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Voices For Hope


"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 Kay Pere.

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.   (see below)

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
Cara McDonald

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 Concert

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 here



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.

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