Wednesday, November 21, 2012

AJC Civic Achievement Award Dinner

I think SunTrust's Chairman, President, & CEO, Margaret Callihan, must be the most popular girl in school right now.  I believe she has received more awards and tributes than anyone around lately and all well-deserved!  Last Thursday night she was honored at the AJC Civic Achievement Award Dinner at Michael's On East. 

Her tribute video was probably one of the most well-done and fun videos I have ever seen.  It was done by The HuB and it was just terrific!  I especially loved the background music, which was played by Margaret's family, including the talented Mr. Matt Callihan, Margaret's husband. 

The theme of the video was based on the artwork, "Integrity" by Mordechai Rosenstein, which highlighted Kindness, Service, Accountability, Teamwork, Respect, Communication, and Integrity.  Each word was spoken about in reference to Margaret by friends and colleagues such as Dr. Arthur Guilford, Dr. Larry Thompson, Ben Hanan, Kim Githler, and Veronica Brady.  I loved the story told by Dr. Guilford about how when he first met Margaret, he had to ask her to go into the bathroom at an event and zip up his wife because she had sustained an injury and couldn't do it herself.  Dr. Thompson said that Margaret was the ultimate symbol for teamwork.  Kim Githler told how Margaret texts her at 12:30 AM.  I know that to be true, because I have had email exchanges with Margaret around midnight myself!

After the video, AJC Regional Director, Brian Lipton, gave Margaret a t-shirt with the word Vanderbilt, her alma mater, written in Hebrew - very cute.

Gregory Miller, SunTrust's Chief Economist, was the evening's keynote speaker.  He drew wild laughter by a woman in the audience when he made his opening statement, " This economy is not as bad as you this it is."  Then he told us he was going to explain the economy in 15 minutes.  He said the private sector is doing okay and that in his economic forecasting he tries to be vague.  Then he closed by saying that "If anything I said tonight seems unusually clear, you must have misunderstood me."  That Gregory, ever the comedian!

Other highlights of the evening both included singing - two songs from teen phenom, Maria Wirries, who gave a nod to Margaret's Texas and Tennessee roots by singing, Dolly Parton's 9 to 5 and Glen Campbell's Rhinestone Cowboy(girl).  And then the big surprise and delight was when Flori Roberts gave her tribute to Margaret, she ended with a song - her special "Margaret" version to the tune of There's No Business Like Show Business - very cute.

Others in the crowd were Margaret and Matt's children - Jean and Phil, Carol Kalish, Bob Rosenthal, Bob Coppenrath, Matt DePalma, Pat Neal, Bea Friedman, Mort and Carol Siegler, Tom Luzier, Ron Gelbman and Laura Nelson, Joan Mendell, Leslie Glass, Josh and Amy Sankes, Caroline Zucker, Tom Waters, Jay Brady, Jennifer Gemmeke, Beth Knopik, Kyla Weiner, Elizabeth Lindsay, Karen Koblenz, Marty Katz, Clint Monts de Oca, Nancy Schlossberg, Sally Yanowitz, Anne Virag, Matt and Lisa Walsh, Dr. Donal O'Shea, and so many more.

Margaret Callihan and Flora Major

Roz Goldberg, Lois Stulberg, Flori Roberts, and Brian Lipton

Diane McFarlin and Matt Callihan

Roxie Jerde and Julie Milton

Gerri Aaron, Patricia Caswell, and Marv Albert

Ruth Lando and Anne Weintraub

Olivia Thomas, Pat Frye, and Barb Lewis

Andy and Ruth Maass

Janice Zarro and Felice Schulaner

Alica Berkowitz, Sue Jacobson, Dorothy Jacobson, and Estelle Crawford

Nicci Kobritz and Judy Cuppy

Margaret's parents - Mary Joyce and Dr. J.B. Lynch

Joe McKenna and Barbara Simon

Gwen MacKenzie, Margaret Wise, and Deb Knowles

Sara Lynn Dorrill, Jaymie Klauber, and Gayle Guynup

Gloria Moss with Roberto and Denise Mei

Wendy Hopkins and Nancy Roucher

Pat Johnson and Chris Jennings

Margot and Warren Coville

Kathye Faries and Lisa Krouse

The centerpiece

The salad


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sarasota Orchestra's Season Opener Brunch

What do you do with a lamp shade other than use it to shield a bulb or wear on your head at a party?  You use it as a centerpiece, of course!  Forty centerpieces were designed and created by volunteers using all sorts of ribbon, lace, beads, fur, and imagination, all under the guidance of design chair and board president, Anne Folsom Smith at the Sarasota Orchestra's Season Opener Brunch - Hot Jazz on a Snazzy Sunday - Roarin' 20's.  It was so fun to go from table to table to see each exquisite work of art.  Each table also had its own uniquely decorated table number to match its centerpiece - cute, cute, cute idea.  I love it when thought and effort are put in to making an event something special and memorable.

