My Cinderella night at The Maestro Cares Foundation 3rd Annual Gala fan experience…Trying to figure out where to start and it’s a little daunting as I am trying to comprehend what all this fan love means to me and for Marc Anthony’s fans. As a kid I dreamed about being at glamorous events as any little girl who has ever watched Cinderella can attest to. You dream about the night’s event, the dress you will wear, the hair style you will have, the make-up and of course the shoes; what’s a glamorous event without amazing shinny and sparkly shoes. After all that is what saved Cinderella her shoe, right?
As I was getting ready for the Maestro Cares Gala I was thinking about what that fan experience would be like. Before I left the house my friend Toni and I (who happened to have extended her Marc Anthony weekend at my house as we had volunteered for Maestro Cares at Marc’s concerts at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ and The WesternBank Arena in Bridgeport, CT) said a prayer. While saying the prayer I asked God that I hoped that my purpose in going was not about “Marc only” but about my true intentions in supporting the foundation, networking a bit, being able to come back and write my fan experience for the fans who do not have the opportunities I have. Well here we go…
This was my second time attending the Maestro Cares Gala I attended in 2014 and as I walked towards Cipriani At Wall Street it was all very familiar. I remembered being seven years old and it had been about a month since we had moved to Brooklyn, NY from Puerto Rico and my uncle drove us through Wall St. I was fascinated with the tall buildings and the cobble stone streets. I asked my uncle what did people do in this area, what happened in the office buildings; and my uncle said, “Wildy (my family’s nickname for me ) they make money here, the world does not run without this place”. Just then I decided that when I grew up that Wall St is the area I was going to work in. And as God would have it, my first “real job” while in college was in the Wall Street area at 55 Water St, for a financial institution. Then several years later my office moved to “45 Wall St”. So many beautiful memories overcame me while walking to the Gala I was overwhelmed with nostalgia as my career dreams were lived on those streets as a young adult and later as a mom. I was working at 45 Wall St when 9/11 happened; needless to say my life changed forever.
All those nostalgic feelings brought me to my current reality that of “Vivir Mi Vida/ Living My Life” as Marc Anthony’s songs says; living my life as well as my fan life with dreams come true. I entered, the place I could already feel the feeling of anticipation. I checked my coat, got my table information and proceeded to the cocktail area. I immediately spotted some familiar faces and I started to greet friends and acquaintances; most of them were people from the foundation that assist with the volunteers and those that work for CMN Events. My attention soon turned to my phone as I needed to make sure that it be charged as I knew that I would need to take photos and videos (technology an amazing thing). I was lucky to find a room where I was able to charge my phone. Soon after I made it to my seat and was glad to find that I was seated next to Maria whom I had sat with the year before last when I attended first Gala. Everyone at my table was so nice, fun we all had a great time chatting, and networking. Seated at my table was a Dominican painter who had donated one of his paintings to be auctioned off that evening, which went for $15,000. There were many items auctioned off and lots of money raised by many generous supporters. I lost my bid for the front row tickets at Foxwoods, not surprised though :).
Enrique Santos came on stage to welcome us and introduce Whoopy Goldberg who was co-presenter and the evening became all about the reason we were all there for; our support of the foundation. Marc Anthony and Mr. Henry Cardenas, CEO of Cardenas Marketing Network (CMN), the founders of the foundations came on stage and spoke about all the progress the foundation is doing. We also had a surprise in that they brought two of the children that live in the orphanages the foundations supports. Their testimony was sad as they spoke about being abandoned by their parents but their speech was also heartfelt and filled with optimism as a result of the foundation’s work in improving their living conditions and the education provided. It was great to see these young people speak with such eloquence and resolve knowing that their life is only going to get better because of The Maestro Cares Foundation supporters. It was a very proud feeling for me having coordinated volunteers from all over the US for the foundation and also my work as a volunteer and supporter. All of the pain we feel while standing up 4 to 5 hours collecting donations is all worth it; when you hear about all the difference that the foundation is making in these children’s lives hence the foundation’s statement, “CHANGING LIVES, BUILDING DREAMS”. As a Marc Anthony fan who from the minute that I heard that Marc had a foundation, I immediately knew that his fans would be part of it in every way possible. I am proud to say I am one of those fans.
