By: Skip Sheffield
Natalie Cole joins her younger sisters Casey and Timolin of Boca Raton for the third annual Generations concert March 1 at Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University. The event benefits Nat King Cole Generation Hope, a non-profit organization founded in 2008 to further the cause of music education.
The Cole twins grew up inLos Angelesimmersed in music. They were only 3-and-a-half years old when their famous father died in 1965 at age 45, but because singer Nat “King’ Cole was so beloved his musical contemporaries often visited.
“Duke Ellington introduced us to piano,” reveals Casey. “I’m sad to say we didn’t stick with it.”
“We dreaded lessons with our teacher,” admits Timolin. “But our house was always filled with wonderful music. Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte and John Williams were all good friends.”
Casey and Timolin were reunited inBoca Ratona little over ten years ago when they relocated here. When they learned of budget cuts in public schools affecting the arts- specifically music- they decided to start a foundation dedicated to musical education while perpetuating the memory of their father. Since its inception, Nat King Cole Generation Hope has dispersed more than $66,000 benefiting more than 5,000 children with “the greatest need and fewest resources” inPalm Beach, Broward andDadeCounties.
This past July, the Cole Foundation partnered withLynnUniversityto sponsor a first summer strings camp. Some of the 105 graduates of that camp will perform at the March 1 concert.
“It seems when budget cuts are being made, strings are always the first to go,” says Timolin. “We were so fortunate to be able to partner withLynnUniversityand their Conservatory of Music. Dr. Jon Robertson has been wonderful. It is so gratifying when kids are able to see what they can do. Some of these kids didn’t know if they could play in an orchestra.”
The success of the strings camp was tempered with the sorrow of the passing of the Cole sisters’ beloved mother Maria Cole just three days before the finale concert of the week-long camp.
“Natalie came to Boca when our mother passed, and she was able to see what we are doing with the foundation,” said Casey. “That’s when we began making plans to have Natalie featured at our next benefit concert. She supports us fully.”
Natalie Cole is also performing atBrowardCenterandKravisCenter, but theBoca Ratonconcert is an up-close and personal exclusive. The event begins at 7 p.m., at which time audience members can see items on display for a silent auction. These include a portrait of Nat King Cole by Salvatore Principe, a vintage handbag from Maria Cole’s wardrobe, and limited edition signed prints of the artists who performed and recorded “We Are the World.”
VIP tickets are $350, which includes premium seating, an open bar at the Celebrity Cruises pre-concert reception, a meet-and-greet with performers and a dessert reception. Donor tickets are $150 and include priority seating and two drinks. General admission seats are $75.
CallLynnUniversitybox office at 561-237-9000 or Nat King Cole Generation Hope at 561-213-8209 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.