The Cole twins, Timolin and Casey of Boca Raton, daughters of legendary Nat King Cole, have established Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Inc., a non-profit foundation to benefit music education in schools in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
The Gala was chaired by philanthropist and international financier Alvin Malnik and his wife Nancy Malnik. The Forge, a Miami Beach restaurant and bar, has served as the institution of elegance and taste and was founded by Alvin Malnik in 1968 now owned by his son Shareef Malnik. The historic landmark and American icon has been the home of great music events throughout the years including performances by Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.
The Gala featured visits from celebrity guests and star-studded entertainment including a performance by Siedah Garrett and 11 time Grammy nominated songwriter and producer Dennis Lambert. DJ Irie, a 2007 BET Award nominee and winner of Miami New Times’ 2005 Best Club DJ, lent his award winning musical talent during the cocktail reception and the After Party at the Glass bar inside The Forge. Guests included some of today’s hottest entertainers, the Cole Family and friends.
The Cole twins launched the Foundation after learning of budget cuts in South Florida public schools. The Foundation was created to provide funding for music education to children of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and diversities, including music instrument instruction, music composition and songwriting, technical instruction in the recording arts, music instruments and equipment, and music related seminars and field trips.
“Our father was a pioneer and music legend who transcended color and race. During his lifetime, the arts were an integral part of the educational curriculum; today’s youth are art starved,” said Timolin Cole. “By enriching students with the opportunity to enhance their musical talents and abilities, his legacy lives on.”
Twin sister Casey Cole added, “We believe our father, by right, has earned his place in history as a true American hero and legend through his contributions to the world of music. We hope that through the funds raised we can help inspire a new generation of youth through the power of music.”
Nat King Cole was one of the most popular singers ever to hit the American charts. A brilliant recording and concert artist during the 40s, 50s, and 60s, he attracted millions of fans around the world with a sensitive and caressing singing voice that was unmistakable. Cole had a rare blend of technical musical knowledge and sheer performing artistry topped off with an abundance of showmanship. In the 23 years that he recorded with Capitol Records, he turned out hit after amazing hit – nearly 700 songs – all the while managing to remain a gentle, tolerant and gracious human being.
Cole’s first mainstream vocal hit was his 1943 recording of one of his compositions, “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” based on a black folk tale that his father had used as a theme for a sermon. Johnny Mercer invited him to record it for the fledgling Capitol Records label. It sold over 500,000 copies, proving that folk-based material could appeal to a wide audience. Although Cole would never be considered a rocker, the song can be seen as anticipating the first rock and roll records. Indeed, Bo Diddley, who performed similar transformations of folk material, counted Cole as an influence.
Beginning in the late 1940s, Cole began recording and performing more pop-oriented material for mainstream audiences, often accompanied by a string orchestra. His stature as a popular icon was cemented during this period by hits such as “The Christmas Song” (Cole recorded that tune four times: on June 14, 1946, as a pure Trio recording, on August 19, 1946, with an added string section, on August 24, 1953, and in 1961 for the double album The Nat King Cole Story; this final version, recorded in stereo, is the one most often heard today), “Nature Boy” (1948), “Mona Lisa” (1950), “Too Young” (the #1 song in 1951), and his signature tune “Unforgettable” (1951). While this shift to pop music led some jazz critics and fans to accuse Cole of selling out, he never totally abandoned his jazz roots; as late as 1956, for instance, he recorded an all-jazz album After Midnight. Cole had one of his last big hits two years before his death, in 1963, with the classic “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer”, which reached #6 on the Pop chart.
In 1965, Nat King Cole died tragically of lung cancer. He was only 45. Nathaniel Adams Coles was born in Montgomery, Alabama on March 17, 1919. He was the son of Baptist minister, Edward James Coles, and mother, Perlina Adams, who sang soprano and directed the choir in her husband’s church. Cole grew up in Chicago, met and married a girl in New York named Maria Hawkins, who was from Boston. They had five children and lived in Hancock Park in Los Angeles.
NKC Generation Hope, Inc. has been established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in South Florida. Its officers are Timolin and Casey Cole, both of Boca Raton. Honorary Board Members are: Mrs. Nat King Cole of Ponte Vedre, Fla.; Ms. Natalie Cole and Ms. Carole Cole, both of Los Angeles; Mr. Jimmy Cefalo of Pittston, Pennsylvania; Mr. Colin Cowie of Los Angeles; Mr. Anthony C. Gruppo of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Mr. and Mrs. Ellis Jones of Los Angeles; Ms. Leslie Linder of West Palm Beach; Mr. and Mrs. Al Malnik of Palm Beach; Ms. Marylynne Stephan McGlone of Palm Beach; Ms.Holly Robinson and Mr. Rodney Peete, both of Los Angeles, Ms. Madelyn Savarick of Boca Raton; and Mr. and Mrs. Jordan Zimmerman also of Boca Raton.
To obtain more information on Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Inc., please visit: www.natkingcolefoundation.org