It was the days of glitz and glamour.
The Rat Pack — Reflections of Frank, Dean, and Sammy entertained guests Saturday night at Valentine Theatre during A Night to Remember benefit for St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.
Sinatra, Martin, and Davis impersonators joked with the audience and sang old favorites from the late 1950s and early 1960s, including “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime,” “The Candy Man,” “Mr. Bojangles,” and “New York, New York.” The Copa Girls —scantily clad Las Vegas-style show girls in sequins, feathers, and little more — drew the most attention as they backed up the three “big stars.” But it was the dramatic “God Bless America” presentation at the end that brought the house down.
The event had a new venue. Instead of a sit-down dinner, the evening started with cocktails and grazing on gourmet treats under a big tent — where there was a giant ice sculpture of a martini-glass — and in the glassed-in Founder's Room with a cityscape backdrop.
Mmm: lobster bisque, canapes passed on mirrored and framed trays, assorted raviolis with sauces, Tuscan veggies, mahi mahi, beef tenderloin, turkey, and more. Tables — both cocktail and dinner-height — were scattered about and centered with giant martini glasses filled with olives and topped with flowers. A bid board let guest bid on items while they schmoozed.
Guests liked the new format and were having so much fun that it was tough to get them seated in the theater, but they came. And there they sat as captives for a rather lengthy two-hour program and auction — which caused some folks to take breaks — before the performance.
Event Chairwoman Kathi Glascock said jokingly in spite of all the work, “It's been a pleasure to be the chair. Scouts honor. No fibs.” She had a lot of help, including Co-Chairman Dennis Johnson, a past foundation chairman, Co-Chairwoman Joyce Moses, auxiliary president, and a vast committee. Mr. Johnson presented flowers to Ms. Glascock and Ms. Moses. Kathy Zacharias, foundation chairwoman, thanked everyone too and asked everyone to join her in a round of Happy Birthday for Sister Yvonne Viens in honor of her 85th birthday. Executive Vice President Jeff Peterson thanked everyone again and introduced Tony Werner, the foundation's new president, who just moved to Toledo two weeks ago and was unpacking boxes earlier that day. A well-done video that highlighted the hospital's services was viewed by all, then Mr. Peterson asked everyone to bid high and often at the auction.
The auction was full of several big-ticket items, including a Yamaha baby grand piano, a transatlantic voyage, a one-week vacation at Hilton Head Island, and a trip to Michigan Speedway for driving lessons and laps bought by Tim Gladieux. The winning bidders for a 2003 Mustang convertible were Jeff and Tammy Fretti, who drove their new toy home.
After the performance by the Rat Pack, the performers posed with guests for photographs. Guests stayed for after-dinner drinks, coffee, and dessert.
Among the nearly 600 guests where women wore mainly black dresses — with a few white or red spotted here and there — were Tom and Traci Schwann, Betty and Steven Zeidner, Brad and Lisa Lay, Debra Katz and Robert Verhelst, George Baibak, Riaz and Virginia Chaudhary, Mike and Marcia O'Neill, Ajith and Surekha Pai, Ned and Morgan Lawrence, Tom and Betty Straub, Michael and Joanie Barrett, Jim and Lisa Wheeler, Julie and Tom Mahoney, Paul and Chris Berlacher, Damodar and Swarna Reddy, Bob and Ellen Navarre, Barbara and Michael Berebitsky, Ruth Lewandowski, Joe Pinciotti, Bob and Kathy Maxwell, Vince and Lynn Mezinko, Kathy and John Wetli, Jan and Janet Bosserman, David and Joan Katz, Bill and Sue Horvath, Laurie and Tim Gladieux, Karen Merrels, Pat and Len Bullard, and Joel Levine and wife, Shirley, in a kicky ruffle-trimmed dress. Like some folks, Bob and Kathy Chirdon scooted on home, as they had an early date the next morning for Race for the Cure.
Proceeds from the event that was presented by the St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center Auxiliary and Foundation are being directed to the dialysis unit.
Friday, Sept. 13, was a lucky day for the Toledo Humane Society. Despite superstitions, guests ventured to the annual FurBall in the “barking lot” of the society in support of orphaned animals. Giant, black papier-mache cats guarded the entrance to the huge tent camouflaged with fog. Inside, wizard's hats, moons, stars, and kitty cats' tails were everywhere, mixed with twinkle lights, candle light, and sparkling moon-and-star confetti. Prowling about were a few animal tenants — catching the hearts of guests — along with fortune tellers and magicians. The mystical and colorful scene, designed by volunteer decorator Todd Commisso and his committee, made one think of “Harry Potter.”
