Our Gala Ringmaster: From the Circus to the Opera

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Described by The Times-Picayune newspaper as “tall and self-assured … he works a crowd like a three-ring evangelist,” former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson will be the Master of Ceremonies for the Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sister’s November Grand Gala Under The Big Top.
According to www.bigtopvoice.com, “during his legendary tenure with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Iverson was one of the busiest live entertainers in the world, performing an estimated 450 shows annually in arenas around the United States and Mexico.” Iverson, his wife and two children traveled and lived on the circus train for 18 years.

Iverson started out with the Boys Choir of Harlem. In addition to performing before world leaders and dignitaries, including United States Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter, as well as Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela, Iverson has shared the stage with Lou Rawls, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Betty Buckley, Roberta Flack, Perry Cuomo, Geoffrey Holder, Kathleen Battle, Shirley Verett, Tony Bennett, and Lena Horne, all before the age of 18.

After hanging up the circus top hat, Iverson is beginning a new adventure as the artistic director for Opera del Sol, a breakout immersive production company in Central Florida.

Among his accolades was being recognized as one of Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People of 1999. Iverson’s historical tenure with The Greatest Show On Earth is featured in numerous publications. Iverson joined the 129th Edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents The Living Carousel in 1998 and officiated at the closing of the last performance early this year.

For over five years, the Grand Gala Dinner and Live Auction has been Yavapai County’s annual premier Charity Event. Last year, this event was attended by over 350 guests from throughout Yavapai County and Sedona who generously support our Mission. Guests represent not only our local business community, but also leaders in education, government, and philanthropy.

The November 18 Grand Gala, at the Prescott Resort and Conference Center, will feature a cocktail reception, wine tasting, silent auction, gourmet locally-produced dinner, live auction and dancing. This event has supported the mission of Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters for more than 40 years. The money raised will continue to support the hundreds of vulnerable boys and girls on our waiting list.

Previously sold out, the tickets for the Gala always go quickly! Call 928-778-5135 ext. 105 or email cmain@azbigs.org for yours!

VIDEO: Watch Iverson in action here.

LEARN MORE at Iverson’s website here.

Photo credit: www.bigtopvoice.com

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