For the third straight year, veteran reporter Magee Hickey is gathering many colleagues for a musical fundraiser.
Hickey is giving back to the community in a personal way. Money raised will support the Lawrence F. Hickey Center for Child Development in the Bronx, part of Astor Services. Students attending that Dyre Avenue school range in age from three and five.
Hickey’s late father co-founded the school. The senior Hickey died three years ago at age 91, just weeks before the first fund-raising event.
“We close each show singing a song he loved, The Very Thought of You,” Hickey says.
Her dad wasn’t an educator. His background was in concrete.
“He developed the property in the Bronx for this school,” Hickey says.
Mr. Hickey’s “major” may have been construction, but he earned a “minor” in altruism. The elder Hickey was head of his church’s parish council and neighborhood coalition for shelter.
“A nun from a nearby school asked for his help in the building because it was a hole in the wall, and they knew my father had a history in construction,” Hickey recalls. “So he started volunteering at that school [Lexington Avenue and 67th Street] and then word spread that there was this Larry Hickey who liked to help out at special needs schools.”
But this story is also linked to Hickey’s mom, who passed away five years ago.
“Something told me to go face my fear and try to sing,” Hickey recalls. “My mother loved the Great American Songbook…so that music has always reminded me of my mother.”
Hickey is overcoming that fear in a big way. The annual performance puts her on stage showcasing her ability to carry a tune.
While she does have a musical background playing some instruments, such as a flute, her singing prowess needed direction. She took a “Face Your Fear: Cabaret Singing Class” at the 92nd Street Y. That teacher Colette Black, is now Hickey’s fundraiser director.
Hickey is bringing many of her WPIX colleagues to the February 9th event. Among those scheduled to perform: Mr. G, Marvin Scott, Tamsen Fadal, Kaity Tong, and former anchor Jodi Applegate.
Although top-heavy with Channel 11 personnel, Hickey says that other on-air talent will join the show, including David Navarro and Dr. Sapna Parikh from WABC, and WNYW’s Ernie Anastos, who Hickey says will surprise folks with his interpretation of Frank Sinatra music.
“Because we’re all used to live shots and anchoring newscasts, we know how to ad lib,” Hickey says. “We know how to be on stage. We know the point of it isn’t to be the most perfect singer. It’s just to have a good time and raise money for a good cause.’
Despite all the big names, singing, dancing, or telling a few jokes, this is a family affair for the Hickeys. Her brother and a sister add their voices to the cabaret. The Sisters Hickey usually do a duet from Mame. Another sibling is the organizer of the silent action.
Hickey, who by her own admission is not strong in philanthropy, does not place a tag for an annual goal.
“I see other places raise millions, and I think we raise $40-50,000, which goes a long way in the school,” Hickey says.
She says money raised led to fixing a hole in the school’s roof.
Tickets are still available. They are $50, $100, or $150, with the majority of the face value going to the school. The price of the ticket includes a one-hour reception before the curtain raises at 2 p.m.
Those interested in attending can call Dana Valdez at 845 871-1171, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.