It's rare that Miami plays host to a rock event with the potential to be of worldwide consequence. But that may in fact be the case on December 6, when Phil Collins and a support cast of assorted stars congregate at the Fillmore Miami Beach for a special concert on behalf of the Little Dreams Foundation, an organization founded by Collins and his ex-wife, Orianne.
The event itself -- the brainchild of David Frangioni, founder and CEO of Audio One, makers of high-end home automation and theater systems -- will feature Collins, Richard Marx, Jermaine Jackson, Laura Pausini, Alejandra Guzman, and a group of children from the foundation, all performing for this charity that helps young, underprivileged kids with free music lessons, career direction, and mentoring when they need it most, often while they're struggling with a life-threatening illness.
Phil and Orianne Collins, the founders of the Little Dreams Foundation.
For Frangioni, the Little Dreams Foundation's mission hits especially close to home. When he turned 2, he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye that blinded him in his right eye. Ever since, he's found refuge in music, first as a drummer, then as an engineer and technician for superstars such as the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Elton John, and Ringo Starr. And later, he founded Audio One, a company that's garnered a high-profile clientele.
A South Florida resident since 1993, Frangioni became involved with the Little Dreams Foundation after the organization relocated from Europe to Miami at the end of last year. That was when he was introduced to Orianne Collins by Alina Arboleda, director of international business development for Inspire and Develop Artists (or IDA), a firm he cofounded with producer Rudy Perez.
"Alina saw the synergy between what IDA is doing as a business and what LDF does as a charity," Frangioni recalls. "Orianne and I immediately connected, and we've worked together since. I consider it a great honor to be the musical director for LDF, and I'm especially proud of the work that we all do together to help the kids."
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The Little Dreams concert will provide an extra thrill for Frangioni, because he'll be playing drums behind all of the artists involved. A professional musician since age 12, he sees it as an opportunity to let his artistic side come to the fore.
"I will always be a professional drummer," he insists. "It's in my blood, but given the time it takes me to run three companies and participate in my various outside projects, it requires that I carve out the time to play, both when it comes to practicing and performing live. I do play with a couple of local bands and with some great local musicians. It gives me an opportunity to practice my drumming chops."
Still, for all his achievements, the opportunity to perform behind fellow drummer Phil Collins is a treat Frangioni finds hard to describe.
"I'm beyond excited to be onstage with Phil Collins," he admits. "I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would ever play with Phil Collins, the most successful drummer, singer, artist in history, a true icon. I'm a huge fan. It seems serendipitous that a charity made all this happen. It backs up my belief that good things can happen when you do them for the right reasons and from your heart."
Because Collins has been in semiretirement due to health concerns, the fact that he's participating in this special performance is likely to garner added interest both here and abroad. When pressed for a preview of what to expect from him that night, Frangioni shares a hint.
"It will be a very special evening of music in Miami," he promises. "I can say there will be music 'in the air' that night 'against all odds' and 'in paradise.'"
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Little Dreams Foundation Gala. With Phil Collins, Laura Pausini, and Alejandra Guzman. Saturday, December 6. Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. The gala begins at 8 p.m., and tickets cost $103.50 to $353.50 plus fees via livenation.com. All ages. Call 305-673-7300, or visit fillmoremb.com.