Former Cape Coral City Manager Terry Stewart has always had a large space in his heart for the arts, especially for children in the arts.
That's why he and a few of his friends, including a city councilman and his daughter's best friend, got together for a night of music to support a good cause.
The Cape Coral Council for the Arts and Humanities presented a concert at the Cultural Park Theatre on Monday to raise funds for the council's annual Stars of Tomorrow program.
Terry Stewart performs at the Celebration of Musical Theater event at the Cape Coral Cultural Park Theatre on Monday.
June Summerfield, president of the council, said those who came are those who support the youth of the community.
"That's what's important in our lives right now, that we give all the kids the encouragement that we as adults do care and give credit to those who live a positive life," Summerfield said.
Stewart, who has done this program for more than a decade, performed the classics from the theater, as well as other mainstream music selections from the likes of Josh Groban and Eric Clapton during the two-hour show.
"I've worked in government for 45 years, and I've learned that you can't become a community until you have the arts and culture that are appreciated and supported," Stewart said. "That's why I do this."
Stewart also got some help from North Fort Myers High School graduate Lisa Hamman, who also used the Stars of Tomorrow program to help jump start her performance career.
"I participated in the program when I was younger and got some aid from them and good stage experience," Hamman said. "I grew up at this theatre and the members of the theatre contacted me and I auditioned and they asked me to come back whenever I wanted."
Hamman performed three songs and joined Stewart for a duet, "All I Ask of You" from "Phantom of the Opera."
Also there to lend a hand was City Councilmember Derrick Donnell, who came after the regular council meeting to belt out Kenny Rogers' "Lady."
After the show, the gathering that paid $20 to see the show got the meet the performers and nibble on refreshments. There was also a 50/50 raffle.
The Stars of Tomorrow program is held for the youth of Lee County every fall in elementary, middle and high schools, as well as first-year college students in drama, dance, instrumental and vocal.
Auditions will be held at the theater Saturday, Oct. 11, with the competition on the weekend before Thanksgiving, Nov. 21-23. Last year, two performers ended up receiving Hollywood contracts, Summerfield said.
Summerfield reiterated to the gathering at the beginning of the night what their presence meant.
"You care about the kids and you care about the arts. That's why you're here," Summerfield said.