“Reagan centennial takes center stage.” By Alan Levin. USA Today. February 6, 2011. Thousands of people celebrated the 100th anniversary Sunday of Ronald Reagan’s birth, from the tiny Illinois farming town where he was born to the California hilltop where his gleaming presidential library stands. A giant television audience saw a video tribute to the 40th president shortly before kickoff of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. At the presidential library in Simi Valley, former first lady Nancy Reagan laid a wreath at his tomb, fighter jets rumbled overhead in a ceremonial flyover, and the largest reunion of Reagan staffers since he left office 22 years ago rekindled memories of the former actor who served two terms in the White House, from 1981 to 1989. A last-minute fundraising surge pushed the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and
Library over its goal to raise a $100 million endowment just days before the centennial, the group’s chairman said. “With the centennial coming up, it got us into a position where we could cross the finish line on our $100 million goal,” said Fred Ryan, chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees and a former Reagan White House staffer. The endowment will ensure that the library can continue sponsoring exhibits, hosting speakers and assisting historians in “perpetuity,” Ryan said. The group’s main goal: to educate the young about Reagan and his legacy, he said.
“Rocking Roster Keeps Young at Heart; Annual Fund-Raiser for Music Education Takes Up the Songs of Rock’s Enduring Troubadour.” By Jim Fussili. Wall Street Journal. February 8, 2011. Many of the artists who will appear at the Music of Neil Young benefit concert at Carnegie Hall on Thursday, and at the public rehearsal at City Winery one night earlier, have a longstanding relationship with Mr. Young’s music. “I got into Neil Young when I was 16 or 17,” recalled Ben Ottewell of the band Gomez. “My dad was a fan. I remember him buying ‘Harvest Moon.’” In his solo shows, Mr. Ottewell plays “Unknown Legend” from that 1992 album. Keller Williams included many Young songs in his sets when he was starting out, no doubt attracted to the composer’s use of simple folk chords and wistful major sevenths. “It was more than just his songwriting capabilities and the way he can paint a landscape with the words,” Mr. Williams said. “In the ’60s and ’70s, he was a true freak. He’d fearlessly go into uncharted territories.” The concerts this week are part of a series begun in 2005 to benefit youth organizations dedicated to music education, said producer and organizer Michael Dorf. (A list of the organizations can be found at www.neilyoungcarnegie.com.)