It was certainly no secret that her honorary grandparents were throwing a sweet sixteen for performing prodigy Maria Wirries. She was involved in almost every aspect of the planning with one notable exception: the John Miller band, with whom Maria has appeared at Sarasota Orchestra benefits.
Hosts Ilene Friedman and Greg Gregory engineered the surprise that gave Maria a chance to perform for her young friends. The band also provided music for dancing, as did DJ Fitz Otis. The Aug. 10 party featured more than 100 guests at Michael’s on East, including friends from Manatee School for the Arts, the Manatee Players, Jacobites Pipe and Drum Band, Gloria Musicae and the Sarasota Orchestra. Family included mom Jeaneen Wirries, and assorted aunts, uncles and cousins.
In addition to celebrating Maria's birthday, the party served as a substitute for the senior prom she will miss as she transfers to State College of Florida this fall.
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Sound of hope
The holiday season hasn’t officially started until our favorite bell ringers return to their posts.
Shoppers and residents were treated to some holiday harmonies by the Senior Friendship Centers’ group, the Second Wind Harmonica Players, in Downtown Sarasota.
Stepping up to the plate
The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County teamed up to bring the anti-bullying event Rachel’s Challenge to Sarasota Dec. 3.