Opera presents a singing Valentine

  • Barbara-Hendel-8

  • Michael and Karen McMurray and Gretchen and Mark Zyndorf, dinner chairmen. Not pictured are Paula and Bill Fall, dinner chairmen.
    Michael and Karen McMurray and Gretchen and Mark Zyndorf, dinner chairmen. Not pictured are Paula and Bill Fall, dinner chairmen.

    THE TOLEDO Opera Gala "Ladies in Red," presented by the Toledo Opera Guild and Yark Fiat, was Feb. 14 with an encore performance Feb. 16 at the Valentine Theatre. Other sponsors included The Blade, Ohio Arts Council, and Lucille Gorski.

    Backed by maestros James Meena and Robert Mirikian, emcee and pianist Kevin Bylsma, and the Toledo Symphony, the ladies in red wowed the audience: mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock and sopranos Sarah Jane McMahon, Jennifer Rowley, Elizabeth Baldwin, and Amy Louise Yekel.

    Applause from the 850 attendees echoed with appreciation of the talent, especially from Meena fans Don and Venice Michel.

    Thanking everyone was Suzanne Rorick, executive director, and Doug Kearns, trustee and a sponsor.

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    A benefit dinner before the gala featured long tables elegantly decorated with red and fuchsia runners, a symphony quartet, and a gourmet meal accompanied with wines donated by Heidelberg Distributing.

    Top dinner sponsors were Owens Corning, Rudolph Libbey, and Yark Fiat.

    Dinner chairmen were Gretchen and Mark Zyndorf, Karen and Michael McMurray, and Paula and Bill Fall. The dinner netted about $25,000.

    Among the 110 dinner attendees were Toledo Opera board Chairman Sandy Sauder and husband Kevin, Bill and Heather McDonnell, Zak and Emilie Vassar, Harvey and Connie Tolson, Sam and Kelly Zyndorf, Kimberly and Zachary Madden, Lisa Wolfe and Ed Reams, Dr. Christopher and Joan Layne, Dave and Sally McMacken, Barbara Brown, and Dr. Allen and Hinda Markowicz.

    The night ended with desserts and dancing to Hep Cat Revival.

    The Feb. 16 concert was followed by dinner at Real Seafood with chairman Susan Conda, trustee.

    The Toledo Opera Guild luncheon Feb. 12 in the Toledo Club's Red Room was a breathtaking scene, thanks to the efforts of Barbara Baker. Lace-covered tables, fuchsia cake stands holding creamy, frosted red velvet cakes, and a long-stemmed red rose for everyone caught everyone's eyes. But what really had people peeking in was when Elizabeth Baldwin performed. Baldwin is a native of Sylvania.


    Laurie LaValley Thornton with guest from the 1940s, €œRosie the Riveter.
    Laurie LaValley Thornton with guest from the 1940s, €œRosie the Riveter.

    A HOLLYWOOD 1940s theme set the scene for the third annual "Hearts of Fire ­— Feed the Desire" Valentine Dance Feb. 15 for Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank at Highland Meadows Golf Club.

    The night, decorated with movie star posters and red roses, included raffle prizes, a silent auction, hors d'oeuvres, dinner, and dancing to the music of the KGB band.

    Gary Marck received the first Heart of Fire Volunteer Award, a hand-blown heart by local artist Adam Goldberg.

    Event chairman Elaine LaValley Lewandowski, assisted by Robin LaValley, Laurie LaValley Thornton, Kathy Perry, and Rick Bohn, reports about $25,000 was raised.

    Sponsors included Checker Distributors, ComfortLine Fiberframe, Dave White Chevrolet, International Tableware, Managed Care Advisory, Merrill Lynch, Raymond James Financial, and Morgan Stanley.


    Dr. Thomas Osinowo from NOPH, CCO with Mary Beth Zolik of 101.5 The River and her husband Terry Smith.
    Dr. Thomas Osinowo from NOPH, CCO with Mary Beth Zolik of 101.5 The River and her husband Terry Smith.

    HEART & Soul: Caring for our Community was Feb. 8 in the Birdcage on the second floor of Fifth Third Field. Emcee was Shaun Hegarty of WTVG-TV, Channel 13.

    Recognized were honorary chairmen Mary Beth Zolik of 101.5 The River and Theresa Eigensee, lead sponsor with her husband, Robert. The other top sponsor was the Zepf Center. There were nearly 40 other sponsors, 100 auction donors, and 20 in-kind donations.

    The 10th annual benefit to raise awareness for mental illness, and help erase the stigma associated with it, was founded by Sally Binard and Tony Rasczyk. who are amazed that it has been a decade since the first event was at Grumpy's with 100 people and proceeds of $5,300.

    This year there were 300 supporters and the estimated net is $25,000-$30,000. Add that to the $150,000 raised in the first nine years. Proceeds support the programs and services at Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital and the Thomas M. Wernert Center.

    The upbeat night included silent and live auctions with Karen Rose, dining stations, and three live music venues. Tammy Talmage won the bid for the handmade Michigan T-shirt quilt she bought with pooled efforts from her siblings for her father, Dr. Lance Talmage, for his Feb. 23 birthday.

    Kudos to the committee and volunteers including Tonalee Touser, Kelly Skinner, Candace Tavormina, Janet Wasielewski, Darlene Rasczyk, and Christopher Magers.

    In the crowd were Brian Smith, Bud Crosby and Dr. Mary Gombash, Karen Rose, Jim and Michelle Molnar, Barbara and Alan Konop, Ann and Mike Pistilli, and Gary and Leigh Ann Nieman.


    THE Women of a New Tribe traveling exhibit at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library downtown opened Feb. 11 with a reception organized by the Toledo Chapter of Links Inc. and the library. The display, which runs through the end of February, is a photographic study of the spiritual and physical beauty of black women and includes subjects from all walks and stages of life, including mothers, daughters, artists, professionals, elders, and community activists. Featured are nearly 50 images by photographer Jerry Taliaferro of North Carolina.

    Members of the Links' arts and international trends committees were Ireatha Hollie, arts chairman; Barbara Selvey, reception co-chairman, and Laneta Goings, international trends chairman.

    Among the 40-some Links members and guests were Toledo Municipal Clerk of Courts Vallie Bowman-English, Toledo Links president; Rhonda Sewell, of the library; teen members of the Toledo Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc.; Toledo School Board President Cecelia Adams; and Billie Johnson, Maya Stone, Johnetta McCullough, Francis Collins, Neema Bell, Deborah Porter, Jane Thompson, Tonya Rider, and Kim and Julian Highsmith.