The Hamptons Goes Virtual For Charity


One of the Hamptons’ most popular summer charity events, the 16th Annual Hamptons Happening, went virtual this year with a concert featuring a medley of rock and pop performances by some of today’s favorite enduring and emerging artists.  The charity concert benefitted the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation and its cutting-edge research targeting the abnormal gene functions that cause cancer.

Excitingly, this year’s performer lineup included popstars like Sophie Beem, Caly Bevier and Rufus Wainwright, who returned to the Hamptons Happening from prior-year performances. From her home, Beem performed “Petty,” her new single released the day before. Also performing were Grammy-Award nominated pop star, Sophie B. Hawkins, Constantine Maroulis, the Tony-nominated star of Rock of Ages on Broadway and Steven Reineke, musical director and conductor of the New York Pops.  The award-winning a cappella group Pentatonix performed “Dreams.” 

In a change from the normal programming, the SWCRF dedicated this year’s Hamptons Happening to COVID-19 first responders. Rajeev Fernando, M.D., the Director of Infectious Diseases at the Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, spoke on behalf of first responders. “By the time we saw it spread in Long Island, we were very prepared,” he said. “The community has been very grateful to first responders. We want to tell the community that we will always be on the front lines saving lives.”

Although the coronavirus remains a serious threat to public health, cancer remains the world’s leading cause of death worldwide. “We don’t think of cancer as a pandemic, but in fact, it is. Globally, cancer claims the lives of more than 26,000 people every day,” said Antonella Bertello, co-chair of the Hamptons Happening event committee and proprietor of The Baker House 1650 in East Hampton.

Chris Wragge, anchor of CBS 2 News New York This Morning and co-anchor of CBS 2 New York News at Noon returned to the Hamptons Happening as master of ceremony. He delighted viewers with his blend of humor and energetic news-anchor personality. 

The Hamptons Happening typically draws large crowds for a fête featuring gourmet food, wine and spirit tastings, but this year, supporters hosted dozens of small, private viewing parties with friends and family to observe social-distance guidelines. Many supporters opted to receive a delicious four-course catered dinner by renowned Hamptons Chef Peter Ambrose that was delivered individually wrapped for each guest. Also, the Hamptons Happening beverage sponsors Out East Rosé and Simple Vodka generously provided bottles of their small-batch specialties to accompany the boxed dinners. Virtual attendees also  

shared images of their individual at-home viewing parties that were spread throughout the Hamptons area.  

Dr. Waxman made a tribute to coronavirus first responders. “I can identify with first responders personally because I know what it is like to care for sick people. I have spoken to several front-line healthcare workers who shared with me the sadness of loss, and I say to them, you are giving something of yourself, but you are getting so much more back in return. Tonight, we are thinking about those who have saved lives, supported lives, comforted lives and given of themselves, and we thank you.”


By: Michael J. Snell

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