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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 10.29.18

Variety Feeds Kids

Connie Beckett and Kelly Shuert chaired the sold-out luncheon benefiting the weekend food program they co-founded. It serves 1,200 children in the Pontiac Public School District with hands on distribution help by Oakland County Sheriff Department officers, some of whom were in the audience of 285 at Pine Lake Country Club. (Their boss, Sheriff Mike Bouchard, arrived late. By helicopter.) Table centerpieces and a display in the dining room lobby (see photo gallery) spoke to the food focus of the event, but not with as much impact as guest speaker Steve Pemberton did. The successful business executive and author, whose innate perspicacity and love of reading enabled him to survive years with a cruel foster family, told about having to sneak breakfast cereal silently into a bowl to avoid detection by his evil parents. His inspiring biography, “A Chance in the World,” is now a movie that will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28 at the Maple Theatre. Ticket sales will benefit Variety, The Children’s Charity, as did the luncheon ($215,000) and board president Lois Shaevsky’s milestone birthday a few days later ($5,000). Thanks also to sponsors (see photo gallery), Variety Feeds Kids can supply weekend food to an at-risk child for a whole year for $100.

Michigan Opera Theatre Gala

Eleven days after beloved Michigan Opera Theatre founder David DiChiera died of pancreatic cancer, 318 guests ($750 & up tickets) were gathered at the MOT 2018 Gala. “For the first time in 48 years, David is not here. But his spirit is,” noted board chair Rick Williams. “…(and) with you, his vision, the show will go on for many, many years,” he added. The dinner followed a cocktail reception, both in festival tents installed in the Detroit Opera House parking lot, and a glorious concert in the DOH by incomparable soprano Renée Fleming and two Joffrey Ballet dancers. Fleming’s selections ranged from Mozart to Sondheim and she encouraged the audience to singalong with her encore “I Could Have Danced All Night.” It was lovely, as was the dance performance on an elevated platform behind the orchestra. In the audience of 2,084 were 98 Young Professionals ($125 ticket) who partied in the Barbara Frankel & Herman Frankel Donor Lounge with DJ music or on the roof top Sky Deck before joining the dinner guests in the Afterglow tent for desserts, late-night delicacies, dancing and music by Nicole New. Thanks to a silent auction ($11,000) and sponsors (see photo gallery), the Gala raised $355,000. It also provided David a final gift-to-his-fans opportunity. Before passing, he autographed each poster in his entire collection to be Gala souvenirs. Whatta guy!

Habitat for Humanity & Women Builders Design Challenge

More than 320 ($35 ticket) gathered at Habitat for Humanity’s Farmington Hills ReStore shop for the second annual Design Challenge. They sipped, supped and voted for their favorite vignette designed by 21 professionals and 17 student designers from Baker College, Lawrence Tech, Michigan State and Wayne State using at least two anchor pieces from ReStore. The guest judges (Michael Berman, Kyle Huntoon, Cari Cucksey, Jan Grudzen and Lynne Pratt) made designer Holly Hartter’s assemblage their favorite professional vignette and the WSU team’s their top student vignette. (See photo gallery.) People’s Choice Professional Awards went to Jo’s Organizing (1st), Andre Drewery (2nd) and Kohler Signature Store by First Supply Birmingham 3rd). People’s Choice Student Awards went to the teams from LTU (1st), MSU (2nd) and WSU (3rd). The event, chaired by Elizabeth Wyss and Barbara Burnham, netted $20,000 to split between Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County and the Scholarship Fund of the Professional Women in Building Council of the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan.

Bridge for Angels

Julie Beals and Gwen North chaired a bridge luncheon benefiting Angels Place. It brought 60 women ($100 each) to Oakland Hills Country Club. Most played duplicate, others opted for party format. Midway through the action as the ladies savored their buffet luncheon, Angels Place director Cheryl Loveday told them about AP’s mission to provide lifetime care for people with developmental disabilities and about the annual dinner Nov. 29 which will feature Kirk Gibson as keynote speaker. At the end of play, ACBL Club Director & Teacher Lynn Root announced the winners: Julie Beals, Tara Clavenna, Linda Ebert and Valerie Leebove. The inaugural event netted $5,000.

