Award-winning singer and actress Olivia Newton-John (“Grease,” “Xanadu,” “Sordid Lives”) is lending her star power to “Olivia: Voices for Healing . .. Our Planet ... Ourselves,” a two-day event focusing on health, wellness and environmental conservation March 26-27 at West Chester University.
The event features sessions on cancer prevention and treatment and benefits a number of organizations, including Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research, the College of Health Sciences Annual Integrative Health Conference and Masters of Public Health, and the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre Appeal.
Newton-John, 61, a breast-cancer survivor and advocate, will kick off the event March 26 with a keynote address and perform the following day at Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall.
Newton-John spoke to PGN about what participants can expect.
PGN: What are some of the issues you’re planning to address in your speech? ONJ: I’ll be talking about breast cancer and my experiences with it. I’m building a hospital in Australia that will be a potential wellness center.
PGN: What can you tell us about ACEER, one of the organizations this event is benefiting? ONJ: My husband has a wonderful company called Amazon Herb and he’s been going down to the Amazon for 30 years. He’s been very interested in educating people down there and has done a lot to help the indigenous peoples get the titles to their land. ACEER got in touch with us and we felt a great affinity between Amazon Herb and ACEER. We’ve been supporting them and publicizing their cause. This will be the second concert I’ve ever done for them. The two things go together.
PGN: Do you think environmental and wellness issues are closely related? ONJ: I think a healthy environment is obviously better for our health. The situation with the rain forest is going to affect our oxygen and the condition of the soil. All of these things are related. A certain amount of awareness of that is really important. There are more species of plants and animals in the Amazon than anywhere in the world. It is so important to preserve the Amazon and to raise awareness with the local people so they realize how important it is to keep it that way.
PGN: Are there any issues important to the LGBT community that will be addressed at this event? ONJ: Everything affects them the same. Lesbians get breast cancer. Men get breast cancer. I just did a Susan G. Komen walk and there were three or four men walking. It was the first time that I have ever seen that.
PGN: Does staging this event at a college campus mean that it is aimed at a younger audience? ONJ: I don’t know, truthfully. But Roger Mustalish, who heads up ACEER, that is where he’s based. The concert that I’m doing is something that I’ve never done before. I am doing songs from an album of mine called “Grace and Gratitude” and I’ve never done only those songs in concert before. It’s a healing CD, a journey through the chakras of the body and the emotional body.
“Olivia: Voices for Healing ... Our Planet ... Ourselves” runs March 26-27 at West Chester University, 700 S. High St., West Chester. For more information, visit www.wcupa.edu/VoicesforHealing.