Held at The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage at the Santa Monica Performing Arts Center on April 27, 2017, The Songs of Our Lives concert, now in its ninth year, gathered and celebrated iconic songwriters and singers on one stage. The concert was produced by Charles and Joan Fox, both longtime supporters of the Fulfillment Fund, with proceeds going to support the nonprofit organization’s mission to make college a reality for students growing up in economically and educationally under-resourced communities in Los Angeles. This year, The Songs of Our Lives was hosted by actor Fred Willard and was directed by Joel Zwick, renowned film, television, and theatre director. Here are the performers from the evening of entertainment and philanthropy.
The concert began with a stunning opening by Artie Butler, who performed “Here’s to Life”, “I’ll Never Find Another You”, and “One More Time” with Chuck Finley. Artie Butler is a popular music arranger, songwriter, and pianist who has worked with Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli, The Rolling Stones, B.B. King, and many more. In addition to being a three-time Emmy nominee, he has been awarded over sixty gold and platinum records, and Grammy nominations over the course of his career.
In addition to performing his country hits “Stop and Smell the Roses” and “Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me”, Mac Davis gave his own rendition of “In the Ghetto”, a song he wrote for Elvis Presley. A multitalented entertainer, he enjoyed much success as a songwriter, country music singer, film and Broadway actor, as well as a TV and radio personality. Besides “In the Ghetto”, other hits he wrote for Elvis Presley include “Memories”, “Don’t Cry Daddy”, and “A Little Less Conversation”, which became a number one hit in 26 countries around the world. Over the years, he has received multiple prestigious awards and accolades, including the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the National Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in New York, the 2015 BMI Icon Award, just to name a few.
Both longtime supporters and board members of the Fulfillment Fund, Charles Fox and his wife Joan Fox are proud of gathering internationally acclaimed songwriters together in front of an appreciative audience. He performed “I Got a Name”, “Ready to Take a Chance Again”, and his Grammy winning hit “Killing Me Softly With His Song” with Tricia Tahara. Fox has said of the Fulfillment Fund, “It’s an extraordinary organization, which helps high-school and college-age students receive mentors, scholarships and other benefits to make their lives more fulfilling… My wife Joan and I created The Songs of Our Lives wanting to help others and make a difference, and over the years the concerts have become more and more successful.”
Bill Withers and Kori Withers
The beloved father-daughter duo brought the concert to a perfect end with a beautiful performance of “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Lean On Me”, and “Just the Two Of Us”. One of America’s favorite singer/songwriters, Bill Withers has found his way into the hearts of millions by combining soulful warmth, a folksy, genuine feel, and an immediately recognizable voice. His signature song “Lean On Me,” in addition to being performed at both President Obama’s and Clinton’s Inauguration, earned him his third Grammy as a songwriter in 1972.
Influenced and inspired by her father, Kori Withers began writing her first songs as a teenager; by age 17, she was already playing acoustic guitar and composing. In addition to performing on-stage with contemporary artists Ed Sheeran, Amos Lee, and Aloe Blacc, Kori had the honor of singing at Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Who Paved The Way Gospel Brunch in 2015.
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