Piano-rock artist Bareilles to headline Near & Far gala
The gala each year is a major fundraiser for the nonprofit group that in the past 14 years has donated $14 million to reduce the effects of poverty in Fairfield County.
This year's event is at 7 p.m. at Mitchells, the Westport clothier. In addition to the performance by the Grammy-nominated Bareilles, the event will include cocktails, dinner and a fashion show -- plus live and silent auctions of vacation trips, tickets to sporting and fashion events, and wines.
Tickets are $500, available at the Southport-based group's website, www.nearandfaraid.org.
This year's gala is Near & Fair Aid's 20th, and Mitchells has volunteered its store as the venue for each. But the performance by the singer-musician Bareilles marks the first time that a concert has been the main entertainment, the group said in a news release.
"We are thrilled to feature, for the first time in the event's history, an intimate concert with an amazingly talented performer," Bitsy Higgins, the Near & Far Aid president, said in the news release "We believe this is a perfect way to celebrate Near & Far Aid's 20 year partnership with Mitchells of Westport."
Bareilles has been nominated for five Grammy awards, including the Album of the Year in 2014 for "The Blessed Unrest" and Best Pop Solo Performance the same year for her song "Brave."
Cleveland.com called Bareilles' live performance there last July "a punchy, smoldering 90-minute set of music ... that showcased her diverse vocal range and self-deprecating sense of humor."
After graduating from UCLA in 2002, Bareilles played the Los Angeles club scene and issued her first album in 2004. Her big break came in 2007 when iTunes gave away her single "Love Song" free for a week. Sales sales took off and the song climbed to No. 10 in Billboard's Hot 100.
Six more albums and critical acclaim have followed, and she recently relocated from Los Angeles to New York City.
Among more than 200 auction lots at this year's gala are:
VIP tickets to the Wimbledon tennis women's final and men's semifinals, plus accommodations in London;
Trips to St. Lucia, the Bahamas, St. Tropez and Nantucket;
Tickets to the Kids' Choice Awards in Los Angeles;
Tickets to New York Fashion Week runway shows;
A round of for a foursome at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.;
Jewelry and apparel;
Tea at Tiffany's in New York City;
For the auction, Near & Far Aid will use BidPal, a technology that allows patrons to bid on and closely monitor items with smartphones for the duration of the auction. With BidPal, the organization said, gala ticketholders can preview the auction catalogue on the Near & Far Aid website and place bids on select items before the gala.
The 20th annual spring gala coincides with the 60th anniversary of the founding of Near & Far Aid. The organization started by a small group of women as a kitchen-table charity to assist those at home and abroad whose lives had been devastated by World War II.
The volunteer group has since evolved to focus on breaking the cycle of poverty in Fairfield County. In recent years it has awarded a total of about $1 million annually to more than 100 nonprofit organizations that help children, families and individuals.