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Published: Monday, 9/20/2004

On the town: Center stage

The smooth and captivating voices of scat singers Steve Tyrell and Karrin Allyson blended Saturday night with the sounds of the Toledo Jazz Orchestra, filling The Valentine Theatre with sultry jazz and sexy romantic tunes for the 2004 Gala Celebration: An Evening of Timeless Music.

See also "On the town: Behind the scenes"

See also "On the town: Hot spots"

Grammy nominated Allyson, dressed in night-club casual, delighted the audience as she jammed with the band.

GREAT PERFORMANCES: Karrin Allyson performed with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra. GREAT PERFORMANCES: Karrin Allyson performed with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra.
DUTTON / BLADE Enlarge

Everyone especially liked the "Yea, Yea!" number she sang in honor of its writer, local jazz man Jon Hendricks, who was in the audience.

GREAT PERFORMANCES: Steve Tyrell performs with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra. GREAT PERFORMANCES: Steve Tyrell performs with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra.
DUTTON / BLADE Enlarge

But it was Tyrell, successful record-producer-turned popular singer - most noted for his rendition of "The Way You Look Tonight," - who brought the house down. He wooed the audience with his rich, raspy voice in "Isn't It Romantic," "Georgia," and other songs that made one want to sway with one's honey.

COUPLE OF NOTE: Judith and Jon Hendricks are in tune with their gala surroundings. COUPLE OF NOTE: Judith and Jon Hendricks are in tune with their gala surroundings.
LISA DUTTON / BLADE Enlarge

The evening started with cocktails in the theater's historic lobby. A buffet dinner followeded under a giant tent trimmed in clublike twinkly lights, towering silver urns topped with ferns, and lime green-covered tables centered with sparkling ladies' shoes as flower vases.

GALA ELEGANCE: David and Cindy Taylor find time to shine at the Valentine Gala. GALA ELEGANCE: David and Cindy Taylor find time to shine at the Valentine Gala.
LISA DUTTON / BLADE Enlarge

Several serving stations for dinner provided for small lines to sate hungry appetites. Those with a sweet tooth enjoyed the ice cream sundae bar and more.

The guests' variety of fashions was entertaining too. Ladies wore everything from classic St. John's dinner suits and short designer cocktail dresses to fitted gowns with slits up to here and necklines down to there, to long full-skirted gowns and matching stoles. And black, move over: Some ladies dared to wear anything from lime green to hot pink, purple, and cream. Men were simply dapper in tuxedos.

Among the nearly full house were Jim and Kay Murray, Cindy and Chuck Dana, Kim and Michael Kastner, and jazz DJ Suzanne Carroll of 101.5 The River radio, who was delighted to meet Allyson, as was Sam Szor.

FASHION STAGE: Jo and Mark Wagoner make fashion statements at the gala. FASHION STAGE: Jo and Mark Wagoner make fashion statements at the gala.
LISA DUTTON / BLADE Enlarge

Also seen were Bob and Lisa McPherson, Mike and Carol Anderson, George Isaac, Jeanne Coronado, Elizabeth and John Gorski, Julie Shanks and Alex Parks, Omar and Lubna Salem, Dennis and Eileen Drenikowski, Barb and Mike Berebitsky, Laura and Tom Baird, Mark and Beth Tooman, Bob and Kathie Maxwell, and Tom Palmer and wife, Susan, ravishing in a hot pink, ruffled cocktail dress.

Others in the crowd included Carroll Ashley, Ken and Julia Orwig, Brad and Lisa Lay, Pat and George Eistetter, Bob and Mary Westphal, Patty and Dick Westmeyer, Keith and Katy Walker, Dean and Becky Kasperzak, Ed and Donna Posluszny, Joe and Mary Ann Colturi, Mark and Gretchen Zyndorf, Panos and Susan Doukides, Penny and Jim Lenardson, Jo and Mark Wagoner, Holly and Lou Goldstein, Dave and Hilary White, Corinne and Jeff Mann, Lyman and Patrice Spitzer, and Jeff and Laurie Jaffe, who are major supporters of the Toledo Jazz Society. David Taylor, who took a scenic route to the affair as he meandered through downtown with his wife, Cindy, remarked, "I've been listening to Mr. Tyrell every week ever since I heard him 10 years ago." Jon Richardson and Cynthia Ford met Tyrell backstage, then Tyrell joined the crowd for dinner, signing endless autographs. Loraine and Jeff Boersma were there too and glad to be back in Toledo.

Proceeds ensure the theater's continued financial stability, said board chairman Bob Anspach. Nearly 20 volunteers, including ticket chairmen Dee Isaac and Nancy Kabat, helped chairmen Jane Anspach and Molly Meyers.

Barbara Hendel is The Blade's society editor.

Contact her at: bhendel@theblade.com

or 419-724-6124.



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