Check in the coming weeks for reports & photos from these events:

Women Officials Network Wonder Woman Awards

Yatooma Foundation Silver Anniversary Gala

Bloomfield Hills Garden Club Luncheon

Wine & Dine in the D

Birmingham Bloomfield Cultural Council Awards

Pink Fund Dancing with the Survivors

Belle Isle Conservancy Polish the Jewel Luncheon

Walsh College Leadership Awards Dinner

MOCAD Gala + Art Auction

CARE House Care Night

Beyond Basics Family Literacy Center Launch

Lakeshore Legal Aid Annual Event

Baldwin Library Novel Wine Tasting

HAVEN Tailgate

Impact 100 Grants Selection

Friends of Camp Mak-A-Dream Cookies and Dreams

Community Foundation of Greater Rochester Tailgate Party

Friends of Foster Kids Fundraiser

Alzheimer’s Association Chocolate Jubilee


Elizabeth DuMouchelle is chairing the OUR TOWN Art Show and Sale which opens with the Opening Night Party 6-9 pm, Thursday, Nov. 1 at The Community House. The Benefactor Chairs are Connie & Ian McEwan. Plans include valet parking, cocktails, strolling dinner and desserts and first chance to see and buy the 372 works of art juried into the show by Barbara Heller and Melissa Parks. For tickets ($75) go to or call 248-644-5832. The 33rd annual show will remain open to the public free of charge through 8 pm, Saturday, Nov. 3

Barbara Van Dusen is the honorary host of the Oakland Literacy Council Ex Libris 6:30 pm, Thursday, Nov. 1 at the Village Club. Plans include cocktails, dinner, and keynote address by U-M English professor Anne Curzan, a member of the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel, and co-host of Michigan Public Radio’s “That's What They Say.” For tickets ($125, $175, table of 10-$1,000) call 248-253-1617 or go to Proceeds support adult literacy.

The Habitat for Humanity Oakland Fall Extravaganza is 6:30 pm, Thursday, Nov. 1 at the Troy Marriott. Plans include cocktails, dinner, awards to the Community Builder and Volunteer of the year, live auction and afterglow. For sponsorships and tickets ($185-Patron, $265-Benefactor, includes 6 pm reception) call 248-338-1843 or go to

The House of Providence Wishes Gala is 6 pm, Friday, Nov. 2 at the Royal Park Hotel. Plans include strolling hors d’oeuvres, dinner and a program emceed by Chuck Gaidica, Go to for tickets $125). Proceeds benefit girls in foster care.

The Santa Society’s 26th annual Cause for Claus Gala Charity Ball is 7:30-11:30 pm, Friday, Nov. 2 at the Troy Marriott. Plans include hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and music by Jedi Mind Trip. The host committee of 22 good guys covers expenses. Guests bring one new, unwrapped toy per person for the Marines’ Toys for Tots program.

Julie Pietrosante and Annette Royce are chairing Christ Child Society Night of Angels Saturday, Nov. 3 at Bloomfield Hills Country Club. Plans include a revival of the old-fashioned Feather Party with cocktails at 6 pm, dinner, BINGO and dancing at 7:30 pm, plus raffles, live and silent auctions. For ticket ($175) go to

Judson Center Rewind Gala is 6 pm, Saturday, Nov. 3 at the MGM Grand. Plans include silent and live auctions, cocktails, dinner, program and Afterglow. For tickets ($300, $400-VIP, includes 5:30 VIP reception) and sponsorships go to at or call Joann Ingoglia at 248-837-2075.

Mary Beth Castorri, Lauren Eaton and Carol Quigley are chairing the Sky Foundation 10th Anniversary Celebration 1 pm, Sunday, Nov.4 at the MGM Grand. Plans include hors d’oeuvres, lunch, program emceed by WXYZ’s Alicia Smith, a wine pull raffle, live auction and a performance by NUCLASISCA. For tickets ($135 and up) call 248-385-5143 or go to

Dani Gillman & Ben Chutz are chairing JARC’s annual Fall Fundraiser 7:30 pm, Thursday, Nov. 8 at the Max & Marjorie Fisher Music Center. Plans include the amazing Believing the Impossible Live Tour of the Masters of Illusion. For tickets ($75 an up), go to or call 248-538-6611.

