Gladys Knight to Perform at the Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s Gala

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation announced that Gladys Knight, the Empress of Soul will perform live at its inaugural Washington, D.C. Gala – Be Beautiful, Be Yourself. Washington’s most powerful and influential leaders and professional athletes will gather to support Down syndrome research and advocacy on Wed., Nov. 16, 2011, at the J.W. Marriott in Washington, D.C.

The Foundation will honor Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) & Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), two Congressional champions for the cause, with the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award for their strong support and advocacy for the rights of people with disabilities. More than 600 friends of the Foundation are expected to attend, including national and local celebrities, congressional leaders, administration officials, ambassadors from around the world, members of the media, and senior corporate and association executives who share a commitment to human rights, civil rights and people with Down syndrome.

The event will include cocktails, dinner and a full-scale fashion show featuring beautiful guest models with Down syndrome, escorted by celebrities and professional athletes. The evening will be capped off with music from the Empress of Soul, Gladys Knight. VIP tickets include preferred seating, a VIP reception and photo ops with celebrities including Gladys Knight. Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the first academic institute with a mission to eradicate the medical and cognitive ill effects associated with the condition.

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation will be hosting auditions for guest models with Down syndrome on October 5, 2011. Auditions will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the JW Marriott, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004. For more information and to register for auditions, please contact Abby Perlmutter at or 303-468-6665.

Pictured: Performer Gladys Knight poses in the press room at the 38th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards held at the Las Vegas Hilton on June 19, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)