Why We Sing: LA Opera and City of Hope

Through the combined efforts of community venues and LA Opera, the public has access to opera throughout Los Angeles County, with recitals tailored to each individual community. Performances take place at a variety of spaces including libraries, museums, hospitals, community centers, senior centers and outdoor venues.

Read about LA Opera artist Ashley Faatoalia’s experience singing at a previous concert at City of Hope, in anticipation of an upcoming concert on June 15.

LA Opera artist Ashley Faatoalia

LA Opera artist Ashley Faatoalia

I’ve been fortunate enough to sing at several of the LA Opera‘s City of Hope concerts. While it’s always an honor to participate as an artist, I have never received the response I did on this day.

Following the concert, I stayed outside the auditorium with my fellow artists to greet our audience. After several exchanges with people asking for photos, thanking us for coming, and asking about the company, I headed inside for a few photos with the ensemble. Just as I walked away, a lady approached me with tears in her eyes. She told me that she was a cancer patient receiving treatment on campus. She told me that things had not been easy, and that she almost didn’t come to the concert. Then she took my hands and thanked me for “making time stop for a little while” and taking her mind off her illness. We hugged and I gave her my best wishes for recovery.

I don’t share this often, but my father passed away in 2006 after a two year fight with pancreatic cancer. Whenever people ask who my heroes are, I always list him because he lived and fought against his disease for two years after the doctors told him he’d be gone in a matter of weeks. I was raised by my mom, and my father and I didn’t always have the closest relationship, but his illness brought us together in a strange way. I watched him have good days as well as awful ones. Even when he was at his worst, he found ways to take his mind off things (usually through laughter or music). One of my last memories with him is from my senior recital at Chapman University. He was clearly ill, the cancer was spreading, and he was not himself. In spite of all this he came and shared one of the most important musical events of my life with me and waited afterwards to hug me and tell me that I had done well. I cherish that moment.

When this lady spoke to me so sincerely and openly, it touched me in a profound way and brought back memories of my dad. I feel proud to be a part of the Education and Commuity Programs department and the work that we do and blessed for the ability to change someone’s day and make it a little brighter.

For more information on our upcoming community performance at City of Hope, click here.

LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.
This entry was posted in EduCom and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why We Sing: LA Opera and City of Hope

  1. Your story is so meaningful, can I attend your next community gig?

  2. Jennifer Babcock says:

    Ashley will be performing at City of Hope on Friday at noon. It’s a free recital and open to the public. Hope to see you there!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *