Pasadena-Based Los Angeles Children’s Chorus Honored Oscar-Nominated Producer, Longtime Supporters at Gala Bel Canto

(L-R) Honorees Don Hahn, recipient of LACC’s Bel Canto Award, and Joe and Jennifer Sliskovich, recipients of LACC’s Rebecca Thompson Founder’s Award, with Gala Bel Canto Chair Andrea Greene Willard, LACC Artistic Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, and LACC Executive Director Shawn Ingram(L-R) LACC members Oscar Yum, Reagan Voxman, Adelaide Hawthorne, Mia Patzakis, Kennedy King(L-R) Gala Bel Canto Committee Members Laurie Modean, Cheryl Scheidemantle, Corina Madilian, Jill Roberts, Andrea Bland, Jena Liddy, Annie Higgins, Elizabeth Voxman and Helen Kim SpitzerDon Hahn, recipient of LACC’s Bel Canto Award, Denise Hahn, and Alice and Leonard Maltin, who presented Don’s award(L-R) LACC Chair Kai Ryssdal and Stephanie Fossan(L-R) LACC member Zellie Owen, LACC Artistic Director Fernando, LACC members Reese Owen and Rachel LohDon Hahn, recipient of LACC’s Bel Canto Award (center) with Disney’s 4 Fellas(L-R) Shinnshill Park and Jin LeeLACC Artistic Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz conducts LACC’s Chamber Singers(L-R) Honorees Joe and Jennifer Sliskovich, recipients of LACC’s Rebecca Thompson Founder’s Award, with their children Gregory and Natalie(L-R) Mandy Brigham, LACC Associate Artistic Director, Bryant Danner and Dr. Steven Kronauer, conductor of LACC’s Young Men’s EnsembleLACC choristers perform at Gala Bel CantoLACC choristers perform at Gala Bel CantoLACC Artistic Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, Helen Bing (Beverly Hills), LACC Artistic Director Emerita Anne Tomlinson, and LACC Founding Artistic Director Rebecca Thompson

STAFF REPORT | Photography by JAMIE PHAM

11:07 am | May 6, 2019


Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC), one of the nation’s leading youth choral institutions, honored Don Hahn, the Academy Award-nominated producer of such blockbuster Disney films as The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Maleficent, and philanthropists Jennifer and Joe Sliskovich (Bel Canto) at Gala Bel Canto on April 24, 2019, at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The celebration featured musical tributes by some 200 young singers from five LACC ensembles led by Artistic Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz (Pasadena), a three-course dinner and a live auction. Proceeds from the annual fundraiser benefit Los Angeles Children’s Chorus’ outstanding artistic, educational and scholarship programs.

Hahn, who has produced some of the most successful animated films, received LACC’s Bel Canto Award, presented by film critic and film historian Leonard Maltin, for his passion for, commitment to and generosity in support of music experiences for children that have impacted young people the world over. Hahn’s films have earned 18 Academy Award nominations, including Beauty and The Beast, which was the first full-length animated feature to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. He also received an Oscar-nomination for The Little Matchgirl. During his career, Hahn has directed such legends as Itzhak Perlman, Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones, and his documentaries Earth, Oceans, and African Cats, for Disneynature films, of which he serves as executive producer, are among the top five nature movies of all time. In addition, Hahn, hailed as a “Renaissance man” (Animation Magazine), has published numerous books on animation and other topics.

The Sliskoviches, both attorneys and entrepreneurs who have championed LACC for nearly two decades, received LACC’s Rebecca Thompson Founder’s Award, presented by LACC Artistic Director Emerita Anne Tomlinson (Pasadena), for their unwavering commitment. As cherished LACC alumni parents, former board members and Gala Bel Canto co-chairs and committee members, they are among LACC’s most passionate and dedicated supporters. Their son Gregory and daughter Natalie are alumni of LACC, with Greg a founding member of the Young Men’s Ensemble and Natalie a member of LACC’s Chamber Singers. Through their keen leadership, advocacy and generosity, Jennifer and Joe have made possible for a generation of choristers the same extraordinary LACC experience that influenced their children so significantly. M

The festivities opened with a rousing rendition of Alan Menken’s lively “Be Our Guest” performed by the Young Men’s Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Steven Kronauer and accompanied by pianist Manuel Arellano. The group also launched a musical tribute to the Sliskoviches with Franz Lehar’s “Dein ist mein ganzes Herz,” featuring their son, Gregory. Their musical tribute continued with Irving Berlin’s “BlueSkies,” sung by the Intermediate Choir, led by Mandy Brigham with Principal Pianist Twyla Meyer, followed by Rosephanye Powell’s “Still I Rise,” featuring the Sliskoviches’ daughter, Natalie with the Chamber Singers, conducted by LACC Artistic Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz.

Don Hahn was feted with Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” sung by the Apprentice and Intermediate Choirs conducted by Diana Landis, as well as ?riks Ešenvalds’ “Only in Sleep” and Harold Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow,” both performed by the Mixed Voices Choir, led by Malvar-Ruiz, who also conducted the Concert Choir on Henry Mollicone’s “Spanish Ave Maria.”

The evening concluded with Malvar-Ruiz leading the combined choirs on John Leavitt’s arrangement of Lebo M.’s “One by One,” for which Hahn himself accompanied the singers on percussion and special guest Los Angeles Master Chorale baritone Adrien Redford was featured, followed by Elton John’s joyous “Hakuna Matata.”

Among other highlights was a spirited live auction that included vacation packages in a luxury villa in Puglia, Italy, courtesy of the Sliskoviches, a stunning ski-in-ski-out condo in Mammoth and a beautiful 1925 cabin in Idyllwild; a private tour of Walt Disney’s office and the Disney Studio archives in Burbank; two tickets to the 2020 Grammy Awards and After-Party; an olive canning party hosted by the Sliskoviches; and a paddle pledge, which raised money for LACC scholarships.

Guest dined on a hearty arcadian salad with crispy vegetable coins, cucumber, haricot verts, cherry tomatoes, champagne vinaigrette and goat cheese medallion; roasted chicken breast with wild mushroom and morrel Burgundy demi-glace, potato gratin and seasonal vegetables; and, for dessert, triple chocolate mousse with chocolate sauce and gold-dusted blackberry, or lemon cream tart with raspberry sauce and gold-dusted raspberry.

Andrea Greene Willard chaired Gala Bel Canto. The gala committee members included Rashmi Bansal, Elizabeth Grossman Besch, Andrea Bland, Annie Yeager Higgins, Jena Liddy, Corina Madilian, Laurie Modean, Mariel Mulet, Cheryl R. Scheidemantle, Ph.D., Helen Kim Spitzer, Elizabeth Voxman, and Jill Westbrook Roberts.

For information on LACC, please call (626) 793-4231, ext. 118, or visit www.lachildrenschorus.org.