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Stevie Wonder's House Full of Toys Benefit Concert will also aid victims of California fires
Orange County Register - 11/28/2018
Nov. 27--For more than two decades, R&B singer-songwriter and music icon Stevie Wonder has held his House Full of Toys Benefit Concert in the L.A.-area and through his non-profit We Are You Foundation, he has been able to donate hundreds of thousands of toys to children, people with disabilities and families in need. Each year, he asks his fans to bring a new, unwrapped toy to the show and the Wonder fans are generous, as staff can often be seen hauling barrels full of toys and stacking them into very full U-Haul trucks before the show begins.
This year's 22nd annual event will take place at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, Dec. 9, but the programming will be a bit different. Throughout the years Wonder has played all of his 32 No. 1 singles, deep cuts, Christmas songs and beyond all while being joined by a rotating cast of top-notch performers including Tony Bennett, John Legend, Lionel Richie, Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews, Common, Andra Day, Pharrell Williams and more. This year, however, Wonder said during a news conference held at the Novo at L.A. Live on Tuesday morning, that his heart was a bit heavy this year and he was feeling for those who "lost their dreams, their homes ... and unfortunately their lives," during the recent California wild fires.
"This year, the holiday season will not be joyful for some in our California family, imagine a holiday after this tragedy," Wonder said via a press release.
"As we all know, this has been a crazy crazy time ... fires, just everything that has been going on in the world, in this country," he continued at the news conference before he treated the media to a sneak peek of what he'll be doing at the benefit show by playing "My Cherie Amour," "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" and "Golden Lady." "But on this day, giving day, it's very important for us who have been fortunate to do something for those less fortunate. Though there are some that don't believe in global warming, I do. We have to protect the planet. We have to know that we are going to have to be cognizant of we do."
To help lighten the mood and lift up spirits, Wonder said he'd be bringing his Stevie Wonder Song Party: A Celebration of Life, Love & Music to Staples Center during the benefit concert and run through songs that touch on specific moments in our lives, whether it be a song that couples dance to at their wedding, a father-daughter dance song, a song we turn to during moments of heartache or the ones we put on just to sing at the top of our lungs and dance to like no one is watching. On top of collecting new, unwrapped toys this year, he has also partnered with the Entertainment Industry Foundation to create the House Full of Hope to raise money to support those who lost so much in the fires, as well as the firefighters and first responders who worked tirelessly to fend off the destructive flames.
As part of House Full of Hope, Wonder is asking his supporters to donate to the EIF's Fire Fund at at www.musicforrelief.org/hope or text GIVE25 to 50555 to make a $25 contribution.
"We are deeply grateful to Stevie Wonder for giving the gift of his extraordinary music to support those in need this holiday season," Nicole Sexton, president and CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, said. "Like Stevie, we are humbled by the work of California's courageous firefighters and first responders. We are proud to support them through ELF's crisis response program, Music for Relief, and honored that Stevie has chosen them as one of the beneficiaries of this event."
Michael Roth, AEG's vice president of communications, said that as Staples Center readies to celebrate its 20th anniversary in Los Angeles in 2019, the company is proud of the work it has done to give back to "not just downtown, not just the Civic Center, but Los Angeles is where we started our company and Los Angeles is very important to us and Los Angeles is a city we hold in our heart and want to reach out and do what we can as often as we can."
One of the partners in that for almost two decades has been Wonder, Roth added.
"He has put on his House Full of Toys numerous times ... and again, we're going to sing, we're going to dance, we're going experience all the joy and love that Stevie's greatest hits have brought to our lives."
Stevie Wonder's House Full of Toys Benefit Concert
When: 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9
Where: Staples Center, 1111 S Figueroa Street, Los Angeles
(c)2018 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)
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