Bradenton Opera Guild hosts Winter Gala, a flash mob hits 'Event Under the Tend,' Lea Mei says yes to the dress and more in this week's Black Tie & Tales...
Heather Merriman Saba
| 6:00 a.m. January 20, 2016
The Bradenton Opera Guild honored Sarasota Opera Board President DavidChaifetz at its 23rd Winter Gala on January 10. And they had fun doing it. Former Board President Don Worthington kidded him about “raising money from people who don’t even like opera.” Chaifetz kidded himself with a story about declining an offer to be honored by saying, “If I write you a check, will you go away?” Other salutes came from Murray Bring, Rich Bergman and Syble DiGirolamo, emcee and co-chair of the party with Jean Yaigel.
A tradition at this event is singers performing the honorees favorite arias, and Jennifer Townshend, Principal soprano, Kathleen Shelton, Studio mezzo-soprano, Matthew Vickers, Studio tenor, Andrew Paulson, Studio baritone accompanied by Howard Lubin, pianist, did that brilliantly. For the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Verdi’s Nabucco, Opera Executive Director Richard Russell passed out the lyrics and, with Artistic Director Maestro Victor DeRenzi, invited the 75-plus guests to sing along. It was a moment. (“Va, pensiero, sull’ali dorate,” meaning, “Go, thoughts, on golden wings” opens this famous lament of slaves yearning for their homeland.)
+ Decidedly Distaff, Take Four
The fourth annual Women & Medicine Luncheon conceived by Margaret Wise and originated by AnneCharters to benefit the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Foundation was bigger and better than ever. More than 300 guests crowded into one third of the Ritz-Carlton ballroom to be welcomed by co-chairs Deb Knowles and Charlie Ann Syprett and Foundation president and CEO Alexandra Quarles. Dr. Karen Hamad, Sarasota Memorial Chief of Staff, updated the audience on construction of the new rehab facility, plans for a freestanding cancer center and other projects. Synovus Bank, represented at the luncheon by Chief Strategy Officer Liz Dukes, is the event’s premier sponsor for 2016 and 2017. The speakers on “Trends and Innovations in Cancer Care” were Kenneth Meredith, MD, James Fiorica, MD and Alissa Shulman, MD, FACS, a hard act to follow given her female favorite subject. Kudos to SMHF Director of Marketing NikkiTaylor and her crew for a well-run event with creative touches including a memory stick with all the presenters’ slides.
Siren of Society
She could make or break an event. We all searched for our names in boldface type in her column. Marjorie North commanded Sarasota’s social scene with her column in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for 30 years. “To me she was the epitome of a social columnist,” said Karin Gustafson, former president of the YMCA Foundation. “She connected all of us. She would seek out newcomers to the community and connect them to people. She was really a serious part of our history in Sarasota. And she was just much loved.” Gustafson recalls a recent 70th birthday party held for North at Designing Women Boutique, where local actress Carolyn Michel attributed her success to North’s encouragement. Veronica Brady reflected, “Marjorie made our community a better place. She told us every other day to be good to each other and to be good to the causes that needed us. And I think that is her greatest legacy.”
Marjorie North Hirons, 70, died Monday, Jan. 18, in Bradenton. A celebration of her life is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20, at Michael’s On East. She is survived by her husband, Bill Hirons, and daughters, Laura North, Christina Campany and Angela North.
+Tidbits …Call today or forever hold your peace … The Friends of the Sarasota Ballet is having a luncheon honoring ballet founder Jean Weidner Goldstein on Monday, January 25 at Michael’s on East. Reservation deadline is January 20 but if you say “Black Tie Sent Me …” Cost is $45 or $100 sponsor. Call Lydia Landa at 923-0298 … Flash mob hits “Event Under the Tent” … To wrap-up the wrap party for this year’s Perlman Music Program winter residency, Event co-chairs Edie Chaifetz and Nadia Ritter and past board president Fran Lambert delivered on their promise of a big surprise when a group of about 50 students, faculty and advisors entered the tent singing Paul McCartney’s “Hey, Jude…” “Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah,” indeed… Cue the dolphins … Does anybody know how Bill and Margaret Wise get the dolphins to frolic in front of their Harbor Acres home on Christmas day? …She will be a beautiful bride…Lea Mei said yes to the dress at her sister-in-law Nicole Mei and Fondren Watt’s Blush Bridal Boutique in downtown Sarasota. The bride-to-be, who will wed James Buchanan in May, will be wearing an Ines DiSanto gown...Get wrapped with love…Renee Phinney and Jenn Smith Stutler launch ‘Wrapt with Love,’ offering personalized and wearable pashmina wraps...Storm damage...The Cutting Loose Cut-a-Thon benefiting Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue scheduled during this past Sunday’s polo match was cancelled due to the Sarasota Polo grounds being closed after tornados tore through Sarasota early Sunday morning...Eat up...Designing Daughter’s new president, Jennifer Rust, managed to make it to 5 restaurants to visit fellow DD’s during the night of ‘Dining for a Difference.’...Meet us at the barre…Pure Barre Sarasota will be getting Pure Barre Platform come this February. Platform adds an element of cardio to the oh-so-popular barre workout.