By Michelle Hopkins – Richmond News
They came to support one man’s vision.
The stars, the rich, bejeweled and famous, converged at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond Sunday night for the 2006 David Foster and Friends Charity Gala.
This year’s soldout soiree raised a cool $2.9 million for the David Foster Foundation, topping last year’s unprecedented $2.8 million.
Nine-hundred guests paid more than $3,000 apiece for a coveted seat at the state-of-the-art theatre. The night began with a gourmet cocktail reception – a culinary adventure from around the globe. Under billowing white tents dockside, beautifully gowned women and men dined on lemongrass prawns, spring lamb racks and wild mushroom volcanoes while sipping wines and blue martinis.
Then it was into the theatre for a night to remember. The swank event started with a warm welcome from Premier Gordon Campbell.
Foster, a Grammy Award-winning music producer who’s written songs for Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Destiny’s Child and Andrea Bocelli, was stunned when Campbell announced a $250,000 provincial contribution to his foundation.
“You might be in big trouble tomorrow,” quipped Foster. “But I don’t give a shit. This is unbelievable. What a way to celebrate our 20th anniversary.”
The excitement was palpable as the who’s who of Vancouver – from Man in Motion Rick Hansen and Army & Navy owner Jacqui Cohen to Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan – hobnobbed in elegance and style while digging deep into their pockets during the live auction for extravagant prizes.
Burnaby’s own Michael Bublè‚ headlined the star-studded gala, which also had performances by 10-time Grammy Award-winner Babyface, Clay Aiken, comedian George Lopez, Daisy Fuentes, Matt Goss and a surprise appearance by Olivia Newton-John.
The winner of the David Foster Star Search, Vancouver’s Chè Dorval, 21, also performed at the event. She blew away the judges the previous night at the David Foster Star Search 2006.
Bublè had the crowd in the palm of his hands and received three standing ovations during his spectacular performance. Bublè, who celebrated his 31st birthday Saturday, had the audience up and dancing in front of the stage as he belted out his hit song Home, with Foster accompanying him on piano. Bublè, who hammed it up for the audience, saying: “I had to follow fricking Babyface, Clay Aiken and Matt Goss hum?”
To the delight of the crowd, he impersonated a young Elvis Presley, Stevie Wonder and Dean Martin.
Australian singing sensation Newton-John looked stunning as she sang Physical and I Honestly Love You.
Backstage earlier, Newton-John told the News how thrilled she was to be in Vancouver, as she swayed in a sheer, beige dress to Aiken’s rendition of Unchained Melody.
“I’m glad to do something for him (Foster) to help with his charity … it really is an honour to be here.
“I love Vancouver and I wish I had more time here,” she added. “I was at his first event 20 years ago in Victoria, so it’s a sort of homecoming.”
Lopez, whose ABC sitcom George Lopez is in its sixth season, thanked his wife Ann for giving him the gift of life – her kidney. He stayed much to himself backstage as Ann explained it’s his way to mentally prepare.
“I’m a transplant recipient,” he said. “My wife gave me her kidney a year-and-a-half ago so I know personally what the families are going through.”
Lopez had the audience in stitches when he spoke of golfing in B.C.: “I love Canada, I can come here and legally hit something white.”
Meanwhile, British chart topper Matt Goss shared a hug with Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, with whom he collaborated on the track It’s the End of the Road for FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance.
Goss told the News: “It’s so great to see you here and for me to be here is a real honour. I love Vancouver and hope to perform here again.”
This year, the David Foster Foundation – which has assisted 275 families with children in need of major organ transplants – celebrates its 20th anniversary.
“It’s hard to believe its been 20 years since my mom (the late Eleanor Foster) called me in Los Angeles and asked me to visit a child in Victoria who had to travel to L.A. for a liver transplant,” said Foster. “I did and when I asked her what I could do, she asked if I could send her sister to L.A. to be with her.”
That simple request spawned the David Foster Foundation.
The foundation provides funding for non-medical expenses to families of children undergoing organ transplants – easing the horrible financial and emotional burdens of families who often have to leave behind jobs and families. The foundation covers the costs of everything from transportation to and from the hospital to mortgage payments.
Source: Richmond News
More info: David Foster Foundation