View My Stats

Sunday, November 03, 2013

"Just a Thought" Column runs in La Prensa of SA, 11-3

Just a Thought: Celebrity Song Slam
By Steve Walker

This past week I was fortunate to attend the 11th Annual American Sunrise Gala Celebrity Song Slam hosted by former Mayor Henry Cisneros and his wife, former Councilwoman Mary Alice Cisneros. I have participated for a few years by covering the event in photos as the Editor of the Walker Report photo blog like I do for La Prensa. This year was no exception.

While the La Prensa Foundation Awards Gala raises money for college scholarships, American Sunrise’s mission is to create a model of comprehensive educational and financial literacy services that will transform the lives of disadvantaged communities.

By attempting to lift people out of poverty, American Sunrise’s goal is to also break the cycle of illiteracy by offering those services that will equip them to at some point apply for those scholarships that are offered by the La Prensa Foundation. Since I think like a teacher having been in the classroom for 26 years the connection makes sense to me.

Unlike La Prensa which is not limited to a designated area, American Sunrise concentrates on a one square mile area in the poor section of the Westside and infuses all the energy programs and funds into that targeted area to make measurable and visibly significant differences and improvements. It includes Prospect Hill where the former Mayor and Councilwoman reside.

The event was very entertaining as four diverse community leaders who claimed they could sing a song or two volunteered to perform in front of the crowd and put their reputation on the line. It turned out to be a really competitive and entertaining evening with the audience voting on their favorite singer. 

Reminiscent of “America’s Got Talent” and “The Voice” the contestants sang their hearts out in hope of making the second round and compete for the prize of two plane tickets to anywhere in the United States.

The four contestants included San Antonio Express-News Columnist and past President of the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists Elaine Ayala, San Antonio City Clerk Leticia Vacek, SABEResPODER CEO (Spanish Language Media) Raul Lomeli-Azoubel, and SAMM Ministries CEO Navarra Williams.

Judges included: “America’s Got Talent” semi finalist 13-year-old Sebastien de la Cuz, former news anchor for KMOL-TV (now News-4 WOAI) Maria Elena Torralva (1st Latina to anchor) and local singer Evelyn O’Leary who performs in local restaurants and night clubs with local bands. 

Raul Lomeli-Azoubel, and Navarra Williams moved to the second round with Williams winning the competition with his rendition of the Temptations song “Moving” with dance moves and hitting high notes in a falsetto voice. It was an evening with great entertainment and fundraising for literacy.

Anyway, as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”

Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and former Justice of the Peace and Journalist.

No comments: