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2015 Concert

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Join the Spirit: Sunday, June 14, 2015 – 7:00 pm @ The Saban Theater, Beverly Hills

A World Humanitarian Aid concert to benefit Augie’s Quest, an aggressive, cure-driven effort focused on finding treatments and cures for ALS. The gala event will star Grammy-nominated John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting, as well as an inspiring collection of musicians, artists, celebrities, and luminaries. Other performers will include theatre and concert star, Lizzie Weiss, and KindredSPIRITS’ founder, renowned tenor, Ilan Davidson; the NEW Kindred Spirits Orchestra conducted by Dr. Noreen Green and under the musical direction of renowned orchestrator and pianist, Chris Hardin, both of whom have been an integral part of KindredSPIRITS since its inception. Celebrity guest appearances will also add to the excitement of the evening.

Featuring

The Saban Theatre - Beverly Hills

Originally named the Fox Wilshire, opened its doors on September 19, 1930.  Designed by renowned theater architect S. Charles Lee, the Fox Wilshire building serves as an interesting example of Lee’s early Art Deco style. With its rich plaster work and heavy sculpture, this theatre is reminiscent of Lee’s other early work like the Baroque masterpiece The Los Angeles Theater and the Tower. Lee would later become famous for his clean simple Art Deco lines with theaters like the Bruin and the Academy Theater.

Now named Saban Theatre is open for theatrical rentals, concerts, television shoots, parties and more. It has seen many exciting productions including Billy Crystal’s “700 Sundays,” Chris Botti Live in Concert featuring Sting and Paula Cole, The Australian Pink Floyd Show and HBO’s Def Comedy Jam featuring Dave Chappelle.

Augie's Quest

Augie's Quest
The purpose of Augie’s Quest has always been to fund research and drug development aimed at ending ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Since 2007, Augie’s Quest has raised over $44 million in support of finding effective ALS treatments- making it the largest individual fundraising program for ALS!

All funds raised by Augie’s Quest benefit ALS TDI, the world’s largest ALS-dedicated drug development organization. Support comes from a huge network of national events and promotions, including the BASH for Augie’s Quest, Tradition of Hope Gala and widely successful campaigns within the very generous fitness industry, such as the Clubs for the Quest, as well as a hugely innovative joint-fundraising initiative called the ClubCorp Charity Classic which benefits Augie’s Quest and other local charities chosen by that networks members directly.

The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) is the world’s leader in ALS research. Our mission has precise focus: to discover and develop effective treatments to end ALS. As a nonprofit biotech, ALS TDI combines the ambition and strategy of a pharmaceutical company with the dedicated spirit of a 501c3, with incredible flexibility to expedite promising potential treatments from lab bench to people living with the disease today. Founded by a patient and his family, and featuring PALS and their loved ones in the highest leadership roles, a sense of urgency and perseverance drives every decision made at the Cambridge, MA-based institute.

Augie Nieto

Augie Nieto is the co-founder of Life Fitness, the global leader in the fitness industry. Today, Life Fitness continues to be on the cutting edge of technology and fitness equipment design. Augie was one of the original pioneers in the fitness industry and was president of Life Fitness for nearly 25 years. Life Fitness was acquired by Brunswick Corporation in 1997.

Currently, Augie is the Chairman of Octane Fitness, a manufacturer dedicated solely to elliptical fitness machines. He serves as an operating advisor to North Castle Partners, a private equity firm and is on the board of Curves as well as Jenny Craig. Augie formerly served on the board of Quest Software, where he was one of four members of its ‘Special Committee’ that negotiated the sale of Quest Software to Dell Computers in 2012. He also served on the board of Dynavox Systems, a developer of speech generating systems.

Augie is Chairman of the Board of the ALS Therapy Development Institute in Cambridge, MA, the worlds largest ALS dedicated drug development organization. He is the Chief Inspirational Officer for Augie’s Quest, an aggressive, cure-driven, internatonal fundraising effort, having raised over $44 million to date to fund research at the ALS Therapy Development Institute.

Augie lives in Corona del Mar, California with his wife Lynne and dog Hazel. He has four adult, married children and two grand babies.

