The Gloria Estefan Foundation — which promotes education, health and cultural development — recently made a donation of $35,500 to the Gold Medal winning South Florida Youth Symphony (SFYS.net) that will enable 60 young musicians to travel to New York City in February to perform at Carnegie Hall.
The donation, which was revealed to the musicians during a recent fundraising/ public awareness performance at Dadeland Mall, is the single largest donation in the 53-year history of the South Florida Youth Symphony.
“This is just a fantastic donation which will enable all of our musicians, many of which come from underprivileged households and have never even been out of Miami-Dade County, to perform at Carnegie Hall, the mecca of music in America,” said Marjorie Hahn, executive director of the SFYS. “The Youth Symphony has an angel and her name is Gloria Estefan.”
The SFYS, which has never turned away a student because of financial concerns, already had raised $56,000 for the trip, leaving the group $35,500 short of the $91,500 needed to travel to NYC for The Carnegie Hall National Instrumental Festival, Feb. 23-26. The organization had started a GoFundMe page and was reaching out to the South Florida community for assistance.
Then they got the good news.
“On behalf of the Gloria Estefan Foundation, we will gladly fund the remaining balance of $35,500 needed to cover the costs for these young musicians to travel to NYC and perform at Carnegie Hall,” said Frank Amadeo, president of Estefan Enterprises, in a letter to the SFYS Board.
“To say we were stunned — and ecstatic — would not be an understatement,” Hahn said with a smile. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these youngsters and we will be forever grateful to the Gloria Estefan Foundation for making this trip possible.”
When Hahn and SFYS president Patricia Lefebvre “unwrapped” the check during a break in the Dadeland performance, the musicians and their parents went wild, screaming, applauding and hugging each other.
“What a perfect Christmas gift this was to our organization,” said Lefebvre. “The Gloria Estefan Foundation was our Santa Claus.”