Written by Dr. Cynthia Paulis, firstname.lastname@example.org Wednesday, 17 July 2013 13:08
Wearing a red hot sequined top and a mega watt smile, Gloria Gaynor wowed the crowd of ten thousand fans at Burns Park, with her pitch perfect voice singing some of her famous hit songs.
Known as the queen of disco, this Grammy award winning singer, actress, author and humanitarian opened her performance acknowledging the victims of Hurricane Sandy, many whom were in the audience, including Maureen Fitzgerald, Commissioner of Community and Youth Services, who lost her home to four feet of water.
“We are also very happy to be here in Massapequa acknowledging a lot of the work of the families that have lost their homes down here and the way they have rebuilt with their strength and their spirit," said Fitzgerald. "We are really saluting them and the survivors that we are and how appropriate we are here with Gloria Gaynor.”
Known for her signature song “I Will Survive,” Gaynor has a new book coming out at the end of November called We Will Survive, which can be preordered on Amazon.com. The book is a series of stories of survival from people around the country.
“The inspiration was the people, the people who these stories come from,” she said. “I have been told these stories ever since this song was first released 35 years ago, so I thought when people tell me these stories it’s uplifting and inspiring and encouraging to me.”
Though she often writes her own songs, Gaynor did not write “I Will Survive.”
“That song was written by some publishers who said when they met me and talked to me about what kind of songs that I liked, that I was the one they believed they have been waiting for to sing the song, because they had written it a couple of years prior.”
The song shot to number one in almost every country and continent when it was released in l979. It earned Gaynor her first Grammy for Best Disco Song in l980. The song has taken on a life of its own becoming the anthem for people who have survived tragedy and learned to come back stronger than ever.
Known for her charitable works, Gaynor is very involved with charities concerning diabetes, cancer and arthritis.
“All of the charities I have chosen because I feel that they are worthy and some of them are charities that help people who have been affected by things my family has been affected by like diabetes and cancer,” said Gaynor, who was named Woman of the Year in 2011 by the Arthritis Foundation for struggling with osteoarthritis for more than 25 years.
On October 19 at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, Gaynor will hold a benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy Victims still recovering from the storm.
“Whenever people are affected by disaster that they have no control over I feel like I should do whatever I can, so when they called I said I would be there,” she said.
After the concert, hundreds of fans lined up for an opportunity to meet and be photographed with the singer.
Gaynor’s popularity spans many generations, evidenced by the age range of her audience on this night. Revelers from three-years-old to 80-plus were in attendence along with many teenagers all thrilled by the music.
Thrilled by her was Evan Scickel, a 19 year old college student from Masssapequa with his friend Taylor Clark from Centereach. Scickel had Gaynor sign his “walkman” with the original tape of her songs.
“I remember listening to her on tapes on the radio when I was a child in my car seat, I was three or four years old,” said Scickel, who is now a music major. “This is actually the same tape that I used to listen to.”
Positively beaming was Ramar Kong from Baldwin, who called Gaynor “the greatest disco queen of all time.”
“She did an amazing job," said Kong I really enjoyed it.”
Gaynor, still smiling and looking radiant, stayed until the last person came to greet her at midnight, Debbie Ruppert from Levittown.
“She was great, fabulous, she sounded wonderful,” she said. “I used to listen to her songs, I am of that age.”
Not only did she survive Sandy without power for 12 days, but Ruppert is also surviving a diagnosis of lung cancer.
“Her song, ‘I Will Survive,’ has special meaning for me,” Rupert mused.