2015 Concert Performers

  • Cantor Ilan Davidson
    Cantor Ilan Davidson

    Cantor Ilan Davidson has been pleasing audiences with his singing since before he could read. At age five, he began singing with his Cantor, Philip Moddel, and hasn’t shut up since. At ten, he made his Operatic debut with the Fullerton Civic Light Opera’s production of Bizet’s Carmen, as a street urchin. Since then, he has performed roles in and scenes from Die Zauberflote, Don Giovanni, Gianni Schicchi, L’Elisir D’amore, Les Pecheurs du Perles, and Manon, to name a few.

    Besides his Operatic experience, Cantor Davidson also has extensive background, performing and directing theatre. He has performed such roles as Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls and Tony in Westside Story, and has produced many one man musical theatre reviews. Ilan has also been the musical and artistic director for many children’s theatre productions.

    Among his many accomplishments, Cantor Davidson is also known as a contemporary Jewish songwriter and performer, having delighted audiences all over the world, including Israel and Lithuania with the soulful sounds of his music. As the owner of Davidsound Productions, the Cantor has produced many recordings, including his first original album, Stained Glass, in 1995. Most recently, Ilan’s band, The Moody Jews, released In A Hanukkah Mood. The Moody Jews are working on two more recordings in 2009, including Still In A Hanukkah Mood, a CD of new, original Hanukkah melodies.

    After making the choice in 1991 to pursue a career in Jewish Education, Youth Work, and the Cantorate, Cantor Davidson left the stage and in 1995 joined the Temple Beth El family, in San Pedro, where he has brought many new programs and much enthusiasm to the community. In 2007, Cantor Davidson founded KindredSPIRITS, a non-profit humanitarian organization that inspires and educates diverse communities to support its global partners. The inaugural event premiered June 5, 2008 at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Whether it is Hazzanut, Pop, Opera, Musical Theatre, or Folk music, Cantor Ilan Davidson shares his soul and genuine love in every note.

    When asked about his finest accomplishment, Cantor Davidson invariably responds, “After all the great concerts, services, and roles, my finest role in life is that of husband to my beautiful wife, Jodi, and daddy to my gorgeous daughters, Jordan and Zoe.”

  • Dr. Noreen Green
    Dr. Noreen Green

    DR. NOREEN GREEN, LAJS Founder, Artistic Director and Conductor, is also music director at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California, a renowned lecturer on Jewish music, and an accomplished educator. She is known world-wide for her knowledge and skill in presenting music with Jewish themes.

    Green has received public recognition for her outstanding contributions to the multi-cultural musical scene in Los Angeles by Congressman Brad Sherman and by the Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life. She has received the “Jewish Cultural Star” award presented by the National Foundation of Jewish Culture at The Jewish Image Awards, the “Golda Meir Award” from The State of Israel Bonds, the “Hall of Fame Award” from the National Association of Women Business Owners and the “Women of Significance Award” from Adat Ari El Sisterhood. She has been a featured speaker for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Upbeat Live series and conducted at the opening ceremonies of the 2001 Maccabi Games in Philadelphia. Dr. Green has been guest conductor for Jewish Music concerts with the Rubin Academy Orchestra in Tel Aviv, the Johannesburg Philharmonic, the Jerusalem Symphony at the new performing arts center in Herzliyah and the R’aanana Symphonette . Under her baton, LAJS has performed in concert with Hollywood personalities including Billy Crystal, Tovah Feldshuh, Leonard Nimoy, Randy Newman, Theodore Bikel, Laraine Newman, Valerie Harper, Pat Boone, Lainie Kazan, Fyvush Finkel, Dave Koz, Marvin Hamlisch, Roslyn Kind, David Benoit and others.

    During her tenure with the LAJS, Green, along with Education Director Ilizabeth Gilbert, has developed education programs initially funded by the New and Innovate Grants division of the Jewish Community Foundation. Several of these programs have gone on to receive funding from the Righteous Persons Foundation, the Maurice Amado Foundation, the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, the Leonard and Susan Bay Nimoy Foundation and the Tel Aviv/Los Angeles Partnership. LAJS received a substantial education grant from the National Endowment of the Arts for its Patchwork of Cultures program which uses music to show the cultural bridge between the Sephardic Jewish and Hispanic communities.

