Town Talk Features

Sing for Siteman

Every year, more than 1 million people throughout the country receive a cancer diagnosis, and countless more are impacted by the disease. Since launching in 2010, the Sing for Siteman musical event has featured world-renowned artists performing to honor cancer patients and benefit research at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. “Cancer knows no boundaries; it affects people from all walks of life,” says Amber Simpson, a member of the event’s steering committee. “We can build a community from these shared experiences and support a great cause.”

Simpson personally understands the importance of the work being done at the cancer center. Her grandmother was treated there, and the experience left a lasting impression on her entire family. “Doctors and staff created a safe and welcoming environment and helped her understand her treatment,” she recalls. “It can be very overwhelming and scary to just consider cancer, but Siteman provided support every step of the way.”

Siteman medical oncologist Dr. Kathy Weilbaecher says Sing for Siteman also is impactful for researchers and doctors. “It’s a very inspiring evening that brings people together to support the center’s mission,” she notes. “As doctors, we can hear patients’ stories and see how much people care. It makes me proud to work here and be part of a community that supports what we do.”

All of the proceeds from the event benefit the cancer center’s Discovery Fund, which allows Siteman to recruit faculty and researchers, acquire the latest research equipment and tools, and support new research projects. “It provides money for scientists and clinicians who have really innovative ideas that can be difficult to fund,” Weilbaecher says. “Breakthroughs like personalized cancer vaccines would not be possible without Sing for Siteman.” She adds that the funds also help underserved patients access the care they need. 

The evening will include a varied repertoire of music, ranging from opera to Broadway standards to popular songs. In partnership with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the talented performers taking the stage are tenor Moises Salazar, soprano Katerina Burton and mezzo-soprano Zaray Rodriguez. They will be joined by The Sheldon All-Star Chorus and young artists from The Bach Society of Saint Louis. “With wonderful talent and all genres of music, there is truly something for everyone,” Simpson says. In celebration of its 11th year, the event also will include testimonials from 11 cancer patients and their families prior to the performance.

The concert is March 14 at the Performing Arts Center at John Burroughs School. The evening begins with a reception featuring wine and hors d’oeuvres at 6 p.m. The performance starts at 7 p.m., and a meet-and-greet with the artists immediately follows at 8 p.m. For tickets and information, contact the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis box office at 314.961.0644 or visit singforsiteman.org.

Pictured at top: Zaray Rodriguez, Moises Salazar, Katerina Burton
Photos courtesy of Sing for Siteman

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