By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn
12-year-old piano prodigy Ethan Bortnick to perform at JCC Nov. 24
Attendees will be in for a treat when Ethan Bortnick, the 12-year-old piano prodigy, will perform at 4:30 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24 at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center (The J) Zale Auditorium, 7900 Northaven Road. He will perform everything from Beethoven to Bieber.
Bortnick has moved audiences nationally and internationally as a pianist, composer, singer, entertainer and a driven humanitarian, dedicated to combining his musical pursuits with his charity work. At age 3, the Hollywood, Florida native begged his parents for piano lessons and discovered an uncanny ability to hear a song once and play it back note for note, the musical equivalent of a photographic memory. Ethan has toured the world, connecting with diverse audiences in countries such as South Africa, Brazil and Australia. In 2011, he made history as the youngest entertainer to headline a show in Las Vegas with his residency at the Las Vegas Hilton Theater, a venue revered for putting on iconic shows by legends such as Elvis Presley, Tony Bennett, Barry Manilow and Barbra Streisand. Ethan was recently certified a Guinness World Records titleholder as “The Worlds Youngest Solo Musician to Headline his Own Tour.” He has also earned the distinction of being named the youngest musician to be endorsed by a premier instrument manufacturer through his Gibson Guitar/Baldwin Piano sponsorship.
When Ethan was 5, his younger brother had three heart surgeries and that powerful time inspired him to use his musical talents to benefit charity. He has supported such charities as Miami Children’s Hospital, the Boys & Girls Club, Starkey Hearing Foundation, ONEXONE and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, among others. Through his appearances at benefits and galas, he’s helped raise more than $30 million for nonprofits around the world. He hopes to add more zeros to that impressive sum. At these charity events, he’s shared the stage with legends like Elton John, Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, Beyoncé, Reba McEntire, among many others. Recently, he joined some of music’s biggest names including Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Black Eyed Peas, Justin Bieber and Tony Bennett as the youngest of the all-star lineup that recorded “We Are The World 25 For Haiti.” His deep musical knowledge, broad tastes and staggering talents make his performances a treat for the whole family. Onstage, Ethan performs relaxing jazz, dazzling classical music, raise-the-roof rock n’ roll and his own memorable originals. He knows hundreds of songs that he can instantly call up to memory. Just by looking out at the crowd and gauging their reactions to songs, Ethan can tailor a pleasing and enjoyable in-the-moment performance. Sets can go from Beethoven, to the Beatles, to Bieber.
The piano whiz does not come from a musical family. He began at the age of 3 picking out melodies with one finger on an eight-note children’s keyboard. Around this time, he pleaded to study on a real piano with formal lessons. He soaked up the music of diverse artists and composers like Mozart, jazz pianist Bill Evans, Little Richard and Elton John, and began writing originals at 5 years old.
Ethan has been featured on many national late night and morning television shows, including multiple appearances on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Good Morning America” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” where he was named one of Oprah’s “All Time Smartest, Most Talented Kids.” In 2010, Ethan made history as the youngest musician to create and host his own award-winning, nationally televised concert special on PBS. Also in 2010, Bortnick released his debut CD & DVD, “Ethan Bortnick & His Musical Time Machine” (Razor & Tie), a diverse collection of imaginatively interpreted covers of well-known pop songs and impressive original compositions.
Tickets for the one-time show range from $10-50 and can be purchased at www.jccdallas.org or by calling (214) 739-2737.
Coats-for-Kids project update
In 2000, the Coats-for-Kids project was founded by Brad Wohlander, who was Temple-Emanu-El’s Brotherhood president at the time. The annual program has grown remarkably with more items collected each year. This year more than 1,000 items were donated. The Brotherhood collects gently-used coats, jackets, hats, gloves, scarves and blankets for both children and adults.
Recipients of the items are the police department’s East Dallas storefront and Vickery Meadow Neighborhood Alliance Food Pantry & Clothes Closet who distribute the warm clothing to needy children and adults. The service project has become a collaborative effort with the hard work and efforts of their donors—members and friends of Temple Emanu-El as well as the religious school children; Boy Scout Troop 729; Congregation Beth Torah; First Unitarian Church of Dallas; The Legacy Willow Bend knitting and crocheting club; and Preston Hollow Presbyterian School. Additionally, Tot Shabbat and Sababa families of Temple Emanu-El created special gift bags for knitted items. Special recognition and thanks to Mannie Herskowitz of Lone Star Cleaners and Laundry, who picked up the clothes from Temple Emanu-El, professionally cleaned them and delivered them to the recipient agencies.
Andrew Kasten performs in ICT’s ‘Our Town’
Good wishes to Andrew Kasten who has been performing in the Irving Community Theatre’s production of Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize winning play “Our Town.” This is the 75th anniversary of the play, which runs through Nov. 16, with shows Thursday through Saturday, and a Sunday matinee. Kasten, a native of Dallas, is the husband of Reyna, father of Eli and the son of Deanna and Jerry Kasten. He is a graduate of the University of Texas Austin and Case Western Reserve School of Law. Andrew has appeared in numerous plays in local theaters, including Theater Three, Watertower Theatre, Richardson Theatre Center and the Plano Theatre Center.
Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association raffle underway
It is time once again for the DHFLA raffle. This year’s raffle includes some fabulous prizes such as a $100 gift certificate to Al Biernat’s Restaurant (www.albiernats.com); a $100 gift certificate to Café Pacific (www.cafepacificdallas.com); five mid orchestra tickets plus a valet parking pass for the Feb. 27 production of “The Little Mermaid” at the Music Hall at Fair Park; two $250 gift certificates (1 per winning name) at Skibell Fine Jewelry (www.skibellfinejewelry.com); an assortment of Starbucks selection of coffee and teas, plus seven dozen handmade Mandel bread; and a Wilson Tennis racket, bag and three packages of tennis balls (a $75 value).
The raffle is a wonderful opportunity to support the organization by purchasing one ticket for $36, or three tickets for $100. The raffle prize drawings will be held Tuesday, Nov. 26. For additional information regarding ticket purchase, please contact Deborah Dana, at the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan office at 214-696-8008.
Temple Shalom Jazz and Art evening huge success
More than 300 people enjoyed an evening filled with art, wine and all that jazz Saturday, Oct. 26. The Eddie Tann Jazz Band entertained guests as they mingled, enjoying hors d’oeuvres and desserts from 17 local restaurants while viewing a diverse collection of art. Local artist Mitch Goldminz had a beautiful display of contemporary art for sale. Auctioneer Perry Burns enriched the evening with his knowledge and expertise of fine art while orchestrating the live auction. The Temple Shalom Sisterhood organized the evening, which was and co-chaired Anita Warner and Ali Rhodes.
News and Notes
Special thanks to one of my “regular” readers, Jane Rutland Ray, for her lovely note of congratulations and encouragement. Jane has been a loyal reader and subscriber for years and knows a great deal about Dallas history. It is always a pleasure to receive a written note—and once again, many thanks, Jane.