    Green received a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Choral Music from the University of Southern California and a Master of Music Degree in Choral Conducting at California State University, Northridge under conductor John Alexander. From 1981 to 1990, she was the conductor of the American Jewish Choral Society. As West Coast Music Director of the David Nowakowsky Foundation from1992 to 1998, Green presented an annual concert series of the Nowakowsky Chorale. She wrote her doctoral treatise on the music of Nowakowsky, and went on to edit many of his works, ten of which have been published by Laurendale.

    From 1986 to 1992, Green was an Assistant Professor at CSUN and in the summer of 1993, she worked with conductor Murry Sidlin at the Aspen Music School. With his support and encouragement, she developed the concept for and founded the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony.

    • Chris Hardin
      Chris Hardin

      Chris Hardin is a composer, orchestrator, musical director and conductor. He has worked for many celebrities such as Michelle Lee, Freda Payne, Goldie Hawn, Sally Kellerman, Merv Griffin, and many more. Chris orchestrated the music for the concert production of Israel 2000, that featured Steve Allen, Roslyn Kind, Red Buttons, Lionel Hampton and Meir Finklestein performed at the Greek Theater. He also orchestrated music for the concert honoring Chayim Frenkel that featured Tovah Feldshuh at Royce Hall as well as arranging and orchestrating much of the music for the KinderedSPIRITS annual symphonic concert at Disney Hall. Chris was the Musical Director for Warner Bros. production of Broadway on Sunset, introduced by Gordon Davidson and Andrea Marcovicci and directed by Stuart Ross (writer/director of Forever Plaid). His musical directing talents were also put to use in the sold out production of Craig Taubmans Hallelu at the Universal Amphitheatre as well as “Theo! The First 80 Years” which was a concert honoring Theodore Bikel at the Wadsworth Theater. Chris also appears in the film, Anywhere But Here with Susan Sarandon as well as a television episode of Mad About You with Mel Brooks and has produced and performed on many CDs for various artists.

      His film scores include Not Again, Two Paths and On Growing Older for which he won an award for Best Original Score. Chris’ formal education includes studying composition and orchestration for film and television at UCLA and USC with such notable composers as Elmer Bernstein, David Raksin, Jerry Goldsmith, Buddy Baker and others. He was presented with an award from the Harry Warren Foundation for a symphonic composition he wrote while attending USC. His skills as an orchestrator, performer and arranger can also be heard on a CD featuring Roslyn Kind titled The Promise of Time and the symphonic CD titled A Joyful Light. Along with his current position as Associate Music Director at Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue in Encino, Chris focuses his time on writing choral and band music for High Schools and Colleges, as well as undertaking the role as Musical Director for Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show which is currently playing in Las Vegas at the Sahara Hotel and Casino as well as a touring company performing in cities throughout the United States.

      • John Ondrasik
        John Ondrasik

        Never has the phrase “he shoots, he scores” been more applicable than when mentioning rabid hockey fan and chart-topping singer/songwriter John Ondrasik. The Los Angeles native, who goes by Five for Fighting (a five-minute penalty for on-the-ice fist-a-cuffs), burst on the scene some 15 years ago with his Grammy Award-nominated hit “Superman (It’s Not Easy),” and has been a mainstay on mainstream radio ever since. While he doesn’t wear tights and fight crime as his breakthrough track “Superman” suggests, his songs could bring any maniacal villain to their knees (and tears) with his poignantly sharp songs that cut deeper than a Ginsu knife.

        Ondrasik signed his first deal in 1997 with “Message For Albert,” but it was his follow-up “American Town” that really took flight for Fighting.  The aforementioned “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” went Platinum (as did the album), was #1 on Adult Top 40, #2 on Hot AC, and in the Top 40 Top 10.  The song actually hit the airwaves, and reached #1 the same week his daughter Olivia was born. Not too shabby as Adam Sandler once said. Adding more fuel to the emotional fire, the mega-hit served as sort of an unofficial anthem
        following the 9.11 attacks on American soil. Naturally, he performed it at The Concert For New York City.

        In his career, Ondrasik has sold over 2.5 million albums including 2004’s “Battle for Everything,” which spawned the 2X platinum “100 Years,” which continues to melt hearts, provide all ages with an instant case of nostalgia.  Other hits have included “The
        Riddle,” “World,” “Chances” and “What If.” His music has been featured in 350 films, TV shows and advertisements ranging from the The Blind Side to Hawaii Five-O. He has also written tunes for everyone from Josh Groban to The Backstreet Boys.

