For the first time in its 40-year history, the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes’ annual charity event opened its doors to everyone.
Since 1978, the Carousel of Hope Ball, founded in light of Barbara Davis‘ daughter’s diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes, has benefited the center’s research to treat young people with the condition. This year’s virtual gala on Saturday night raised $1 million while also celebrating Davis’ 90th birthday.
The event kicked off with a duet of Cynthia Erivo and Adam Lambert performing Aretha Franklin and George Michael’s “I Knew You Were Waiting.”
David Foster, 16-time Grammy-winning producer and the music director of Carousel Ball, shared his favorite memories of the event from years past. He had invited the then lesser-known Michael Bublé, who “kept walking around saying ‘this is more incredible than the Oscars’ – not that he had even been to the Oscars at that point,” he recalled. “Or getting to accompany a very young Celine Dion, as she dazzled the audience with her out-of-the-world voice.”
The program also featured a musical act from Babyface. Wearing a black t-shirt with the word freedom printed in white text, the artist gave a guitar performance in a black-and-white video.
The virtual program also boasted clips of star-studded performers from previous years, featuring Whitney Houston from 1990, Ricky Martin from 2000 and Beyoncé in 2004.
In closing, Sam Smith, Gladys Knight, Kenny G and Erivo joined Dionne Warwick in her performance of “That’s What Friends Are For,” creating a beautiful harmony over Zoom. The music was accompanied by a video of photos celebrating the legacy of Davis and the Carousel Ball.