+ Magical musical memorial
Sarasota’s “Queen Bee,” Bea Friedman, endowed the Allan Friedman Piano Concert for three reasons: to honor the memory of her late husband, a passionate lover of the piano; to raise the bar for the orchestra by having it perform with world-class artists; and to give her family a reason to gather here. The 2014 edition (read June LeBell’s report here), which Carl St. Clair conducted, featured a dazzling performance of the Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 2 by Jon Nakamatsu, and it accomplished all three goals.
Part of the tradition is an after-concert reception for the guest artists, Friedman’s orchestra family, her relatives and friends and major supporters. Family present included daughter and son-in-law Ilene Friedman and Greg Gregory of Sarasota; son Dr. Harvey Friedman from Columbus, Ohio; and sister-in-law Evelyn Friedman from Hillsdale, N.Y. Sarasota Orchestra CEO Joe McKenna shared how Friedman endowed the concert “several decades ago.” Messrs. St. Clair and Nakamatsu saluted Friedman, and Concertmaster Daniel Jordon took the opportunity to catch his breath after his amazing solos in Richard Strauss’ “Ein Heldenleben.”
Reception guests also included Friedman’s long-time friends and fellow orchestra supporters Pat and Don Hase and Fred and Annette Nagel, orchestra board president Anne Folsom Smith, Gerri Aaron who underwrote St. Clair’s appearance and Sydney and Jerome Goldstein who sponsored Nakamatsu.
+ Kicking off the new year
More than 120 board members and sponsors gathered at the home of David and Edie Chaifetz Tuesday, Jan. 7, for America Jewish Committee’s open house to celebrate the success of 2013 and to welcome in the new year.
The setting was stunning — guests, including Rebecca and Rich Bergman, Gail and Skip Sack and Bunny Skirboll, enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails while watching the sunset over Sarasota Bay.
“We had planned to have everyone out on the patio, but no one would go outside,” said host Edie Chaifetz. “They all said it was too cold.”
AJC West Coast Florida Regional President Anne Virag announced, “2013 was the most successful year AJC has had so far.” The organization raised more than $900,000 last year.
Virag also announced the AJC 2014 Spring Award Dinner will take place Monday, March 17. The event chairs are Matt and Lisa Walsh, Larry and Debbie Haspel and Honorary Chairwoman Bea Friedman (all past AJC award recipients).
AJC’s West Coast Florida Region will honor two individuals with awards this year — nationwide AJC Executive Director David Harris will receive the Human Relations Award, and Gerri Aaron will receive the Legacy of Leadership Award, which has only been awarded four times in the history of AJC.
Holiday happenings … A three way tie for first place. Our candidates for most outrageous Christmas sweater include Jim Buck, pictured at the home of Margaret and Bill Wise for their annual Christmas Day gumbo feast. Most surprising: the sweater decorated with strictly secular, seasonal images worn by Andria Bilan who celebrated New Years Ever at the home of Gerri Aaron and Marvin Albert. Bilan is the development chief for Jewish Family & Children’s Service. Most publicity-shy: the owner of the vintage stunner observed at a Longboat Key reception. The stunning, dress-length sweater displayed a Christmas tree from neck to hemline. Gorgeous and, according to it’s owner, “100 years old.” The evening after … Janet and John Hunter and their poodle, Behta, hosted their annual Boxing Day dinner at their home. Janet and daughter Nancy Wagy do most of the cooking of a traditional British feast that includes Brussels sprouts, creamed onions and rutabaga — veggies that Janet says, “Our guests would never eat anyplace else.” The traditional potluck component included Sally Faron’s mincemeat tartlets and Myrna Band’s millionaire’s pie. The handsome Drew Morris, who works with Janet on most of her benefit management projects, annually writes and performs a parody lyric to a holiday tune. This year he tackled “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and managed to include the names of many of the guests. Sing, “Gloria, Sally, Carol and Dolly; Jennifer, Marian, Betty and Molly; Tana, Marlene, Mike and Alfie … ” Congrats … Best wishes to Tom Morlock and Tanya Boyd who were married in an intimate ceremony Dec. 28, at the home of Tanya’s sister, Pamela Hill … How’s your doppelganger? That’s German for alter ego or “second self,” a character that plays a major role in “Philadelphia Here I Come!” The Brian Friel drama opened Jan. 10, at the Asolo Rep. One of the perks of being an Asolo co-producer is an invitation to opening-night dinners during which Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and the show’s director, in this case the infinitely lovable Frank Galati, share such insights. Their comments invariably add to one’s enjoyment of the performance. Beneficiaries at this dinner included Teri Hansen and Steve Wilberding, Flora Major, Ellen Berman, Ed and Mary Lou Winnick, Ruth Kreindler and Ed Schaye, Bettina VonWalhof, Sandra and Rick Gomez, and Howard and Diana Armbrust … The calendar calls … BT is collecting events for the 2014 Black Tie social calendar — if we don’t know about it, we can’t cover it! Email the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org: name of your event; group hosting; group benefiting; time, date and place; ticket price; chairperson; contact name; phone number and email; website and event description.
+ Black Tie Affair
The Circus Arts Conservatory Gala
Benefiting: The Circus Arts Conservatory
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24
Where: The Big Top
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1 Perlman Music Program/Suncoast The Art of the Violin Gallery Showings
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
5 Fall Music Series
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
6 Fuzion Dance Artists Behind the Curtain with Larry Keigwin of Keigwin + Company
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
7 The Fine Arts Society of Sarasota & The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Present Public Art & Backstage Tours
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Correction: Heitlers to net 75 years in April
In its Sept. 18 issue, the Longboat Observer featured Plymouth Harbor resident George Heitler, a lifelong tennis player who has played tennis for most of his 99 years and is a regular at the Longboat Key Public Tennis Center.
Win big in two Observer contests
Starting in October, the Observer will now offer prizes for winners of the weather photo contest, sponsored by Manasota Flooring Inc.
Mar Vista begins dock construction
Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub is on track to have a new dock by the end of October.