Wine Bar's Fundraiser Supports Volunteers Who Bring Music to Hospitals

By Sybile Penhirin on July 23, 2014 7:18am 

UPPER EAST SIDE — Suzaan Hauptfleisch didn't have to think twice about hosting a fundraiser this week for the nonprofit Musicians on Call, which brings live music to hospital patients.

Hauptfleisch, who owns the South African wine bar Kaia at 1614 Third Ave., said she saw the calming benefits of music firsthand as her mother battled breast cancer over the past 18 years.

“There’s one thing that has helped her go through this: music,” Hauptfleisch, 36, said of her mother's struggles. “What [Musicians on Call] do feels so close to home.”

On Wednesday night, Hauptfleisch's bar will host Sip To Support, an event to raise money for the nonprofit that has more than 200 volunteers and visits more than a dozen health care facilities weekly, including Lenox Hill and Mount Sinai hospitals, to play live and recorded music.

The nonprofit is hoping to raise $15,000 to expand its programs, a goal Hauptfleisch strongly supports.

“I know music can help people going through a difficult time,” Hauptfleisch said. “I see how it calms my mother’s nerves when she is going through chemo.”

A $40 ticket to the 6:30 p.m. event, available online, will cover two glasses of South African wine, Virginia oysters and appetizers. There will also be a silent auction that includes an electric guitar autographed by Kelly Clarkson and Bruno Mars, as well tickets to Broadway shows.

Hauptfleisch said she might Skype her mother, Elize Hauptfleisch, during the event because the 60-year-old amateur cook, who is currently being treated in South Africa, often spends several months a year helping out in Kaia's kitchen.

“Everybody knows her here. She has cooked many desserts for our clients,” Suzaan Hauptfleisch said.

Phil Gautreau, a Brooklyn woodworking designer who met Hauptfleisch’s mother a few months ago at Kaia, donated one of his handmade wood serving boards for the silent auction.

“She is warm, kind and full of life,” Gautreau said.

Hauptfleisch, who grew up on a farm in South Africa and said she arrived in New York in 2001 with $80 in her pocket, hosts a charity event at her bar every year as a way of expressing appreciation for the support she and her family received when she was younger.

“The people who were charitable with us made me who I am today," she said. "Now it’s my turn to do good and to give back to the community.”

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