During the Hollywood Bowl’s season-opening night, which was headlined by 10-time Grammy winner John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, the singer-songwriter’s wife, quietly slipped into a table close to the stage with their children, Luna, 3, and Miles, 1, in tow.
Not much farther back, Grammy-winning composer and producer Quincy Jones settled into a Garden Box seat after having spent some time with Legend and Teigen backstage. A longtime friend of the couple, Jones said he had attended their 2013 wedding in Lake Como, Italy.
As for the Hollywood Bowl, “I come here all the time,” Jones said during intermission. “I come to the shows. I play here. And I’ll never stop.” He then added, “Frank Sinatra used to tell me, ‘Live every day like it’s your last, because one day that will be right.’”
The Hollywood Bowl kicked off its 2019 summer season Saturday with performances by YOLA (the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles) and the Emmy-, Grammy-, Oscar- and Tony-winning Legend, one of only 15 artists to achieve EGOT status and the second youngest to do so.
Beginning with a private VIP reception for event patrons who were served a chicken paillard dinner on sustainable bamboo plates in their Garden Boxes, the evening raised more than $1.7 million for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its music learning programs.
Conductor Thomas Wilkins and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra opened the show, later accompanying YOLA, as well as Legend and his band. Between musical performances, Wilkins spoke of the L.A. Phil’s music programs for the city’s youngsters, calling them, “not education programs, but learning programs.”
“Education doesn’t succeed when we merely teach our children how to get jobs,” he said. “Education is a success when we teach our children to love learning.” Wilkins then announced the recent groundbreaking of the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center in Inglewood, designed by architect Frank Gehry. When completed, it will serve as the youth program’s first permanent, purpose-built facility.
In a peacock-blue tailcoat, Legend delivered a generous sampling of his hits: “Tonight (Best You Ever Had),” “Love Me Now,” “You & I (Nobody in the World),” “All of Me” and more, interspersed with covers of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and an a cappella version of the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows.”
As a surprise finale, rapper Common stepped onto the stage joining Legend, who had changed into a fire-engine red look, for the duo’s Oscar-winning collaboration, “Glory,” set against a fireworks backdrop.
Among others in attendance were L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, L.A. County Board Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and L.A. Phil Executive Director Gail Samuel.
Kawanna Brown, Andrea Chao-Kharma, Joseph Plascencia and Monique and Jonathan Kagan served as gala chairs with committee members including Jane and Michael Eisner, Lynn Booth and Kent Kresa, Linda May and Jack Suzar, Alyce de Roulet Williamson and Gregory Adams of title sponsor Kaiser Permanente.
Tickets for the 600 patrons ranged from $690 each to $16,500 for six-seat packages. Concert tickets alone sold from $26 to $300. More than 17,000 people attended the sold-out evening.
Ellen Olivier is the founder of Society News LA.
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