The Schultz-Hill Foundation was established in 2002 to promote and support arts, history, and education in South Jersey. On August 5, Schultz-Hill celebrated its 20th anniversary with a performance by Grammy award-winning music icon Melissa Manchester.
Not only is Schultz-Hill celebrating its 20th anniversary, but Melissa is celebrating her 50th year as a musician. The pairing was kismet.
Before the show, I found a Barry Manilow hand-print block from July 6, 1980, at Resorts. Considering I’m a huge Barry Manilow fan and I’m seeing him this coming weekend with my parents, this was a delightful surprise.
Performing for more than an hour, Melissa played to a packed house of approximately 1,000 fans, raising more than $135,000 for the Schultz-Hill Foundation. Ensconced in purple sequins, she radiated confidence and joy.
The Bay Atlantic Symphony accompanied Melissa for this performance, and they were spectacular. I’ve seen her numerous times without an orchestra, and the Bay Atlantic Symphony made this Melissa’s best concert yet.
The presence of the Bay Atlantic Symphony allowed Melissa to dramatically alter her set to include more orchestral songs, including those by Dean Martin, Johnny Mathis, Ella Fitzgerald, Dionne Warwick, and Judy Garland, among others.
In addition to tremendous interpretations of iconic songs made famous by those who had a significant influence on her, Melissa turned in electrifying performances of her biggest hits, including “Midnight Blue,” “Through the Eyes of Love,” and my favorite, “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” to name a few.
My parents had never seen Melissa before, so I was excited to bring them to this concert. Little did I know it would wind up being her best. Both of them loved the show and were excited to meet Melissa afterward.
When I approached Melissa, she gave me the biggest hug, asked how my pregnant wife was doing and greeted my parents with open arms. She is one of the kindest and most loving people I know, not to mention a musical virtuoso. I’m delighted I could share such a magical evening with my parents and Melissa.