2008 McGarrigle Christmas Hour at Carnegie Hall
On Wednesday December 10th, well-known and much-loved Quebecoise folk singers, Kate and Anna McGarrigle performed their McGarrigle Christmas Hour concert at Carnegie Hall.
The McGill University Health Centre Foundation was honoured to be part of this special event. Led by Kate McGarrigle’s drive to raise funds for cancer care and research and through the cooperation of the Cedars Cancer Institute, the MUHCF established the Kate McGarrigle Fund. Monies were raised for the Fund through charity ticket sales, which took place throughout November and December. In total, nearly 80 tickets were sold for $800 each.
Promotional activities involved working with the McGill University Donor and Alumni Relations group to solicit alumni in New York City, interviews for entertainment/current affairs programs on CTV and CBC Radio, as well as an appearance on the Martha Stewart Show, which has linked directly to the MUHCF website.
Ticket-buyers ranged from dedicated fans from all over the world (some flew in all the way from England and Ireland just for the show) to close friends of the clan. Among them were Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep, acclaimed singer-songwriter Elvis Costello, accomplished director Gus Van Sant, and well-loved actress Parker Posey. Two well-known musicians made significant contributions to the Kate McGarrigle Fund by purchasing ten tickets apiece: Sean Lennon (son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono) came to the show along with his music-loving entourage, and Elton John asked that his ten tickets be donated to deserving music students.
Many stars were unable to attend the concert but donated nonetheless to the Kate McGarrigle Fund. Donors included Leonard Cohen, Neil Tennant, Jeremy Irons, and Yoko Ono—who gave a truly generous gift of $10,000 to the Fund. All who contributed expressed their sincere regrets at being unable to attend, as well as their hopes that they would be able to do so in the coming years.
The concert itself was a warm and wonderful family affair with nearly 30 musicians on the stage. They included Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Rufus and Martha Wainwright (Kate’s children), Lou Reed, Jimmy Fallon, Laurie Anderson, the Thompson Family, Emmy Lou Harris, Taylor McFerrin, and many other excellent folk singers and talented musicians. They performed a 3-hour set to a rapt audience at the storied Carnegie Hall and brought the house down with their renditions of timeless Christmas classics.
In total, $70,000 and counting has been raised for the Kate McGarrigle Fund, making this event a resounding success.
To the New York Times' review of the McGarrigle Christmas Hour, click here.