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Life and Arts

On the Town: Karaoke fundraiser finds harmony in helping local hospital

Warming up their voices and nerve for an evening of Karaoke fun and fundraising are Natalie Worsham,
Warming up their voices and nerve for an evening of karaoke fun and fundraising are Natalie Worsham, from left, Albert Hernandez and Jessa Freemyer.
(David Laurell / Burbank Leader)

There are few activities that can elicit a sense of pride and accomplishment like working together with others to better your community and the lives of others.

There are also few things that can provide a better laugh or stunned surprise, depending on the singing talent of your friends and colleagues, than to see them take on a karaoke challenge.

This past week, members of the Burbank Noon Rotary brought those activities into harmony as they presented their second annual Rotary Karaoke Bash in the courtyard of Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank.

After welcoming remarks by the organization’s president, Albert Hernandez, and enjoying a dinner and dessert buffet, the evening’s fun and fundraising began.

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Unlike typical karaoke, this one had a twist: For $25, any attendee was given the opportunity to nominate any other attendee to sing a song of their choosing. That individual then had the option to take to the stage and sing the tune or open their wallet and pony up $40 to select a different song or $50 to opt for a complete pass.

Burbank Noon Rotary members Barry Gussow, from left, Brian Volpei and Greg Madore welcomed fellow me
Burbank Noon Rotary members Barry Gussow, from left, Brian Volpei and Greg Madore welcomed fellow members and guests to last week's Second Annual Rotary Karaoke Bash..
(David Laurell / Burbank Leader)

Taking the lead, as any good leader of an organization would do, Hernandez got the festivities started by getting his funk on, along with a red velvet hat and jacket adorned with zebra stripes, and did his best to belt out “Super Freak” by Rick James.

According to Rotarian Barry Gussow, the funds raised at last week’s event will help the group in its continuing support of local nonprofit organizations and schools, as well as help it fulfill the pledge the organization made to the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation.

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“We have pledged to donate $25,000 to the foundation’s Minutes Matter emergency-services campaign,” Gussow said. “We have already given them $10,000, so everything we raise tonight will go toward helping us complete our commitment to this extremely important cause.”

The Minutes Matter emergency-services campaign is part of the foundation’s five-year project to raise funds to establish and build new state-of-the-art emergency and urgent-care facilities at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center.

More than 68,000 people rely annually on the Providence St. Joseph’s emergency medical staff who work in today’s cramped and antiquated 38-year-old emergency room.

Burbank Noon Rotary member Janice Lowers was one of the 150-plus who enjoyed last week’s fundraiser
Burbank Noon Rotary member Janice Lowers was one of the 150-plus who enjoyed last week's fundraiser at Nickelodeon Animation Studios.
(David Laurell / Burbank Leader)

The new facilities will enable them to provide the highest level of medicine with an urgent-care facility located right on campus to unburden emergency care.

The campaign’s goal of raising $70 million will be used to build facilities that will improve triage to reduce wait times, double the number of treatment rooms, which will include isolation rooms, and provide faster diagnostic information to doctors by the use of state-of-the-art communications technologies.

Among the special guests in attendance at last week’s event was Dr. Angelique Campen, a critical care specialist at Providence St. Joseph who serves as the emergency services campaign physician leader and also as a foundation board member.

Other notables in attendance included state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), and former Burbank Mayor Anja Reinke who were welcomed by the event committee, which included Natalie Worsham, Jessa Freemyer, Brian Volpei and Greg Madore.

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David Laurell may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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