United Way Honoree and Motown Fan Sings Again

Fans of my sister—and all of our readers who appreciate public speaking—will enjoy Anne’s follow-up to her Broadway debut. (Here’s an earlier column, Motown Fan Makes Her Broadway Debut.)

Last week Anne was honored by the United Way of Santa Barbara for philanthropy. She has chaired or been a trustee of many arts and education-based nonprofits.  I traveled across country to cheer her on.  We enjoyed three fun days of catching up with Anne’s family, bargain cashmere shopping, hiking, and lunch with Anne’s Angel Group.  Strolling State Street downtown with my sister is, as one of her friends put it, “like walking with the mayor.”

The night of the award, the emcee was Anne’s dear friend Debby Davison, a retired news anchor for KEYT-TV, formerly owned by Anne and her late first husband Bobby.  Debby delivered a touching tribute to Anne accompanied by slides showing our parents, the two of us as children, and Anne in various community and family roles.

Anne didn’t tell anyone, not even husband Mike, about how she planned to accept her award.  In a red Stella McCartney gown that attested to her Pilates and Yoga devotion, she glided to the stage.  She thanked the United Way and commended Tom and Sue Parker of the Hutton Parker Foundation, the other honorees. She also thanked the Santa Barbara Foundation which named her Woman of the Year two weeks before.

“A third exciting thing happened recently,” she said.  She recalled our recent sisters’ trip to New York.  A downpour led to our making new friends and scoring great seats for Motown the Musical.  And to Anne’s getting the chance to join the Diana Ross character on stage singing “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand.”

She said, “It occurred to me how important that message is.  We all need to reach out and touch somebody’s hand.  That’s what we’re doing here tonight.” She asked the audience to join her in singing the refrain.  She gestured to the band and said, “This is something I’ve always wanted to say: Hit it, Maestro.”

The ballroom resounded in song.  Voices grew stronger with each refrain, Anne’s the strongest of all.  Some 400 adults held hands around their tables and swayed to the music.  After, I know I wasn’t the only one digging in her handbag for tissue.

It was short and sweet and inspiring.

Make this world a better place.  My sister can and does.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

7 thoughts on “United Way Honoree and Motown Fan Sings Again

  1. Ginger Curtis

    Oh to have been there to help you celebrate, but your recap describes Anne’s spirit and the event’s beautiful energy so well. Love you, Suzy!

  2. Christy Kelso

    You are so right! It was such an inspiring moment for the entire room. It was truly a special moment when one person, our dear Anne in this case, can capture a moment in time with so much loving energy. Thank you for rekindling the memory and sharing your special sister bond. Hope to see you again soon in CA.

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      Thanks, Christy. So glad you agreed. It was SUCH an inspiring moment. Hope to see you again soon as well.

  3. angela kimble

    So here I sit, all teary-eyed, looking for tissue, and humbled at having read this post Suzy. . . Being in Anne’s presence has always been special … I remember that from when we were kids … this has taken it to a whole different level. With the daily craziness going on in the world – craziness we are continuously bombarded with via all the techno tools at our disposal – how inspiring it was to read that for a few moments in time, your sister brought a room full of people totally together, and also to tears. You, and Anne, have certainly reached out and touched my hand and I just love you both so much. xoxo

  4. Delin

    Dear Suzy ,
    I can feel how proud you are of your sister !
    She is an example to follow and a beautiful lady !
    The goodness that she does is reflected in her eyes !!

    For sure the sisters “make a better place do ALL “

  5. Shirley Piku

    Congrats to sister Ann for her awards. Glad you could join her. Sisters are very important – my sister Pat is my best friend along with daughter Grace (sometimes Pat claims her for her own daughter since the two are “mischief makers in common”.) We have shared many joys and sorrows together. So glad to have her as you must be glad to have your sister Ann. Think I met her during one of your events at the farm. Regards from Merida Yucatan

Comments are closed.