WHAT First Initiative Foundation Gala Dinner WHEN June 21, 2017 WHERE InterContinental
“World in Tune” was the theme of the First Initiative Foundation gala dinner, which was held at the InterContinental Hong Kong. More than 350 guests enjoyed champagne and opera cakes by Dalloyau in a garden-themed cocktail area before entering the extravagant ballroom, which was decked out like a charming home replete with wallpaper panels and illuminated centrepieces. Fancl was the principal sponsor and charitable partner of the gala, which raised funds to further the aims of the foundation— to uplift Hong Kong at all levels through celebrating and promoting education, creativity and mentorship, and to harness the power of music, art and design to unite and support the community at large.
The evening’s theme was an apt choice, as the gala joined a series of events under the foundation’s World In Tune Initiative, including An Evening with Renée Fleming (a recital before an audience of 2,000 that took place the previous evening), a Renée Fleming Masterclass, which benefited more than 200 of the foundation’s students and teachers, and a fundraising recording featuring Eason Chan, Lang Lang and Renée.
In a brief welcoming address, chairwoman Michelle Ong outlined the foundation’s progress to date and thanked those present for their support before presenting Renée and Leon Ko, the composer who did the musical arrangement for the recording, with the foundation’s Medal of Merit for their continuing charitable efforts. Then guests were treated to a stellar line-up of entertainment. High points included New Zealand songstress Hayley Westenra’s rendition of the Kiwi classic Pokarekare Ana accompanied by Chinese guitarist Yang Xuefei, a performance by Singaporean musician Hanjin Tan and the Metro Vocal Group, a Hong Kong-based American a cappella ensemble, and an exclusive preview performance of the fundraising recording by Renée, Lang and Eason, who was a recipient of the Medal of Merit in 2016.
A live auction also took place, with Jin Ling of Christie’s as the energetic hammer wielder. Lots that went for above their estimates included a Jacob & Co skeleton watch, which was snapped up by financier Liu Yang, and a collection of wines from Henry Tang’s cellar, which resulted in a bidding war from which the chairman of the MTR Corporation, Frederick Ma, emerged victorious.