LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An all-star cast of performers honored singer Barbra Streisand on Friday for her decades-long music career and philanthropy, in the MusiCares Foundation’s annual Person of the Year ceremony.
The event tied to the Grammy Awards brought together a diverse array of singers, from music legend Stevie Wonder to Lea Michele of the youth-oriented television show “Glee.”
Streisand, an eight-time Grammy winner, took a break from an evening otherwise dedicated to herself to praise Egypt’s popular uprising and the toppling of the country’s leader Hosni Mubarak, although she did not mention Egypt by name.
“As anyone watching the news can see, the potential for democracy triumphed over the tyranny of dictatorship, and I just hope this historical moment leads to freedom, prosperity and lasting peace between great nations,” Streisand said.
Streisand then sang “The Way We Were,” one of several renditions of her classic numbers that she performed for an audience of 2,500 people at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
MusiCares is an organization created by the Recording Academy to provide a safety net for musicians who fall into financial trouble. It gave away $2.5 million last year.
Streisand supports MusiCares. Her The Streisand Foundation has also given millions of dollars in grants to other groups.
The 68-year-old singer has been a tireless supporter of the U.S. Democratic Party, and of political causes popular with liberals. That fact was noted by comedian Bill Maher in his stage appearance to honor her.
“I don’t like to get political, but I have always loved her politics,” joked Maher, who is also known for liberal views.
Stevie Wonder performed Streisand’s signature song “People,” as he played piano and gave a harmonica solo.
The 84-year-old jazz legend Tony Bennett sang “Smile,” a number written by Charlie Chaplin. Other performers included crooner Barry Manilow and country star Faith Hill.
Lea Michele was one of several young stars from the hit Fox show “Glee” who sang for Streisand. The musical comedy show has used some of Streisand’s songs in the past.
Streisand’s latest release “Love Is The Answer” is up for a Grammy Award on Sunday in the best traditional pop vocal album category. She is the only performer to have a No. 1 album in five consecutive decades.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jackie Frank