"When you change someone's life. you change your own... "
from Brooklyn the Musical"
Voices For Hope came from a 2005 discussion by Jim Schaffer and Bill Pere on
ways to raise funds and awareness about homelessness. It is an example
of the power of collaboration between people and organizations.
In 2006, through the efforts of Schaffer, LUNCH and
another nonprofit, New Generations Ministries, partnered with the
national tour of the successful Broadway show, Brooklyn the Musical,
and the Bushnell in Hartford to launch Voices for Hope.
The event invited vocalists between the ages of 12 and 18 to
submit an a capella recording of any song. They were judged by
industry pros on vocal ability and passion.
Entries were received from all over Connecticut, and from
Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Texas.
Fifteen finalists were selected through two rounds of judging by noted
Broadway professionals, including Brooklyn music director John
McDaniel. On June 3, 2006, the fifteen finalists auditioned live
at the Bushnell in front of a panel of industry judges, including Bill and
Eight winners were selected, each getting a chance
to appear live on stage and sing with the cast of Brooklyn, at
one of the eight Hartford performances. All fifteen finalists
were offered opportunities to sing and record with LUNCH, including a
special CD and an appearance at the Schubert Theater in New Haven.
Several have decided to become involved in our LUNCH outreach through music.
LUNCH was very proud to have one of our own, Rachelle
Seney, as one of the eight winners. Rachelle appeared in the June 25th
performance of Brooklyn and truly sparkled. The Brooklyn
cast included the legendary Melba Moore, ( Les Miserables, Hair ) and
American Idol runner up Diana DeGarmo in the title role.
Kay Pere, (Rachelle's voice coach), Diana DeGarmo, who plays
Brooklyn, and Rachelle Seney after the final Hartford performance of
Brooklyn the Musical
In the brief 3-week span for Voices For Hope entries,
almost $3,000 was raised for social service programs. More
support will be generated by the compilation CD and future Voices For Hope
events. And in addition, we helped many people to see
the issue of homelessness in a new way.
A high point for Bill Pere was meeting Mark Schonefeld, the
creator of Brooklyn the Musical. Mark had at one time been a homeless
street performer. Mark said that he greatly appreciated
the work that LUNCH does.
(left to right)
Kay Pere, Mark's wife, Mark Schoenfeld, and Bill Pere on
opening night of
Brooklyn the Musical at the Bushnell
Voices For Hope winner Jaclyn Sabogal (center) visits Bill Pere and Kay Pere
at their studio to work on recording. Jaclyn recorded "The Dream Held
In Your Eyes", for release on the CD "Dare to Dream", January 2007
Bill and Kay are involving many of the Voices For Hope entrants
in their programs and projects.
VFH winner Rachelle Seney (2nd row second from left) and VFH
semi-finalist Amanda Sullivan (front row, far right) at
the LUNCH 2006 Summer Music Camp
Kay Pere with VHF entrant Bridgette Saluk
VFH Semi-Finalist Amanda Sullivan participates in a LUNCH presentation
Key Pere with VFH Entrant
Bill Pere with VFH Entrant Meg Foballe
Kay and Billl Pere with VFH Finalists
Jaclyn Sabogal and Meg Foballes sing at a LUNCH gathering
VFH Entrant Cara McDonald participates in a LUNCH Hunger Awareness
In June 2007, The Voices of Hope participants were invited to appear
at the Shubert Theater in New Haven in a concert with the LUNCH Ensemble and
the platinum recording artists of the original Harry Chapin Band. The
group debuted the song "Time at the Table" written for the occasion by Kay
Pere and Bill Pere .
Julie Novak, a 2006 finalist, sings with LUNCH at the Shubert
Theater with other VFH participants
VFH participants practice with Kay before showtime at the Shubert
On stage at the Shubert to a standing ovation
For some VFH-related Press Articles, click
Sincere thanks and
appreciation from LUNCH goes out to Brooklyn the Musical,
The Bushnell, Jim Schaffer, DJ Maestro, New Generations
Ministries, Skye Communications, The Connecticut Songwriting Academy, and the many folks who helped make
this project a great success.