Festival Napa Valley’s Olivia Decker Power of Music series reached new heights in New York September 7, atop Peak at 30 Hudson Yard. Broadway singer and actress Christina Maxwell headlined the evening, which featured the NYC debut of Taste of Napa and showcased the Festival’s ability to bring audiences together to celebrate music, food, wine, and the art of life. The event was organized in partnership with Related Companies, Hudson Yards, and Peak, as a benefit for Project Healthy Minds, a new nonprofit for mental wellness, dedicated to democratizing mental health resources and destigmatizing the conversation around mental health.
A sold-out audience of 250 gathered at Peak — one of the city’s most exciting, exclusive venues and restaurant, perched atop the 101st Floor of 30 Hudson Yards building. Maxwell performed a sizzling set of Broadway favorites and jazz standards including “Glitter and Be Gay” from Candide, “Cabaret” from Cabaret, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from Wizard of Oz and “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory while guests enjoyed a selection of Napa Valley wines from Blackbird Vineyards, Trinitas Cellars, and the Mondavi Sisters Collection’s Aloft and Dark Matter, together with small bites prepared by Peak Restaurant’s talented culinary team.
A special appearance by Italian tenor Pasquale Esposito who performed with Christina the duet Un Tramonto which Esposito composed, as well as featured performances by renowned clarinetist Anthony McGill and pianist Rieko Tsuchida with musicians from the MET Opera Orchestra, matched the sparkling 360-degree view of Manhattan’s nighttime skyline and moved the audience to an exuberant standing ovation.
The concert was followed by a visit to The Edge to enjoy more views and wines at this highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere. Many guests also completed the evening with dinner at Peak.
“The breathtaking location, world-class artists, delicious food and wine, and Christina’s stunning artistry made this an evening none of us will ever forget,” said Charles Letourneau, Festival Napa Valley’s Vice President, and Director of Artistic Planning.
Distinguished guests from across the globe in attendance representing leaders in business, philanthropy, and the arts included Related Companies’ Jeff Blau, Ken Wong, Greg Gushee, Robbie Bernstein, Craig Kennedy, and John Jacobsson, luxury fashion designer Naeem Khan who dressed Christina Maxwell in two of his stunning gowns for this concert, Tim Busch of the Meritage Collection and Trinitas Cellars, Sir Robert Fairbairn of Blackrock, Allan Rappaport, owner of NES Healthcare Group, Chris Norton of Equinox Hotels, Vanessa Walder of Ness Group, Mark Veich of The Deerfield Foundation, Chena Dedarian of Bank of America, Paul Knopp of KPMG, Yasuhiko Hashimoto of Mikimoto, Gena Smith of LVMH, as well as Festival Napa Valley board members Olivia Decker, Steven Stull and Michael Polenske who contributed the wines from his Blackbird Vineyards in Napa Valley.
“The tremendous response to this event speaks to the importance of mental health awareness across all sectors of our community,” said Jeff Blau, CEO of Related Companies, as he welcomed the audience. “We greatly appreciate the work of everyone involved in tonight’s event in support of Project Healthy Minds.”
The driving force behind the night was Christina Maxwell, whose dedication to the community was matched equally by her talent and charisma onstage throughout the evening. Christina’s talent and charisma caught Olivia Decker’s attention in July 2022 during a performance at Festival Napa Valley and Maxwell was invited to perform Olivia Decker Power of Music concert in Nov. 2022 in Tiburon and performed at the January 2023 Festival Board Retreat in Cabo Mexico and again on June 24, 2023, at private island Li Galli off Positano Italy where Decker introduced Christina to perform duets with Pasquale Esposito. While touring the Peak together in New York in February 2023, Decker and Maxwell came up with the idea of this fund-raising concert at the Peak with Related Companies for Project Healthy Minds.
“My work as an artist brings together people from all walks of life and reminds us of all of the amazing beauty in the world,” she said from the stage. “To have all of you here with me tonight is such a blessing.” Decker added “The power of music is a best way to nurture a healthy mind.” Learn more about Festival Napa Valley and Olivia Decker Power of Music Series at www.festivalnapavalley.org and Project Healthy Minds at www.projecthealthyminds.org.
PHOTOS BY: SABRINA STECK