Sing for Siteman 2019
Like so many, Carol Wong has a cancer story. Shortly after her father passed away from liver cancer, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. This deeply personal connection to the disease gave her a real understanding of the importance of organizations like the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. An internationally lauded concert pianist, Wong wanted to use her talents to help raise funds. In 2010, she debuted Sing for Siteman, a unique musical event that features world-renowned artists performing to honor cancer patients and benefit research at Siteman.
This year marks the event’s 10th anniversary, and Christine Brewer will serve as the special guest host. The Grammy Award-winning musician has performed around the world and was named one of the top sopranos of all time by BBC Music. She started her professional career right here in the StL with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. The company is a vital partner of Sing for Siteman, providing world-class performers to ensure a memorable evening. “It’s a great project for Opera Theatre to support for the St. Louis community,” Brewer says. “Any chance I can sing with them is always a pleasure, but I am especially honored to be part of this event.”
This is Brewer’s first year with Sing for Siteman, but she also has a personal connection to the cause. “I have friends who have battled cancer and have been treated at Siteman,” she says. “I know we still need so much research in that field.” And she is well aware of the power of music. “I like to think of myself as a storyteller, and no matter where I am in the world, I love to share my music and stories with others,” she says. “Music is important on so many levels, but when we all sing together, it’s a joyful, healing experience.”
Brewer will be joined by four singers from Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and the event will include a special performance by Kennedy Holmes, who recently appeared as a finalist on The Voice. The evening features a varied repertoire, including pop, opera and show tunes. “We’re going to be sharing songs that are close to our hearts,” Brewer says. “People can expect a fun, exciting evening full of music.”
All of the proceeds from the event benefit Siteman’s Discovery Fund, which allows the center to recruit faculty and researchers, acquire the latest research equipment and tools, and support new research projects. The support is leveraged at a rate of 25 to 1, meaning that for every $1 invested, an additional $25 is obtained through organizations such as the National Institutes of Health. Without the initial Discovery Fund investments, secondary funding often is unattainable. In some instances, the most innovative ideas do not qualify for traditional grant funding, making donations a crucial part of groundbreaking options for patients.
The concert will be March 29 at the Performing Arts Center at John Burroughs School and is presented by Centene Charitable Foundation and hosted by Edward Jones. The evening begins with a reception featuring wine and hors d’oeuvres at 6:30 p.m. The performance starts at 7:30 p.m., and a meet-and-greet with the artists is immediately following at 8:30 p.m.
When attendees purchase tickets, they will be entered for an opportunity to win an Alexandra Clancy luxury handbag. Tickets are $100 for preferred seating, $50 for general seating and $25 for students. For tickets and information, contact the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis box office at 314.961.0644 or visit singforsiteman.org.
Pictured at top: Susannah Biller and Christine Brewer