+ Cirque superbe
The arts performances are not the purview of this column, but Susan Brainerd, development director for Key Chorale, organized a social event preceding the Feb. 25 performance of Cirque Des Voix, earning it a spot here. This joint venture of the chorale and Circus Sarasota was two years in the making, and as far as anybody knows, the first such collaboration. It featured the 130-voice Key Chorale, Young Voices of Sarasota, a 30-piece orchestra with many first-chair players from the Sarasota Orchestra and a choice selection of circus acts, including Heidi Herriott, Alex Perez, Ricardo Sosa and Sarasota’s own Karen Bell and “Chucko” Sidlow. It was stunning and uniquely Sarasota. Pairing music with circus acts is an art in and of itself in which a masterpiece is far more than the sum of its parts. Joseph Caulkins, Key Chorale artistic director, and Dolly Jacobs and Pedro Reis, co-founders of Sarasota Circus, led the creative team. Caulkins, it turns out, is a natural ringmaster. Did that come as a surprise to his mom, Judy Caulkins, who was in the audience? Or did she know it all along?
+ Major birthday for a major community supporter
Jules Rose achieved the three-quarter-century mark, and his wife, Sheila, pulled out all the stops for a celebratory brunch. About 145 friends and family gathered at Michael’s On East. “Julie” spoke with great warmth about his decade-plus on Longboat Key and about the many communities that have welcomed him — his tennis gang, The Pierre and arts organizations, including Perlman Music Program/Suncoast (of which he is board chairman), Florida Studio Theatre (board member), Asolo Rep Adventurers travel group and the Sarasota Orchestra. All were represented at his party, along with virtually all of his extended family.
+ Missing Mamaw
It’s been 30 years since Mala Polk came to live with her daughter and son-in-law, Margaret and Bill Wise, and Bill told her she was welcome to stay until her last breath. It’s been just a bit more than a month since the Wises threw her a 90th birthday party. And it was just Saturday, Feb. 25 when Mamaw, as she was known, died peacefully in her sleep. May her memory be for a blessing.
+ The other side of Van Wezel
Sarasota’s purple people-seater is widely recognized for its performance schedule. Less well-known is its commitment to community enrichment through outreach and education programs that reach tens of thousands of students each year. That is the work of the Van Wezel Foundation, on whose behalf Ricki and Karl Newkirk held a “friendraiser” at their bayfront home. Karl is secretary of the Van Wezel foundation board. Among the guests: Bill and Madge Berman, Deet and Nina Jonker and Mario and Ann Marie Govic. Representing the city: Commissioner Suzanne Atwell and Mary Bensel, executive director of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. For the foundation: board Chairman Mike Martella, board member Dr. Paul Hersey and president Norman Olshansky.
+ Black Tie Affair
23rd annual Celebration Luncheon
Girls Incorporated of Sarasota County • Dream Harbor Shopping 10:30 a.m., luncheon 11:30 a.m. • Tuesday, March 22 • The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota • Ticket $75 • Reservations Patti Eisemann, 366-6646, Ext. 211
Girls Inc. is focusing this year’s Celebration Luncheon on a major program area, specifically educating girls about opportunities in math, science and technology. The theme is “Focus on Innovation,” and girls will appear as and speak about female innovators, including aviatrix Amelia Earhart and naturalist Joy Anderson. The annual “She Knows Where She’s Going” awards will be presented to Teri Hansen, president and CEO of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice, and Molly Jackson, co-owner of New Balance stores and Molly’s! – A Chic & Unique Boutique. Jillian Nixon is this year’s “Girl of the Year,” and the Board of Trustees’ “Visionary Award” is going to Jean Cooper, a 17-year volunteer. Again this year, a mother-daughters team is serving as co-chairs: Georgina Clamage, Beth Bobb and Mary Pat Radford. Bobb says, “Our single mom raised us to be ‘strong, smart and bold,’ and it is special to be able to help enrich these girls as our lives have been enriched.”