Denny Dinan-Panico, Mia Materka and Martha Whiting are chairing the Ladies of Charity Festive Friendsgiving Luncheon 11 am, Friday, Nov. 9 at Red Run Golf Club. Plans include cash bar, a raffle, luncheon and talk by Patricia Montemurri about her book on the history of Detroit Catholic parishes. All guests will receive a signed copy of the book. For tickets ($55, $155) call Rose Obloy at 248-646-1043.

The Julian Boivin Courage for Cures Foundation 8th annual Brave Knight Benefit for pediatric brain tumor research is Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Townsend Hotel. Plans include a seated dinner, silent and live auctions, raffle prizes and dancing. Proceeds of the 2018 Brave Knight will fund research grants at U-M's Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center and The DIPG Collaborative. To donate an auction item, become a sponsor, or inquire further, call (248) 790-2350.

Julie Kowalik and Cynthia Lutz are chairing FAR Therapeutic Arts & Recreation’s annual FAR, Friends & Fa La La Wednesday evening, Nov. 14 at the Seligman performing Arts Center at Detroit Country Day School. Doors open at 5:30 pm for FAR Bazaar shopping and the Silver Circle Pre-glow reception. Variety, The Children’s Charity, Steven Teich and Ron Piotrowski will be honored. For tickets ($75-reserved seating, Afterglow Party; $150-valet, Pre-glow, special seating, Afterglow) call Pamela Ayres at 248-646-3347.

Audrey & Gerry Weinberg and Dr. James P. Lynch will be honored at the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation 41st annual Evening at the Movies 6:30 pm, Thursday, Nov. 15 at the Masonic Temple. Plans include valet parking, strolling dinner, silent auction, the program with Brandon Pomish as the Mission Speaker. A movie presentation will follow at 8 pm. For sponsorships and tickets ($175 and up) call Laura James at 248-737-0900, ext. or go to

The Junior League of Birmingham is hosting the first ever Bingo for Boots event at The Royal Oak Elks Club (2401 E. 4th Street #34, Royal Oak, MI 48067) 7 pm, Friday, Nov. 16. Plans include cash bar, games, prizes and Bingo to benefit Lighthouse of Oakland County families in need. Guests are welcome to bring food but no outside alcohol. For each ticket sold, one pair of boots will be donated to a family in need. For tickets ($30-general, $120-reserved seating for 4) go to the JLB EStore at

Dan Loepp is chairing the executive committee of Hob Nobble Gooble 6:30-10:30pm, Friday, Nov. 16 at Ford Field. Plans for this 2018 Michigan Thanksgiving Parade benefit include valet parking, dinner, delights, carnival midway, new ride, give-a-ways, music by Your Generation in Concert and performance by Jesse McCarthy. Tickets range from $200 for children 6 and under to $500. Call 313-923-7400 ext. 244.

Jennie & Bill Cook and Tim & Marci Rice are chairing South Oakland Shelter Dancing with the Detroit Stars 7 pm, Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Townsend Hotel. Plans for the 10th annual glam fundraiser include strolling food stations, open bar and watching as six couples compete for the winners’ trophy based on the decision of celebrity judges. The dancers who will have partners from Arthur Murray Dance Studio are: Eric Fadie (The Detroit Cast), Tara Szott Wasik (Szott Automotive Group), Kelli Robinson (Stella & Dot), Angel Lavery (Brother Rice High School), Alexandria T. Riley (City of Pontiac) and Chef Eric Avila (The Townsend). The judges are Rabbi Rachel Shere (Adat Shalom Synagogue), Karen Dumas (Images and Ideas Inc.), Roop Raj (Fox 2 Detroit) and Derrick Coleman (DC Elite). For tickets ($200) and sponsorships go to

Meadow Brook Hall’s 47th annual Holiday Walk is Nov. 23 through Dec. 23. It offers self-guided tours of the grand manor’s elegant rooms decorated for the holidays plus tours of Knole Cottage and Danny’s Cabin. Go to for the ticket prices and the full schedule of opportunities.

