For Immediate Release
May 8, 2010
George Cappannelli
Sedena Cappannelli
Freda Payne Receives AgeNation Life Achievement Award As Broadway Series Opens at The Lensic

Freda Payne, star of A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald, received an AgeNation Life Achievement Award on stage at the Lensic on Saturday Night prior to the performance of this highly acclaimed salute to one of America’s musical legends.  A Broadway series is hosted by Empower New Mexico and produced by AgeNation.

Mayor David Coss welcomed Ms. Payne and read a city proclamation. Emmy Award winning composer, Gerry Fried and Julie Sinatra, one of “Old Blue Eyes” daughters, also took part in the presentation reading congratulatory messages from Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, and a number of Freda’s colleagues from the worlds of music, television and theater including her sister, Scherrie, one of the original Supremes, who called Freda, “My hero!”.

In presenting the award, AgeNation’s co-founders, George and Sedena Cappannelli, acknowledged that Freda had worked with legends like Pearl Bailey, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Sammy Davis Jr., Billy Eckstine, Quincy Jones and many others.  “Your numerous jazz albums and million-selling singles”, they said, “your starring roles on Broadway, in films and on television exemplify your artistic excellence as well as your grace, beauty and generosity.”

Ms. Payne then proceeded to give an inspired performance that demonstrated what Duke Ellington called her velvet voice and as laced with colorful personal stories about the legends she has been privileged to work with in the big band era. A special post-theater champagne and chocolates VIP reception followed at Milagro139.

As part of “A Broadway Series” at the Lensic, Empower New Mexico has announced two other award recipients, Senator Tom Udall and Nancy Zeckendorf, Chairman of The Lensic Board. Presentations will be made during the next two productions Say Good Night Gracie on June 5th and Ethel Merman’s Broadway on June 26th.

AgeNation Life Achievement Awards are presented to individuals whose life and body of work both in their primary careers as well as in their relationship with their community at large serve as inspiring examples of what is possible for people in the second half of life as well as to younger individuals who may have limited perspectives of what older individuals can and do achieve.

Through A Broadway Series and other special events, Empower New Mexico seeks to raise both awareness and funds to underwrite efforts that inform, inspire and engage individuals in the second half of life on the critical challenges and important opportunities facing them as a result of the demographic revolution that will soon find 50% of our population here in New Mexico and around the country over 50 years of age for the first time in history.

These events will also raise funds to support other vital programs hosted by Empower New Mexico and produced by AgeNation in 2010 and beyond: Navigating The Future Dialogues, a series of open forums designed to inform and engage Santa Feans on critical issues relating to eldership and aging that will be presented September-November; Navigating The Future Conference, a thought leader conference at the Albuquerque Convention Center in October featuring world-class experts and authors; and Inspire New Mexico, a state wide public service radio and television campaign designed to assist both older and younger New Mexican’s to redefine aging and better understand the opportunities available to them. Funds raised from A Broadway Series will also support the work of other non-profit organizations that serve vulnerable segments of our aging constituency.

Additional community partners supporting this new model of private-public sector partnership include: American Airlines/American Eagle, our exclusive transportation partner; The Hotel Santa Fe Hacienda and Spa (our hotel partner); Nambe, the creator of the AgeNation Life Achievement Award; The Alzheimer’s Association, Open Hands, and the Emerald City Foundation, our charity partners; The Lensic Performing Arts Center, The Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau; The Reporter, Hutton Broadcasting, Natural Awakenings, Santa Fe One Heart, The New Mexican, KSFR and KUNM our media partners; Don Chalmer’s Lincoln, Mercury & Ford Dealership, our land transportation partner, Rainbow Vision and Collected Works Bookstore.

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