BUFFALO — Metropolitan Opera star Angela Brown kicked off a new fundraising drive aimed at exposing kids to opera and classical music this morning by performing for 2,400 Buffalo public school students in Kleinhans Music Hall.
The Cultures of Giving Legacy Initiative, sponsored by the Community Foundation, encourages philanthropists of color in building an endowment to change the lives of youths living in low-income communities of color.
"This initiative is one of the first of its kind in its country - an endowment established by racially and ethnically diverse leaders to benefit youth in our collective communities," Alphonso O'Neil-White, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, said before Brown's performance.
Brown's soaring arias accompanied by piano and incredible range had the elementary school students hooked.
"I really, really like what the Buffalo school system and this initiative is trying to do — bringing everyone together under a common cause," Brown said. "When I'm out on the opera stages of the world I'm up on the stage and there's diversity ... but when I look out on the audience I don't see that diversity."
Brown also will appear today at a VIP reception at 5:30 p.m. and a performance and reception afterward, also in Kleinhans.
Hear some of Brown's performance today: