In recognition of internationally renowned singer, painter and civic leader Tony Bennett's contributions to San Francisco, the City will honor him with several tributes celebrating his 90th birthday. The festivities will begin with a free, public dedication and unveiling of the 8-foot-tall bronze statue of Mr. Bennett atop Nob Hill on the lawn of Fairmont San Francisco on Friday, August 19 at noon; festivities start at 11:30 a.m. Friday evening, the World Champion San Francisco Giants will pay tribute to the legend with "Tony Bennett Night" as they take on the New York Mets. The weekend's events culminate on Saturday, August 20 with a benefit dinner and concert in Fairmont San Francisco's famous Venetian Room where he first performed I Left My Heart in San Francisco in public. Proceeds from the evening will support The Tony Bennett Fund for Emergency Pediatric Care at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and the San Francisco Special Events Committee. For more information about the free, public dedication and unveiling visit the official Facebook event page at www.facebook.com/events/681318672018196/. For tickets and details about the benefit dinner and concert call (415) 554-5257.
"Tony Bennett and San Francisco are inseparable. A statue of a great American performing artist usually happens in the birthplace of the artist. Throughout the world, people associate San Francisco as being Tony Bennett's home for one reason and one reason only - his signature song I Left My Heart in San Francisco. This 8-foot-tall statue on the greens of Fairmont San Francisco says to the world: Tony Bennett is home," proclaimed former Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr.
The brief program and festivities proceeding the public dedication and unveiling will feature Tony Bennett, Mayor Edwin M. Lee, former Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., San Francisco Giants' CEO Larry Baer, Regional Vice President & General Manager of Fairmont San Francisco, Paul Tormey, Chief of Protocol, City and County of San Francisco and State of California, Charlotte Mailliard Shultz, San Francisco Boys Chorus, San Francisco Girls Chorus and SFJAZZ High School All Stars Combo.
"On behalf of Mayor Ed Lee and the San Francisco Special Events Committee, I am proud to be a part of the incredible events honoring the City and my friend, the incomparable Tony Bennett!" said California and San Francisco Chief of Protocol Charlotte Shultz. Adding, "We look forward to seeing many of Tony's fans from all over the Bay Area at the dedication."
Bay Area sculptor Bruce Wolfe began work on the 8-foot-tall bronze statue at the beginning of the year and is currently putting the finishing touches on the sculpture in his studio in Piedmont, California. Mr. Wolfe has also created statues of Willie L. Brown, Jr., George P. Shultz, Steve Silver and Harvey Milk. The statue was funded by private contributions to the San Francisco Special Events Committee.
"Tony Bennett has created a beautiful harmony with the Bay Area and our landmark hotel over the years. Fairmont San Francisco is honored to serve as the "home" for this spectacular statue that celebrates his amazing relationship with this city and our iconic property," said Paul Tormey, Regional Vice President & General Manager of Fairmont San Francisco.
The Tony Bennett Day celebration on Friday, August 19th will continue that evening at AT&T Park when the San Francisco Giants take on the New York Mets. The Giants will honor Tony in a pre-game ceremony and throughout the game. Tony is also to perform "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" for the fans.
In December 1961, Mr. Bennett first sang I Left My Heart in San Francisco in the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Room. The song has gone on to become one of the City by the Bay's official anthems. The benefit on Saturday, August 20 begins with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by a lavish dinner at 7:30 p.m. by Fairmont San Francisco's renowned culinary team. The evening culminates with a concert featuring Mr. Bennett and his orchestra and benefits The Tony Bennett Fund for Emergency Pediatric Care at Zuckerberg San Francisco General [ZSFG] and the San Francisco Special Events Committee.
Proceeds from the evening will establish The Tony Bennett Fund for Emergency Pediatric Care at ZSFG and will help make every child's emergency care experience uniquely caring, calm and safe. 42,000 children receive care at ZSFG clinics every year and 12,000 come through the Emergency Department. The fund will provide resources for medical professionals to best comfort and care for children when they need it most. A plaque in honor of the fund will be prominently displayed in the Pediatric Playroom on the 2nd floor of the recently opened Zuckerberg San Francisco General. This room is an important component of the 2nd floor pediatrics unit and is designed to reduce the stress a child can feel in a hospital environment. Children who are well enough can engage in therapeutic play activity with toys and games as well as interact with siblings or other patients.