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Pop stars and contemporary classical greats joined forces Wednesday at the Clarins Million Meals Concert for the FEED Foundation at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.
“We started with just classical music, then the idea was to add on some contemporary performers to give it another element,” said FEED cofounder Lauren Bush Lauren. “It’s really beautiful, because all the performers are playing with an orchestra, so it’s a really great combination.”
Emceeing the event, which aimed to raise enough in one night for one million school meals, was former Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams, who filled in for Nick Cannon on less than 24 hours notice.
“I was in Atlanta yesterday when I got the phone call,” said Williams. “The good thing is, I’ve hosted before, and if you can read a teleprompter, you’re good.”
Performers included John Legend, Natasha Bedingfield, the PS22 Chorus, pianist Christoph Eschenbach, violist David Aaron Carpenter, conductor Alan Gilbert and the Salome Chamber Orchestra. There was also a special appearance from former President Bill Clinton. Concertgoers included Donna Karan, Jason Wu, Joseph Altuzarra, Frédéric Fekkai, Ralph and Ricky Lauren, Cynthia Rowley and Amanda Hearst.
“It’s a crazy world we are living in when we have huge numbers of children who are hungry [as well as] childhood obesity,” said Clinton during his presentation. “We have to feed the hungry and make healthy those who, because they are hungry, have eaten things that are bad for them.”
Christian Courtin-Clarins, president of the Clarins Group supervisory board, echoed the sentiment.
“The dream is that all kids have food,” he said. “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
For Karan, the event was a reminder that change is in the people’s hands.
“It’s not about one person; it’s about all of us gathering together,” she said. “There’s a lot that needs to be done in this world, and we can’t be looking at the government to answer that problem. The answers for tomorrow sit in the creativity of the cultures around the world.”