On Friday, June 17, 2011, the Hollywood Bowl celebrated its 90th season with fireworks, music performances, and a preview of the new Cirque de Soleil show, “Iris“. This year, the Hollywood Bowl honored two new inductees to the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame: singers Gloria Estefan and Harry Connick Jr.. Actress Hilary Swank introduced honoree and New Orleans native Connick Jr., a friend since their on-screen performance of, “P.S. I Love You” together. The pianist and jazz singer start off somewhat stiffly with “The Way You Look Tonight”, pausing afterwards to acknowledge the award. “I’ve never been in a hall of fame for anything so it’s a big deal. I’m just honored,” said Connick Jr., who noted that his voice had cracked a couple of times. “I’m sure you heard it. I don’t care, I mean, it’s not like I’m performing brain surgery on someone. If you make a mistake, it’s OK. But I was thinking like the Cirque de Soleil people, like what’s the equivalent of cracking a note for them? You die… So I’m very happy to be a singer. I might crack some more notes because it’s very comfortable to know that I can do that and live.”
After intermission, actor Andy Garcia introduced Gloria Estefan. Garcia explained, “We have a common bond. Our families, both fled to this country when we were young children to escape the repression of Castro’s Cuba. Our parents had to start all over again, struggling to give a better life in Miami.” Estefan also happens to be the first Latina to be honored in the Hall of Fame. Congratulations to both of these singers for their many contributions to the music world.