Fabulous brunch food stations were set up all over the atrium at Michael's On East and included made-to-order omelets, crab cakes, oysters Rockefeller, glazed salmon, flank steak, cheese blintzes (my personal favorites), eggs Benedict (I know, I know, THESE should be my favorite), and all sorts of salads and fruits.  Then on top of all of that, there was an ice cream pop station where you could get ice cream pops dipped in milk chocolate with rice krispies and toasted almonds.  I was quite full when I left, to say the least!

Once we were all satiated, a video was played outlining Greg Smith's visit to Sarasota, in which he visited four area schools and showed them how exciting and fulfilling it is to be a composer.  The best part was that during this project, Greg worked with the students to create Tamiami Sinfonietta, a piece they worked on in collaboration, with melodies created by the students.  Greg took that material and arranged it into a new composition for the orchestra.  It will be played in the Masterworks VI concert in March.  It was truly amazing to see the process and the outcome.  It kind of gave me goosebumps to see the kind of programs the Sarasota Orchestra's Education Department offers to area teachers and schools.  I know years ago when my now 37-year-old daughter was a teen, she played in some of the orchestra's summer programs and she loved it.  How fortunate we are to have such an organization in our area and generous donors who make these types of things happen to benefit all of us.

The hot jazz portion of the program featured John Miller and the Sarasota Jazz Ensemble.  They were terrific!  The first set featured 15 year-old vocalist Maria Wirries, whose accomplishments, even at this very tender age, are many.  It was such a pleasure to listen to her.  The second set featured vocalist, Ally Couch. whose soulful sounds had me wanting to jump out of my seat and sing along to R-E-S-P-E-C-T!  Both Ally and Maria looked especially beautiful in their outfits, which added to the overall performance.

The entire event was kept right on schedule and the two co-chairs, Bunny Skirboll and Marlene Isaacs did a marvelous job.  It was also Marlene's 51st wedding anniversary with husband, John.  How lovely to spend your special day with 422 of your closest friends!  Barbara Simon, VP of Development, said they sold out without ever having to send an invitation.  That is the kind of extraordinary support this organization has and deserves - Bravo!

Bunny Skirboll and Barbara Simon

John and Marlene Isaacs and Joe McKenna, Orchestra President & CEO

Anne Folsom Smith

Ilene Friedman and Maria Wirries

Tana Sandefur and Betty Schoenbaum

Beathe and Gerry Elden

Scott Anderson and Veronica Brady

Larry and Ann Garberding

Matt and Margaret Callihan

Dottie and Bob Garner

Doug and Roxie Jerde

Brian Lipton and Flora Major

Dennis Stover and Phil King

Barbara Geldbart

Couture lampshade centerpiece

The dolled-up table number

Another lampshade

Yet another lampshade

One more lampshade

Lampshade with fringe on top

More lampshades

Polka dot lampshade

Feather and lace lampshade

Ribbons and boas lampshade

The final lampshade

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Hermitage's Artful Lobster

A perfect day, that's all I can say.  And yes, I was the chair of The Hermitage Artist Retreat's (HAR) Artful Lobster, so I may be a bit biased, but really, it was perfect!

It all started early on Saturday morning when my life saver and friend, Rebecca Donelson arrived with the decorations.  At the last minute, the person originally scheduled to do the decor was unable to do so, so like the trouper she is, Rebecca jumped in, shopped like a maniac last week, and saved the day, along with others like Karen Solem, Lisa Rubinstein, my daughter, and other angels who also helped.  It all looked so fun and festive!

Of course, the Michael's On East crew were their usual fantastic selves.  I know I say this all the time, but they make the chair's job SO less stressful.  I know I never have to worry with Michael's on board.  The food is certainly one of the stars of the show and Saturday's spread did not disappoint!  Huge lobsters galore, along with all the other lobster boil trimmings.  I mean, after all, when the event is called the Artful Lobster, you know the food HAS to be good.  Yummy, yum, yum!