Party goers sipped cocktails and nibbled gourmet treats at food stations while bidding on silent and live-auction items. Then it was time to shake and dance to The Kirbys band, which donated its time and talent.
The witching hour came early, and guests headed home with their loot. Seen were Chairperson Patrice Spitzer, Chairman of the Board Stephen Serchuk, and a host of committee members and guests, including Joanna and Norm Koenigseker, Mary Pat and Kevin Smith, Kelly and Sam Zyndorf, Charlie and Elizabeth Hepker, Kathleen Walczak, Debi and Gary Kahn, and Marty and Jan Connors.
The annual lobster feast “Kiss the Summer Good Bye” presented by the Toledo Symphony League was held Friday at Cauffiel Museum. The location was decorative enough to stand on its own, with the antique and classic cars on display and Ford and Phyllis Cauffiel giving tours. My favorite — like that of many of the other women — was the pink 1956 Thunderbird convertible with white side-wall tires and pink dice hanging from the rearview mirror. Of course, any would do. The yellow 1948 Lincoln Cabriolet was pretty nice too, as were the blue 1917 Electric Car and many others in various makes, styles, and colors.
Tables under a tent had goodie bags filled with sidewalk chalk, bean shooters, bubbles, marbles, and more for guests to buy for their children. Musician Tammy Rafferty provided a pleasant background over the chatter as guests dined on lobster, except for a few guests, including Howard Madigan, who preferred chicken breast as a neater-to-eat meat. However, Mary, his wife, cracked a few claws for herself and others. Stefan Sanderling, new guest conductor and artistic adviser, remarked, “This is my first season and my first lobster, and I still have all my fingers.”
New this year was a raffle and a live auction, run by league members Dortha Baum and Marlene Uhler, who added humorous comments to encourage bidding: “Are you bidding or flirting?” Jerry Baum, Dortha's husband, the one in a colorful lobster-print shirt, assisted.
Long-time members, new members, and corporate sponsors joined in the evening. Seen were Don and Mary Decker, Madlynn and Tony Pizza, Barbara and Richard Baker, Michael and Kim Kastner, Peg Werner, Mike and Marian McVicker, Joyce Maines, Lynn and Ed McNeal, Pat Farkas, Teri and Tim Tomase, Jackie Rousseau Werner and Hank Werner, and new President Lynda Gilbert. Sue Lovett was chairman.
Saturday evening SRO Afterglow 2002: A Celebration of the Human Spirit was presented at COSI to benefit David's House Compassion, Inc., an AIDS service organization. While the venue for SRO — Supporters Reaching Out — changed with the new decade, the support and care from community volunteers has been the same for 12 years, bringing a glow of satisfaction for supporting the cause.
In keeping with that glow, Afterglow was established last year: small dinner parties, followed by one big bash. This year's bash included desserts and coffees donated by area culinary establishments, after-dinner libations, live and silent auctions, dancing, and plenty of time to stroll science exhibits.
Predinners — with a menu left to the discretion of the hosts — were given by Trudy Bond and Bridgitte Syfrett; Sarah Burns and Danielle Niedermeier; Ted and Rhonda Cowell; Marcia and Phil Klunk; Brian Miller and Paul Swartz; Leisa Leininger, Kristi Polus, and Bruce Yunker; Michael Leonard and Matt Wiederholt; Jack and Mary Lindberg and Mike and JoAnn Phipps; Debbie Dryer McClure and Frank Swinehart, and Ron Richmond. In addition, the house's executive director, Skeeter Hunt, was host for the Before the Glow educational dinner for public officials at the Wyndham hotel, where Mayor Jack Ford and his wife, Cynthia, made an appearance.
Event Chairman Neal Ward was most excited about the AIDS memorial quilt panels that made an impressive display. He said there were some 350 guests and patrons, “but the volunteers are the real life blood — we couldn't survive without them. They don't get enough thanks.”
Revelers came and stayed till the end. Dinner host Ms. Niedermeier was among the last of the party goers, along with her parents, Mary and Dan Niedermeier of Willard. Mary and Shayne Shoched and Rob and Kate Gilsdorf danced to the last song of the evening played by Brian Cahill Productions, who, like the food vendors, donated his services.