Community Voices

Estefan Foundation donates $35,500 to youth symphony for New York trip

Marjorie Hahn, left, executive director of the South Florida Youth Symphony and symphony members are all smiles after receiving a donation for $35,500 from the Gloria Estefan Foundation. The donation will enable the award-winning orchestra to travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall.
Marjorie Hahn, left, executive director of the South Florida Youth Symphony and symphony members are all smiles after receiving a donation for $35,500 from the Gloria Estefan Foundation. The donation will enable the award-winning orchestra to travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

The young musicians in the award-winning South Florida Youth Symphony are now planning their trip to play Carnegie Hall thanks to help from a donation made by the Gloria Estefan Foundation.

The youth symphony, which has never turned away a student because of financial needs, had already raised $56,000 for the trip. But the group was $35,500 short of the $91,500 needed to travel to The Carnegie Hall Instrumental Music Festival in New York, Feb. 23-26.

A GoFundMe page was started in hopes the community could help, and then came the news.

The Gloria Estefan Foundation — which promotes education, health and cultural development — made a donation of $35,500.

The donation is the single largest in the 53-year history of the South Florida Youth Symphony. The young musicians found out during a fund raising and public awareness performance at Dadeland Mall.

“This is just a fantastic donation which will enable all of our musicians — many of which come from underprivileged households and have never even been out of Miami-Dade County — to perform at Carnegie Hall, the mecca of music in America,” wrote youth symphony Executive Director Marjorie Hahn in a release. “The Youth Symphony has an angel and her name is Gloria Estefan.”

When Hahn and symphony President Patricia Lefebvre “unwrapped” the check during a break in the Dadeland performance, the musicians and their parents started screaming, applauding and hugging each other.

“To say we were stunned and ecstatic would not be an understatement,” Hahn said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these youngsters and we will be forever grateful to the Gloria Estefan Foundation for making this trip possible.”

Lefebvre agreed.

“What a perfect Christmas gift this was to our organization,” she said. “The Gloria Estefan Foundation was our Santa Claus.”

The organization has been helping others since 1997 and funds itself through proceeds from some of Gloria Estefan's songs, benefit concerts and donations from supporters.

“On behalf of the Gloria Estefan Foundation, we will gladly fund the remaining balance of $35,500 needed to cover the costs for these young musicians to travel to NYC and perform at Carnegie Hall,” said Frank Amadeo, president of Estefan Enterprises, in a letter to the symphony board.

Learn more about these groups at and

Reach for the Stars luncheon

The Rising Stars in Class IV of Dade Legal Aid’s Leadership Academy will be presented and honored 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 30 at Hyatt Regency Miami, 400 SE Second Ave. The Dade County Bar Association and Dade Legal Aid/Put Something Back are sponsoring the event.

“This luncheon will highlight various civil pro bono opportunities that are available to members of the bar that benefit children, foster youth, artists, the elderly, the disabled, nonprofits, newcomers, veterans, victims of disaster, fraud, domestic violence and human sex trafficking,” said Karen Ladis, Dade Legal Aid executive director, in an email.

Featured at the event will be Laurel M. Isicoff, chief judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court; Judge Kevin Emas, Third District Court of Appeal; Judge Rodolfo Ruiz, Eleventh Judicial Circuit; and Jordan A. Dresnick, president of the Dade County Bar Association.

“We are also pleased to introduce Class IV of Dade Legal Aid's Distinguished Leadership Academy who were selected for their experience, commitment and leadership skills. These Rising Stars meet monthly to discuss important issues facing the legal profession and poverty community. As future leaders of our profession, it is important to develop leaders who positively impact the community, especially the indigent clients served by Dade Legal Aid,” Ladis said.

Prices: federal and state judiciary, complimentary; students, $25; government attorneys, $40; Dade County Bar association members, $50; and nonmembers, $60. A premium table of 10 is $600. Individual tickets at the door are $75. RSVP to or buy tickets at

Celebrations at Miami Senior High

Orchestra Miami will bring back music and memories for all Stingarees and the public at the 90th anniversary celebration of the “new” building at Miami Senior High.

A gala concert will be performed in the school’s historic Mediterranean-revival auditorium 8 p.m. Jan. 20 at 2450 SW First St.

The music program will feature Gershwin’s “An American in Paris,” which premiered in 1928, the year the “new” building was completed. Also planned for the concert are the Overture to Strauss’ Die Fledermaus and Dvorak’s unforgettable Symphony N. 9 in E Minor (“New World” Symphony). Orchestra Miami’s artistic director Elaine Rinaldi will conduct the 55 musicians of Orchestra Miami.

Tickets purchased in advance purchase are $20-$50. They will be $25-$55 at the door, with a 20% discount on orchestra seats for seniors and $5 tickets for students. Tickets and information can be found at or by calling 305-274-2103.

Alumni and other supporters are invited to attend the post-concert dessert reception to benefit Miami Senior High and Orchestra Miami. Tickets are $50 per person and are available at

Miami Senior High was founded in 1903 and is the oldest high school in Miami-Dade County. It served the earliest settling families of Miami in the first half of the 20th century. Miami High School's current building is its fourth home. The “new” building is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

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