Juan Louis Guerra was scheduled to attend but he had difficulty flying in because of the snow storm up north; so Marc accepted his award for him and Mr. Guerra expressed his gratitude for being the Community Hero Award recipient via a short video that was presented. Mr. Guerra’s foundation supports children that are burn victims as well as senior care facilities. President and CEO of Trackfone Wireless Inc., F.J. Pollak was presented with the Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility Award. Trackfone and affiliates are the providers of no contracts cellular service.
The evening’s highlight for me was seeing the 42nd United States President, Bill Clinton, who received the Global Humanitarian Award for his work a founder of The Clinton Foundation. The Clinton Foundation is dedicated to improving health care, strengthening economies, promoting children’s health, and also have many other initiative around the world including serving those living with HIV/AIDS. Former President Clinton spoke about the progress his foundation has made through the world. He expressed how he knows that the Maestro Cares Foundation in several more years will also have that type of impact worldwide. I was all excited with Clinton as history was my favorite subject in school, learning about presidents, and their contributions to the countries they serve has always been an interest of mine. To be in the presence of an “actual living ex-president of the United States” was a thrill for me.
The night was filled with many surprises, J. Alvarez one of the most famous Latin Urban artists stop by my table and took my phone to take selfie with me; he was totally adorable. I have seen him perform live at Stage 48 and at MSG. Salsa artist Victor Manuelle was also at the Gala and I got the chance to take a picture with him and share a fan experience I had with him. When Victor headlined his first show at MSG, I was seated front row and I was able to give him the first bouquet of flowers he received at MSG. He was sweet and said, “WOW all the memories you are just giving me right now”. The evening was filled with lots of celebrities, artists, sport figures such as Carlos Beltran and business people such as Goya’s CEO, Bob Unanue who for some reason he and I always get a chance to chat a bit.
The evening culminated with Marc Anthony and his Band performing; now you know what Professional Fans do; we live to be front row that is always our ultimate goal. I was able to share my front row experience with the Mari Twins and Evelyn. Marc sang several songs glad to say that as predicted by me Marc sang Hotel California (have been around too long and can pretty much predict what he will sing depending on the venue and audience in attendance, crazy but true) which is one of my favorite songs, needless to say I was so happy. Gente De Zona also came on stage to performed with Marc, “La Gozadera”; again impressed with their vocal powers. It never seizes to amaze me how great Marc Anthony’s band members are, they just know how to play anything its awesome musician mastery that I get to experience every time they perform. I could never thank them enough for all the joy they give me as a fan.
My last and ultimate favorite surprise of the evening was seeing and sharing a bit with “Mikey”, who is a former Marc Anthony crew member and one of Marc’s best friends. But to me as a fan Mikey is one of my favorites because he always has a smile on and from time to time Mikey would get on stage to play the guitar and Marc would let him take over the stage as if he was the headliner. Marc and Mikey were always so funny together; it was so much fun to watch their camaraderie. I just miss Mikey on tour as he was always part of my fun fan experience; I was so happy to see him again.
There was a time when Marc would call his fans “Familia” when he had his first “official” fan club, that is what we were. So when we see old band members or crew members we think of them as family too. For those of us who are still around from that era, those were fun times and when we see each other we still reminisce about those days. I will always be grateful to Marc for my amazing fan life and all the friends I have made because of him, God Bless him and his Band/Crew Always!
I am so grateful for another Cinderella like night for me; you work, you prepare, you pray, and miracles happen…that is all it takes; I know its easier said than done but you all know what I mean. #lovemyfanlife 🙂
Please enjoy my fan love experience via the pictures and videos below. #fanlovetothemax #wendytfanlove 🙂
Front row, fan dream come true 🙂
Vocalist: William,Alexandra,JeanMario guitaris, Jessie on drums
Eric on congas
ErbenEddie, Ozzie, Dan, new guy?Ricky GAngel hands up, Curtis,Alex,WilliamJuanito trowing kisses Juanito
Victor Manuelle/Evelyn and me
Luis OrtizEnrique Santos
Maira, and Evelyn, MC Hope sign
Mikey my biggest surprise of the night#fanlove