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Benefit Concert for Australian Bushfire Relief Announced

Published February 18, 2020   |  By Alicia Cook  |  Post in All Areas

On Tuesday, March 3, Lyric Opera Stage Artists (of Lyric Opera of Chicago) will host a benefit concert for Australian Bushfire Relief, with all proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the sanctuary of the Second Presbyterian Church, the benefit concert will feature AGMA members of the Lyric Opera Chorus; pianist Noah Lindquist; and Lyric Opera Chorus Master, Michael Black.

Michael Black was born and raised in Sydney, Australia and was at Sydney Opera House for 13 years. Black returned to his home to see friends and family over Christmas. It was during that visit that he experienced the enormity of the bushfires.

The 2019–20 Australian bushfire season started with several serious fires in June 2019. According to multiple reports, as of January 2020, hundreds of fires have been or still are burning, mainly in the southeast of the country. An estimated 46 million acres have been burned, over 5,900 buildings (including 2,779 homes) are destroyed, and least 34 people have been reported dead. An estimated one billion animals have been killed and some endangered species may be driven to extinction.

Via Getty Images
Wildlife rescuer Simon Adamczyk with a koala at a burning forest near Cape Borda on Kangaroo Island, southwest of Adelaide, Australia, January 7, 2020. AAP Image/David Mariuz/via REUTERS

Black returned to Chicago and shared his sorrow with his Lyric Opera colleagues. Just a few days later, members of the Lyric Chorus approached Black with a touching idea: they wanted to help put on a benefit concert.

“I will never forget the kindness of my AGMA friends and colleagues for their generosity in reaching out in this time of need and sadness in my homeland,” expressed Black, who moved permanently to the U.S. in 2013 and is now in his seventh season at Lyric Opera.

All performers are donating their time and the venue has been donated as well. The Australian Consulate is supporting and advertising the benefit concert and they are expecting a large crowd. Donations of any amount, at the door - or made ahead of time by visiting here - will grant admission. For more information please contact Howard Tiffen at htiffen@gmail.com.

Lyric Opera Chicago was founded in 1954. Lyric Opera Stage Artists (LOSA) is a service organization that is comprised of members of the AGMA shop at Lyric Opera of Chicago. They participate in many community outreach programs including volunteering at food banks, putting on concerts in senior centers, and sponsoring a tee-ball team.