Dr. Haruhisa Handa, Chairman of IFAC and Sing for Hope’s Global Patron, continues his worldwide support of “art for all”
This week, Sing for Hope (SFH) was delighted to welcome to New York City the organization’s esteemed Founders’ Circle members and dear friends, The International Foundation for Arts and Culture (Dr. Haruhisa Handa, Chair, Sing for Hope Global Patron). The International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC) has been a transformative presence in the life of SFH through its decade-long pledge of support for the organization. Traveling in for the visit from Dubai and Australia, respectively, were IFAC’s International Executive Director Midori Miyazaki and former Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott. Ms. Miyazaki and Mr. Abbott were joined by Kevin O’Brien, Executive Director of The Handa Foundation, Dr. Handa’s non-profit organization dedicated to building hospitals and schools in various countries of Southeast Asia.
Demonstrating what IFAC’s generosity helps to make possible, Sing for Hope hosted a special pop-up concert for the guests at SFH’s newest NYC parks partner, Little Island, featuring SFH artist partners Krysty Swann (The Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago) and Michael Fennelly (Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall). The duo shared arias and songs on one of Little Island’s beautiful new Sing for Hope Pianos created by noted artist and architect Jieun Yang. The instrument is one of the more than 500 artist-created Sing for Hope Pianos placed in public spaces to date.
Following the performance, SFH Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director Camille Zamora and SFH Education Director Sharyn Pirtle shared news of the organization’s recent program developments, including its employment of hundreds of NYC’s top-tier musicians in 125 consecutive daily concert at Javits Vaccination Center during the pandemic shutdown. They also learned more from Ms. Miyazaki and Mr. Abbott about IFAC’s other global cultural initiatives, including the renowned Handa Opera on Sydney Harbor, established a decade ago by Dr. Handa and now one of the opera world’s most beloved open-air venues. The discussion lingered on the role of high-quality public performance options (ranging from individual Sing for Hope Pianos to full outdoor opera productions) that facilitate the incremental post-pandemic steps needed to restore our musical/theatrical seasons worldwide.
In addition to supporting Sing for Hope’s ongoing programming, Dr. Handa’s philanthropy has made possible the creation of Sing for Hope’s global arts program, HandaHarmony, which launched with a special flagship Sing for Hope Piano as the centerpiece of the youth-arts-centered United Nations High-Level Political Forum Side Event on July 16, 2019. The Sing for Hope HandaHarmony initiative was repeated in a COVID-safe virtual format in 2020 and 2021, and is due to return in person once again in partnership with UNICEF at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum in July 2022.
The Sing for Hope team has been known to use the phrase “art in the stream of life” in reference to its methodology of using the arts to meet people where we are—in the places we convene each day to learn, heal, work, play, grieve, and grow. It’s an approach that positions creative hope in the center of our lives and in the middle of our days, and as such, seeds powerfully positive change in individuals, organizations, and communities local and global. This kind of broad-scale positive change is a clear throughline of Dr. Handa’s philanthropic portfolio, as seen in his support of new hospitals in Cambodia, new operatic stages on Sydney Harbour, and new avenues for expression and uplift via the Sing for Hope Pianos and education programs.
In Dr. Haruhisa Handa’s words, “I believe that music and the arts have the power to transform human hearts and minds, to draw us inward and upward to make the world around us a better place. Sing for Hope brings this transformational power to the disenfranchised of society. I am happy to support Sing for Hope as it continues to leverage the arts to illuminate and create a better, brighter, more sustainable future.”
Below are photos of previous Sing for Hope HandaHarmony programming made possible by The International Foundation for Arts and Culture, in partnership with UNICEF as part of the United Nations High-Level Political Forum