It was family night on Tuesday at the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus annual Bel Canto Gala fundraiser at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Not only were husband-and-wife songwriting duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez being honored, but so was Ed Nowak, deputy general counsel of the Walt Disney Company, who accepted a gift from daughter Caroline, who is a member of the choir. “Frozen” helmer Chris Buck also spoke about how his son had been a member of the LACC.
Disney songwriter Richard Sherman did a superb job introducing Nowak by performing a personalized version of his “Mary Poppins” tune “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” changing the lyrics to “supercalifragilistic-EdNowak-idocious” and inserting phrases like “He’s a natural-born leader and he dedicates his time, to support the LACC and to keep it in its prime. Daughters Caroline and Julia and wife Sara all agree, no one can juggle half as many calls each day as he.”
Children from the five separate choirs that make up the LACC stayed up late and performed nine Disney songs throughout the evening, including four from the box office phenomenon “Frozen.” John Lasseter, who presented the Lopezes with their honor, declared, “The song ‘Let It Go’ completely changed Disney animation forever.” He punctuated his comments by insisting that educating the creative mind is the most important thing to do with children. “It shouldn’t be the first thing, but that last thing to go in school curriculum,” he said.
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Upon receiving their honor, the Lopezes performed a lullaby that was written hours after their first child was born. The aud was also treated to Sherman performing his Oscar-winning song “Chim Chim Cher-ee.”
Female auctioneer Vanessa Thanos facilitated the live auction, during which the org raised $250,000, including a classy $3,500 donation by Robert Lopez. Leonard Maltin was the gala host and emcee.