Tiffany Haas returns to Hampton Roads for fundraising gala

“Whenever I see someone less fortunate than I,” sang a woman on stage. “And let's face it, who isn't less fortunate than I?”

As she sang, the audience at the Two Rivers Country Club turned their chairs around, mesmerized by her.

“Follow my lead, and yes indeed, you, will, be,” the woman sang, slowing down to an eventual dramatic pause to emphasize her point.

“Popular! You're gonna be popular!”

The singer on stage, Tiffany Haas is best known for her role as Glinda in “Wicked the Musical” on Broadway.

Haas performed at the Virginia Symphony Orchestra Society's “An Evening on Broadway” Gala Sunday night.

“To have her come and share the brilliance and the excitement of Broadway just made the evening sparkle,” said Martha Jean, vice president of the VSOS.

Haas grew up in the Yorktown area and took dance lessons at her mother’s studio.

“It is so fun to be at an event for the Virginia Symphony,” Haas said. “I grew up going to the symphony, so now it’s nice to be here with all of you.”

Realizing her love of performance, Hass eventually packed her bags and moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. However, Haas did not stumble into instant fame. Her first audition was for the role of Belle in the Broadway musical “Beauty and the Beast,” a part she felt she was perfect for.

“So I put on my very best ingenue dress, I had my book of music, my binder ready to go, I brought my dance shoes just in case, because auditioning is a whole world of just in case,” Haas said. “And I showed up to that audition studio and I turned the corner to see 100 girls who looked just. Like. Me.”

Spoiler alert — she didn’t get the part. However, she did get a role as a backup singer and, as we all know, eventually took her most famous role as Glinda in “Wicked the Musical.”

The gala was held to raise money for the organization’s concert performances and educational programming.

One of the VSO’s biggest initiatives is sending members of the orchestra to mentor music students through one-on-one and group lessons.

“(VSO) tends to send me the very best people from the orchestra,” said Elizabeth Kaine, Warhill High School’s orchestra director.

“When they come and work with the kids, the make the students feel 'oh wow, I’m really important and these people who are really good at this are willing to help me,’ and it really just is the best day of the year.”

Seven students from Warhill who experienced that program performed at the gala.

Along with her performance, Haas helped raise money for the VSO by putting up for bid a one-on-one voice lesson with her. In the end, two people purchased lessons for $1,600 each.

“We had an exceptional auction item for her to be willing to do that,” Jean said.

“That offers a financial help for the continuation of the program (the VSO) have up here for education.”

Heymann can be reached by phone at 757-298-5828 or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.

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