We are forever grateful for their support,” Lewis said. “Their generosity will raise awareness about our ongoing work in preserving this important cultural history and introducing this music and its creators to future generations.”


The announcement comes on the heels of two highly successful private events conducted to expand support for the Songbook Foundation.


On March 31 in Beverly Hills, CA, entertainment industry veterans Kevin and Neil Goetz hosted an intimate evening honoring legendary performer and Great American Songbook Hall of Fame inductee Liza Minnelli that featured appearances by Feinstein, Manchester, Alan Bergman, George Hamilton, Broadway star Rachel York and 2017 Songbook Academy award winner Finn Sagal. The event raised over $100,000 for the Songbook Foundation and the nonprofit Treatment Action Group. Minnelli delighted the crowd with a surprise rendition of her signature song, “New York, New York.”


On May 20 in New York City, arts patron Vivian Serota hosted an event at her Park Avenue home that featured performances by Feinstein, Osnes, Tony Award winners Christine Ebersole and Ben Vereen, Songbook Hall of Fame inductee Marilyn Maye and 2018 Songbook Academy award winner Anaïs Reno. The event raised over $50,000 for the Songbook Academy.


About the Great American Songbook Foundation

The mission of the Great American Songbook Foundation, founded in 2007 by five-time Grammy® Award nominee Michael Feinstein, is to inspire and educate by celebrating the Great American Songbook – the timeless standards of pop, jazz, Broadway and Hollywood. The Foundation preserves and elevates this rich legacy by curating physical artifacts of its creators, performers and publishers; offering programs for the public and research opportunities for scholars, historians and performers; providing educational opportunities and multidisciplinary curricula for student musicians, including the annual Songbook Academy® summer intensive; overseeing the Songbook Hall of Fame; and operating a multimedia gallery for public exhibition of its collections. The Foundation is a Cultural Affiliate of the Los Angeles-based Grammy Museum®. More information is available at