Rene Syler to narrate stories of children whose wishes have been granted in ‘Wishes from the Heart’
DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
Resounding Harmony presents its first concert of the season on Nov. 22, called Wishes from the Heart, to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation works to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, and through its chapters around the country has granted some 250,000 such wishes since it was founded in Phoenix in 1980.
Resounding Harmony Artistic Director Russ Reiger said the benefit show was birthed out of the chorus’ admiration for the foundation.
“We held our retreat at the Make-A-Wish facility and it’s a magical place,” he said.
Resounding Harmony Board Chair Mark Knight said that children’s wishes are divided into categories: “I want to go…,” “I want to be…,” “I want to do…” and “I want to have… .”
So Resounding Harmony used that as a structure for the concert, basing the program on the idea of children being taken into the wishing tower.
Narrator Rene Syler will introduce some children whose wishes have been granted and tell a number of their stories. Syler is the author of the book Good Enough Mother.
Before moving to New York to host The Early Show on CBS, Syler was known to North Texas audiences as anchor of the Channel 11 news in Dallas. While in Dallas, she was active in fundraising activities for Resource Center Dallas.
Syler has worked with Resounding Harmony before. She narrated the 10th anniversary production of Sing for the Cure in Dallas and at Carnegie Hall in New York.
“I love Resounding Harmony,” Syler said. “Any time I can pair with them and a great group like Make-A-Wish, I’m glad to come to Dallas.”
She said she’d be doing some things on her website, GoodEnoughMother.com, before and after the concert to promote Make-A-Wish and hopefully raise additional funds for the organization.
“Rene is an old friend and we were thrilled she said she’d come,” Rieger said.
Rieger said that many of the songs during the concert will revolve around the wishes that have been granted.
“‘New York, New York’ is associated with one wish-kid’s story,” he said.
Resounding Harmony will also perform ‘Joyful, Joyful’ from Sister Act, ‘You’ve Got a Friend Indeed’ from Toy Story and ‘Out of My Dreams’ from Oklahoma.
“The first act will end with a gospel roof raiser,” he said.
Sheran Keyton, a popular Fort Worth singer, will be the guest soloist. Keyton appeared in Casa Manana’s production of Hairspray this summer.
Artwork from some of the Make-A-Wish kids will be for sale in the Meyerson lobby.
“One special piece created just for the concert will be auctioned during the show,” Knight said.
This is Rieger’s first full season with Resounding Harmony. He joined the chorus last year for the June concert after founding Artistic Director Tim Seelig moved to California to head the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.
Rieger said money raised at the concert would be distributed in December at an end-of-year celebration.
Each Resounding Harmony concert benefits a community organization. Proceeds from the spring concert Songs for the Heart will support the Dallas-based American Heart Association. Next season’s beneficiaries will be announced at the upcoming November concert.
On Saturday, Nov. 12, Resounding Harmony will also perform for the second time at Cancer Support Community, formerly known as Gilda’s Club, for its annual service of remembrance.
Resounding Harmony at Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. 8 p.m. $25–40. ResoundingHarmony.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 11, 2011.