Elizabeth Rose set up the live auction display so beautifully, as she does every year.  I don't know what I would ever do without her.  She makes each item look so enticing.

Speaking of the live auction....My main auctioneer man, Scott Anderson, drove the bidding up, up, up.  We had terrific things like trips to Santa Fe, NYC, London, to a Bucs game, and fishing with Warren Coville, along with other things like a special stay at the historic Hermitage and dinner on the beach prepared by our favorite chef, Jeremy Hammond Chambers.

The paddle raise by Scott and HAR Executive Director, Bruce Rodgers, could not have gone better.  Both the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Gulf Coast Community Foundation each gave $5,000 matching grants towards the restoration of our historic cisterns.  The cost of restoring them is $30,000 and with the grants, we exceeded our goal.  Then in the middle of all of that, Blaise Castellano said he would match $7,000 to install new a/c in one of the historic buildings.  Whew!  What a great day!

The real star of the show though, was the performance by recent MacArthur Genius Award winner, flutist, Claire Chase.  The crowd was mesmerized by her talent and skill.  She was a bit avant garde, in look and sound, and that's what we all loved about her.  I felt like I was at a real art happening.  You would have loved it!  And she was just as nice and warm as she was talented.  The guests were all thrilled to receive her CD as a party favor.   Each year we have performance by one of our world-renown HAR fellows and it really sets our event apart from all the others.

HAR board president, Larry Bold, so kindly presented me with framed sheet music of  Horizon Lines - Manasota Suite by Pulitzer Prize nominee and HAR Fellow, Laura Kaminsky, which she wrote when she was in residence at the Hermitage - what a treasure!

Another plus for attending the AL, you also get to mix and mingle with all the other artists who are currently in residence at the Hermitage.  This year they included, Jeff Parker, Phil Kline, Rodrigo Garcia Lopes, and Sean Lennon Salyards.

The gorgeous weather, the beautiful Hermitage campus on the gulf on Manasota Key, the fabulous artists, the terrific live auction and generous paddle raise, the great food, and last, but not least, all the wonderful Hermitage supporters who turned out - it was all just the best.  See, I told you it was a perfect day!

Others seen in the crowd and not photographed below were Steve and Dale Adler, Dan Denton, Matt and Deb DePalma, Gene and Rita Bicknell, Susan McLeod, Deborah and Walt Beacham, Sally Faron, Mark Schneider, Chris McGee and Lisa Adams, Janet and Bruce Udell, Georgia Court, Marshall Rousseau, David and Laurie Dignam, Flora Major, Allyn and Sheila Gallup, Carolyn Michel and Howard Millman, Ina Schnell, Michele Redwine, Dr. John and Rita Steele, and on and on.

Me and my daughter, Kristin Benedict Calandra

Bev Koski and Bruce Rodgers

Larry Bold, Anita Koller, Carol White Bold, and Guido Koller 

Dolly Jacobs Reis and Pedro Reis

Kathy Castellano, Nelda Thompson, and Annette Dignam

Tom and Sherri Koski and Scott Anderson

Ilene Denton and Mary Denton

Me and Claire Chase

Tom Dignam and Leslie Edwards

Andy Maass, getting into the spirit with David Denton

Diana Lager and Gerri Aaron

Jo Rutstein and Hillary Steele

Nelda Thompson, a friend, and Dolly Vinton

Elizabeth Rose and Kristin Calandra

Katie Couchot and Susie Samp

Prentice and Ann Pilot and Kate and Donald Harris

Sarah and George Pappas

Gayle Guynup, Christine Jennings, Renee Hamad

Caroline Andrus, Sally Lucke Elkes, and friend

Ron and Pat Pantello

Anne Weintraub and Kelly Gettel

BJ Creighton and Aimee Cogan

Paula Clemow and Barbara Frye

Cornelia Matson

A close-up of the centerpiece

The centerpiece and I see I cut off the very top where there was a cute table number - ugh!

John and Janet Hunter with Drew Morris

The tent

The Michael Ross Duo

Henry Alberico, making things run smoothly, as always!

The pretty bar with a pretty server!

One of my favorite parts, Michael's yummy cookies

Clam Chowder

Serving the lobster!

All the other good stuff like BBQ chicken and ribs