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Heart of Gold
Posted by editor_usa

A Look Back at The Bridge School Fund Raiser

Tuesday 5
December 2006 @ 17:59
– GMT

Neil Young‘s Heart of Gold gala for the Bridge School, featuring Sir Elton, may have been back in late October, but it was only on December 3, 2006 that the San Francisco Chronicle published a review.

The school was co-founded 20 years ago by Pegi Young when the Youngs’ then-8-year-old son, Ben, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. What began as one classroom with four students has grown into a one-of-a-kind learning program (as well as a camp, an outreach program for graduates and a research program) in which students learn active participation in their world through augmentative and alternative communication (ACC) and assistive technology (AT).

Inspired by Ben’s progress at the innovative school in Hillsborough, the Youngs gathered a few of their talented pals and put on a concert. That first show raised about $250K; the current take ranges from $800K to $1 million, all of which funds school operations. But Pegi  realised a new format was needed to ensure the school’s future: Hence the Heart of Gold gala.

They were helped by Giles Marsden of Tiffany, who brought a hundred of the company’s blue boxes for bid — one of which contained a diamond pendant.

Other auction items included a purebred Arabian filly raised by Bonnie Raitt; a 2007 Harley-Davidson Softail tricked out with signatures by Elton, Dave Matthews, Eddie Vedder, Trent Reznor, Brian Wilson and the Youngs, and an evening at the EJAF‘s Oscar party.

Elton gamely goaded bidders, claiming, “Neil and I have never sung Your Song together before.”

He added, ”Tonight, we’ll sing it together. But if you want to hear it, you have to pay!”

Which wasn’t quite true. In early October, the duo deftly performed the same act in New York, when the Youngs guest-starred at Elton’s AIDS Foundation benefit. But there was no quibble here, particularly since it raised $300K.

Appropriately enough, the Youngs opened their set with Heart of Gold.  

And as Elton took the stage, Jennifer Raiser, a dinner committee member, said, “I felt like I was back in middle school again, listening to my purloined copy of  The Bitch Is Back, which I was not allowed to own because the title was so naughty.”

Aside from the great music, gourmet meal and grand Silver Oak wine, guests received a tote bag, adorned with the colourful Bridge School logo. Inside, it was brimming with note cards created by Bridge School student artists, a Bridge School T-shirt, an embroidered Lucky Jeans Foundation Bridge School jeans jacket and a Ray Charles boxed set, Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings 1952-1959.