Judy Collins to sing at fundraiser in Gypsum | VailDaily.com

Judy Collins to sing at fundraiser in Gypsum

Caramie Schnell
Gypsum CO Colorado
Special to the Daily/James Veysey

GYPSUM – The song “Amazing Grace” has no boundaries in terms of spiritual or religious beliefs, that’s part of why Judy Collins loves it so much.

“It’s a great song,” Collins said during a recent phone interview. “I’ve known it since I was a child. I recorded it in 1970 and it was a huge hit. It’s a song that touches everyone. I think that’s part of its appeal.”

Amazing Grace is the theme of Tuesday night’s Star Dancing Gala taking place at the Vail Valley Jet Center in Gypsum, where Collins will perform the classic tune.

“It’s a theme that really resonates with our programs,” said Katie Santambrogio, the event and marketing director for the foundation, which strives to nurture the educational success and character development of at-risk youth in Eagle County. “Getting to see how the kids in the programs progress is an example of amazing grace and the donors that contribute to the Youth Foundation are an example of amazing grace as well.”

Collins will sing a few other songs as well, but you’ll have to attend to find out what.

“We don’t want to give away too much as we want it to be a surprise for our guests,” said Katie Santambrogio, the event and marketing director for the foundation. “No matter what there will be tears as it will be a very emotional performance, I’m sure.”

Setting the tone

Susan Milhoan, the Youth Foundation’s development director, grew up in Denver with Collins and has known Collins and her family for many years. She’s been asking Collins (who used to have a home in Eagle County) to perform for the better part of 10 years, she said.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to have Judy perform and specifically to sing ‘Amazing Grace,'” Milhoan said. “The way she sings it is absolutely gorgeous and it’s really going to set the tone for our evening.”

This is the third year the gala, the foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year, has taken place at the Vail Valley Jet Center. Last year was the first dance-themed gala modeled after the ABC show “Dancing With The Stars.”

“It really came together and came off so beautifully,” Milhoan said. “We were going to skip this year, but the board members said this was too much fun and the public said it was the best party they’d ever seen in the Vail Valley and we said OK, let’s strike while the iron is hot and do it again.”

This year a total of 13 dancers will perform 10 dance numbers ranging from salsa to Argentine tango, Milhoan said.

“Last year when I came up with this idea I started asking locals to dance and people were absolutely, totally in agreement to do it,” Milhoan said. “Not only do they want to dance, they love the idea of being able to help kids.

“The definition of amazing grace is someone who does something without expecting anything in return and so often those are the people helping our children,” she continued. “And the children aren’t looking for anything special, but suddenly an angel comes along and helps them.”

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.

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