Washington D.C. – On Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 6:30 pm, GALA Hispanic Theatre will host its annual Noche de Estrellas benefit event at the Organization of American States honoring three extraordinary Latina leaders and celebrating GALA’s 40th anniversary. The 2016 honorees are: Dolores Huerta for Arts & Social Justice; Olga Tañón for Excellence in the Arts; and Carmen Delgado Votaw for Service to the Latino community. A special recognition will also be presented to Diana Saez, Founder of Coral Cantigas. Proceeds from the event will support GALA’s youth education programs, which include the Paso Nuevo program, an arts and academic enrichment program for Latino teens in the District of Columbia that was recognized with a 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Arts Program Award by First Lady Michelle Obama.
In addition to the Honoree Awards, Noche de Estrellas will feature performances by celebrated Salvadoran flamenco dancer Edwin Aparicio, who curates GALA’s annual Fuego Flamenco Festival and recently received the Order of the Civilian Cross from the King of Spain; performance artist Quique Avilés and Paso Nuevo member Christian Sánchez; and Coral Cantigas and Salvadoran composer Lilo González. Erika González, NBC Channel 4 news anchor, will be Mistress of Ceremonies for Noche de Estrellas.
Silent and live auctions will offer up exotic get-aways to Mexico and the Caribbean, Broadway tickets, and more. The event is black tie optional and will be attended by several Latin American ambassadors and international diplomats, leaders of DC’s arts and business communities, city officials, and philanthropists.
The Noche de Estrellas event will be held at the Hall of the Americas of the Organization of American States (OAS) at the corner of 17th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW.
Dolores Huerta (Arts & Social Justice) is an American labor and civil rights leader who is an active defender of the rights of farmworkers, women and immigrants. She is the co-founder, with Cesar Chavez, of the United Farm Workers Union, and was instrumental in achieving major legal protections and a better standard of living for farm workers. Among her awards are the Presidential Medal of Freedom bestowed by President Barack Obama in 2012 and the inaugural Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights from President Bill Clinton in 1998. A role model to many in the Latino community, Ms. Huerta was one of the subjects of the film A Crushing Love (2009) and is the subject of the “One Life” exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, the first devoted to a Latina.
Olga Tañón (Excellence in the Arts) is a Puerto Rican recording artist who has earned two Grammy Awards, three Latin Grammy Awards, and 29 Premio Lo Nuestro Awards. After establishing herself as one of the top merengue superstars of the 1990s, when she was known as the Queen of the Merengue, she broadened her style to tropical music and pop. Among her hits are “Aunque Tú no Quieras” with Chantelle, “Es Mentiroso”, “Basta Ya”, “Cómo Olvidar”, and “La Vida Entera”. In 2006, Ms. Tañón recorded “Nuestro Himno” with Pitbull, Carlos Ponce and Wyclef Jean in support of Latin American immigrants in the U.S, and in 2009 she appeared in “Concierto por la Paz” at Plaza de la Revolución in Havana, Cuba with other international artists. Subsequently, she advocated for immigration reform and a path to citizenship, as well as supporting the admission of Puerto Rico as the 51st state of the nation. Ms. Tañón also has appeared on
stage and in concert.
Carmen Delgado Votaw (Service to the Latino community) has been a life-long advocate for civil and human rights, and a leader in the advancement of women. She served as President of the InterAmerican Commission on Women of the Organization of American States; Co-Chair of the National Advisory Committee of Women (presidential appointment); Commissioner on the International Women’s Year Commission; President, National Conference of Puerto Rican Women; Chair, National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education; President, Pan American Liaison Committee of Women’s Organizations; and member of the Trial Court Judicial Nominating Commission for the State of Maryland. Among her honors are the 1996 Hispanic Heritage Award for Education, the 1991 Outstanding Achievement Award from the National Council of Hispanic Women, Las Primeras Award from MANA; a Civil Rights Award from NASA; and has been inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame. She is also the author of the bilingual book “Puerto Rican Women: Some Biographical Profiles” and serves on the board of directors of GALA.
Coral Cantigas is a chamber chorus based in the Washington, DC, area. This 2015-2016 concert season marks Cantigas’ 25th anniversary and farewell season. Cantigas’ mission has been to increase awareness and appreciation of the many rich styles of Latino (Latin American, Spanish, and Caribbean) choral music, and unite communities through the joyful and transformative power of music. As a leading performer of Latin American music, Cantigas appeared at the Kennedy Center, presidential inaugural celebrations, festivals, and embassies, and toured to Argentina, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Colombia. In 2014 the Choralis Foundation awarded Cantigas the Greater Washington DC Area Choral Excellence Award for Most Creative Programming.
The Chorus founder and artistic director, Diana Saez, is a leading specialist in the field of Latin American music and an accomplished, visionary choral conductor. She is frequently invited as a guest conductor for regional and state festivals and initiatives, a collaborator with musical ensembles, and a lecturer. Dr. Sáez began her musical education at the Escuela Libre de Música in San Juan, PR, where she studied piano with Violeta de la Mata. She earned a Master of Education from Harvard University, a Master of Choral Conducting from Temple University, and a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Maryland in College Park. Her choral music and arrangements are published by Roger Dean Publishing Company, a division of The Lorenz Corporation.
The Honorary Host Committee for Noche de Estrellas (to date) is comprised of His Excellency Juan Gabriel Valdés, Ambassador of Chile to the U.S.; His Excellency Miguel Basañez, Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S.; His Excellency Luis Miguel Castilla, Ambassador of Peru to the U.S; His Excellency Sr. Francisco Altschul, Ambassador of El Salvador to the U.S.; Ambassador Jorge Hevia, Permanent Representative of Spain to the Organization of American States; Luigi Einaudi, Former Ambassador of the U.S. to the Organization of American States; Honorable Muriel E. Bowser, Mayor of the District of Columbia; Honorable David Grosso, Councilmember at Large, City Council of the District of Columbia; Honorable Brianne Nadeau, Ward One Councilmember, City Council of the District of Columbia; James Boland, President, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers; Elizabeth Oliver-Farrow; Janet Farrell; Dorothy and Bill McSweeny; Craig Pascal and Victor Shargai; and Jay Haddock and Hector Torres.
Sponsors of GALA’s 2016 Noche de Estrellas event (to date) include: The Dolores Huerta Foundation; The Embassy of Mexico; The Mexican Cultural Institute; The Embassy of Colombia; International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers; American Income Life; Beacon Hotels & Suites; San Giacomo Charitable Foundation; Wells Fargo; Verizon; Eagle Bank; Target; Horning Family Fund; Craig Pascal and Victor Shargai; and To Your Taste Catering.
Early-bird tickets are $150 per person through April 15. After that date, tickets for the Noche de Estrellas are $200 per person, and $350 per couples. For more information about the event or sponsorship opportunities, please call 202-234-7174, e-mail email@example.com, or visit www.galatheatre.org.