In this week’s episode of The UpBeat Podcast powered by CoachArt, our Executive Director and host Greg has the chance to chat with Derek Hughes, a “stand-up magician” who performs live all across the country and has appeared on numerous TV shows, including America’s Got Talent (where he was a finalist on season 10). Derek was also a featured performer at our 2019 CoachArt Gala of Champions.
As a child, Derek was born prematurely with an atrial septal defect — a hole between two chambers of his heart. Derek shares the amazing story of how he overcame this challenging condition and how his love of magic and performing helped him along the way. He also discusses tips for how kids with chronic illnesses can find their passion and how his involvement with the CoachArt Gala of Champions impacted his life and his work.
Every year, the Gala of Champions fundraising event brings together CoachArt students, families, staff, volunteers, and sponsors with some incredible speakers and performers. This year at the Gala, Derek performed a hilarious trick with the help of some CoachArt students.
This year’s edition also featured wonderful speeches by Sean Brecker from Headspace and Allison Homes from the Annenberg Foundation. And it all started off with some fun action on the red carpet.
The gathering takes place every October at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA, and in the event’s 15-year history, we’ve been lucky to enjoy a wide range of appearances and performances, including TV personalities (Bryan Cranston, Robin Roberts, Sage Steele), athletes (NBA star Matt Barnes), singers (Ashley Tisdale of High School Musical; Postmodern Jukebox), numerous successful CEOs (Twitter, Mattel), and of course, many CoachArt students showcasing their marvelous talents.