        Yet, there’s more to Ondrasik than the music and it’s far more important to him and countless others.  “Music is the great healer as well as being a unique vehicle in raising awareness and funds for important causes,” he explains. Ondrasik has given away a
        million copies of a five-volume compilation album (featuring himself and other artists) he created for United States troops.  He has also performed regularly for the USO.

        Additionally, www.whatkindofworlddoyouwant.com was created off of his song “World,” in which fans uploaded videos showing their respective interpretations of a better world. That initiative raised more than $250,000 for five designated charities: Augie’s Quest, Autism Speaks, Fisher House Foundation, Save the Children and Operation Homefront.

        Ondrasik is a featured speaker from Ted Talks to the Salk Institute. He’s also presented at various private and corporate events. He’s also graced The Kennedy Center stage, performed for world leaders and presidents, and contributed special performance for NASA to commemorate the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Mission.

        When not writing killer tunes, Ondrasik is putting pen to paper for his other passion: sports. The avid Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings fan has been a sports commentator for SI.com,  the Kings, and a guest on everything from Jim Rome to ESPN SportsCenter, the latter of which he became the first “band” to appear and perform. “I recognize the immature shallowness of the adult sports fan obsession, but I’ve always had it. Lakers as a kid, UCLA, Kings etc…Many folks use music as their escape, I
        imagine sports as mine. Writing is a kick as I’ve always had a fantasy to be a sports reporter/writer,” he says gleefully.

        As he explores the possibility of a Broadway show featuring his tunes, he’s currently on the road (not literally) performing songs as a quartet (Five for Fighting literally) and with symphonies around the country.  “The symphony and quartet shows have been
        fantastic,” he said. “I’ve had the honor of working with some world class arrangers in my career.  To present the more ambitious songs, as well as the popular tunes, in this format has refueled my passion for performing.”

        …And making new music. Ondrasik’s “What If” hit the Hot AC charts and was chosen by Richard Branson (sorry, Sir Richard Branson) as the soundtrack for his non-profit Virgin Unite.  And his most recent song “All for One” was penned for the 100th episode of Hawaii Five-O.  Ondrasik is currently working on the follow-up to his sixth album, Bookmarks.

        Looking ahead while looking back, the one-man Fighting army, said, “I have been blessed to have loving and supportive parents, an amazing wife and partner, and two great kids. Family is crucial to any career, keeps the ups and downs, down and up.”

      • Lizzie Weiss
        Lizzie Weiss

        Lizzie Weiss was born in Los Angeles, CA, where she attended Beverly Hills High School and Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a BA in Drama. After a quick 2 years leading to graduation from college, Lizzie moved to New York City to pursue her dreams of being a Broadway singer. Fortunately, within a few months, Lizzie was cast in the Original Broadway National Tour of Disney Theatrical’s High School Musical. She originated the role of Martha Cox who was a brainiac with a secret passion for Hip Hop!

        Although thrilled with a Broadway Touring Career for over three years, Lizzie was always pulled towards the Cantorate. Growing up under the guidance of Cantor Yonah Kliger at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, Lizzie began singing at temple at a very young age. After years of singing in the family choir and junior cantors, Lizzie was the youngest singer to be hired as a professional singer for the renowned Temple Emanuel High Holy Day octet. Just a few years later, Lizzie was again empowerd with the great responsibility of being Sole Cantor for the New Emanuel Minyan High Holiday Services. Even while on tour, Lizzie was fortunate to come back and lead services for the High Holy Days. With her tour coming to an end, Lizzie decided that it was now time to train to be a Cantor and attend Los Angeles’ Academy for Jewish Religion Cantorial School which is run by Cantor Nathan Lam and Cantor Perryne Anker. She also spent four years as student Cantor at Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Fountain Valley.This coming May, Lizzie will receive her Cantorial Ordination.

        In Los Angeles, Lizzie continutes to perform at wonderful secular and religious concerts and has a bustling voice lesson practice. She looks forward to working with children, engaging with adults and inspiring congregants in her cantorate!

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