Andrea Bocelli at “Celebration of All Fathers” Simin Hope Gala

Photo credit: Vince Bucci

Priscilla Presley, David Foster, and Andrea Bocelli at Simin Hope Gala.

You’d think that Andrea Bocelli singing classical opera with his magnificent voice would be the highlight of any event. But then the renowned tenor thrilled everyone with the most memorable “Besame Mucho” ever sung. However it was his rendition of “Love Me Tender” that sent goosebumps through the crowd, because he serenaded Priscilla Presley with the famous Elvis tune. His son Amos accompanied him on piano. It was a big “Wow” moment at the Simin Hope Foundation inaugural “A Celebration of All Fathers” Gala.

A stage was set up on New York Street at the Paramount Studios lot for the big event that put the spotlight on fathers and benefitted the Simin Hope (SH) Foundation. SH is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to address the problems of under-served and at-risk children through a robust program focusing on medical provision, communication and family strengthening, empowering people and communities. Its founder Simin Hashemizadeh is an inspiring lady who gave a touching tribute to her late father Ruhollah Hashemizadeh.

In addition to Bocelli (the biggest-selling artist in the history of classical music), rapper-entrepreneur and all-around great guy Percy Miller (Master P) was lionized by his son Romeo. Also a popular rapper and Dancing with the Stars alumnus, Romeo said he grew up with great values because “my dad didn’t want to be my friend, he wanted to be a great father.” Also honored were owner/chef of the Anaheim White House Restaurant Bruno Serato; and Kareem Ahmed, President of Landmark Medical Management. They all received awards recognizing individuals who are inspiring parents and positive role models.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Simin Hashemizadeh, owner of South Pacific Surgery Centers, hosted the star-studded, black-tie dinner featuring world-class entertainment on Paramount’s backlot. Among those who entertained the more than 500 guests were Andrea Bocelli, his son Amos Bocelli, composer-hitmaker David Foster, Elisabetta Russo, Andy Madadian, and Cuban soprano Maria Aleida. Plus Iranian-American comic Maz Jobrani was hysterical. Other notables in the audience were Freda Payne, Kevin Lee, Michael Nouri, and the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angles. The wonderful nuns told me the Carmelite’s silent retreat is more popular than ever these days, but we were all glad that the sound of music was in the air at the Simin Hope Gala.