Linda Juracek-Lipa, Tina Prevas and Sherry Saginaw are chairing the Women’s Division Project HOPE annual Holiday Luncheon & Boutique, 10am - 3pm, Wednesday, Nov. 28 at Forest Lake Country Club. Boutique Shops include: Art Loft, Christian Dior Beauty, Christina Larosa Pottery & Garden Gifts, Ella’s Designs, El-Mar Furs, Event Bliss, Franklin Village Boutique, Gifted, Innis Joswick Jewelry, Klassics by Kurtis, Michelle’s Chocolate, Mrs. Mason’s Company, Sutherland Style, Trends in Fashion and others. Lunch will be served at noon. For tickets ($80-Guest, $100-Patron, $150- Benefactor) or Sponsor ($250-2 tickets) Contessa Bannon at 248-860-7004 or

Forest lake Country Club on Wednesday, November 28th from 10:00am to 3:00pm. The ticket prices are: Guest $80.00, Patron $100.00, Benefactor $150.00 and Sponsor $250.00 (includes a Benefactor and one additional ticket for a guest). Sherry Saginaw and Tina Prevas are Vendor Chairs and I am the Event Chair. Franklin Village Boutique, Klassics by Kurtis, El-Mar Furs, Event Bliss and Michelle Chocolates are only a few of the vendors who are participating. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Contessa Bannon at 248-860-7004 or Sherry Saginaw at 248.931.3983 or email her at

Wade & Sally Mezey and Joe & Julie Beal are chairing the Angels Place Annual Dinner 6:30 pm, Thursday, Nov. 29 at The Henry Hotel. Plans include valet parking, cocktails, dinner and the program featuring an address by super sports star Kirk Gibson. For sponsorships and tickets ($225, $350-includes 6 pm reception with Gibson), go to

The Boys & Girls Clubs Great Futures Gala, is Thursday, Nov. 29 at the Westin Book Cadillac. Plans include valet parking, cocktails, music, dinner and the program honoring Matt Cullen. For tickets ($250 and up) contact Jennifer Trussell at 248-522-4412 or

Amy Gooch, Mary Taylor and Babbie Thomas are chairing the Christ Child Society Christmas Home Tour Friday, Nov. 30. Five homes will be open for touring. Boutiques and a buffet will be set up at Birmingham Country Club from 9:30 am – 2:30 pm. For tickets ($65) go to

Emilie Mardigian Fitch and Nanette Drouillard are chairing Grace Center of Hope’s Night of Hope 7 pm, Friday, Nov.30 at the Townsend Hotel. Plans include valet parking, strolling dinner stations, live music and dancing, silent and live auctions, photo booth and stories about the children whose lives have been impacted by the children's programs at Grace Centers of Hope. For tickets ($95-dinner, cash bar; $135 – VIP dinner & cocktails) and sponsorships call Kim Wehner at 248-334-2187 ext 1140 or Olivia Jones at, (248) 334-2187 ext. 1142 or go to

The Gatzaros Family is hosting the Salvation Army Sing-a-Long at the London Chop House noon – 2 pm, Thursday, Dec. 6. Tom & Diane Schoenith rekindled the legendary event and Paul W. Smith will emcee the frivolity. For tickets ($250; $10,000 per booth) call the LCH at 313-962-0277.

One of the highlights of the holidays at Meadow Brook Hall is the Starlight Stroll, 7-10 pm, Thursday, Dec.6. Plans include valet parking, a four-course strolling dinner with chef attended stations placed throughout The Hall, full bar service including signature cocktails, live music, dancing in the ballroom and self-guided tours until 8 pm. For tickets ($100) call Jill Moran at 248-364-6252.

The Detroit Historical Society Ball is 6 pm, Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Lexus Velodrome. Plans for the free-wheeling, black-tie evening that will draw upon Detroit’s rich and relatively unknown cycling history include: valet parking, a VIP Reception at 5 pm, champagne upon arrival, VIP-only auction items, and a special toast from new CEO, Elana Rugh; cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, silent auction followed by an elegant seated dinner, the announcement of the 2018 Moving Forward Honoree, and a live auction. At 9 pm the party shifts into high-gear with a demonstration of cycle racing on the Velodrome’s dramatic banked track, music from Ben Sharkey and dancing until midnight with an open bar, coffee and desserts. Cocktail attire. For sponsorships and tickets ($850-VIP; $500-patron; $75 Late Night) call Mary Ann Bauman at 313-833-4143 or go to

Send ideas for this column to Sally Gerak, 28 Barbour Lane, Bloomfield Hills, 48304 or email

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