Sculptor Beverley Mastrianni and painter David Miller served as judges, awarding Best in Show to Doretta Miller for her piece, “Past, Present and Future.” Second place went to Robert Bootier for “Saratoga Racetrack” and William Jaeger took third for “Whorl Congress Park.” Five honorable mentions were also presented and more than 60% of the works were sold that evening.
Guests enjoyed entertainment by Fresh and the Tequila Mockingbirds, while noshing on food provided by Beekman Street Bistro, Elizabeth’s Table, Gaffney’s, The Living Room and Longfellows. Speakers included Mayor Scott Johnson, attending with his wife, Julie, and Donna Hassler, Director of Chesterwood. Among the art enthusiasts in the crowd were Dr. Mark Moreau (Smile Sanctuary) and his wife, Carole, who joined her fellow 2011 Leadership Saratoga graduates Chris Cook and Michelle Paquette to support their classmate, Samantha Bosshart, Executive Director of the Preservation Foundation. Also spotted were Saratoga Springboard president Betsy Boland and vice president Alysa Arnold; City Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan; and Universal Preservation Hall president Teddy Foster.
Philanthropist Katrina Trask, with George Foster Peabody, commissioned the Spirit of Life Memorial in 1913 to honor her husband, Spencer, and his efforts to protect and preserve Saratoga’s natural springs. Noted sculptor Daniel Chester French, whose work included the Lincoln Memorial, crafted the piece, while famed architect Henry Bacon designed the architectural and landscaped grounds. Completed in 1915, every facet of the Trask memorial needs restoration. TRASK is a joint effort between the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation and the City of Saratoga Springs to promote awareness of the memorial and to raise funds for its preservation.
Preservation Foundation board member Tamie Ehinger commented, “We have been overwhelmed by the early, enthusiastic support for TRASK. It’s clear that residents still value the couple’s extraordinary legacy and we’re thrilled to work closely with the City of Saratoga Springs on the memorial’s restoration. We’re also very fortunate that Saratoga Springboard chose to advance our efforts. Their participation made this event the success it is and we’re grateful for their expertise, outreach, guidance and coordination.”
The Spirit of Life & Spencer Trask Memorial Restoration Campaign will continue through the memorial’s 100th anniversary in 2015.
Spirits were higher than the heat last Friday at the 21st annual Double H Ranch Gala. A boot-tapping crowd of more than 800 donned cowboy hats to lasso partners through the gates of The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom. First up, the fabulous silent auction and Chuckwagon Challenge, a one-of-a-kind amateur southwest culinary competition. Gala attendees sampled the entries and cast their votes before dinner. The first place winner, taking home $15,000, was Stephanie Berwick, with chef mentor Jaime Ortiz of Prime. Also serving rib-sticking’ grub were contestants Deborah King with Chef John LaPosta, Sean Conlin with Chef David Britton, Colleen Higgins with Chef Adam Savage and Gus Castellucci with Chef Ken Lingle.
Rather than a cowbell, guests were called to dinner by a talented group of Queensbury students on bagpipes. Mistress of Ceremonies Liz Bishop, CBS 6 News, kicked off the festivities with Neil Golub, one of the evening’s Honorary Chairs. Noting how the Double H Ranch has grown since its inception, with 3 campers the first week and 131 campers just two weeks ago, the pair also led a special sponsorship appeal, raising support for more than 100 campers within minutes!
A delicious plated dinner, accompanied by family-style ribs and potato salad, was dished up by Mazzone Hospitality. Angelo himself circulated the tables, checking on diners alongside his all-star service team, and guests of all ages enjoyed every bite.
Children play an important role in the Double H Gala, of course. A child’s ticket includes dinner and fun in the amusement park, with volunteers literally along for the ride! Of the 800 in attendance, 100 were children, ages 5-12. Children over 12 were welcome too, seated with parents and others under the tent. Board member Ed Mitzen and his wife, Lisa, brought his 16-year old son, Nick, with five of his friends. The young men held their own with the folks until dinner was over and dad cut them loose for the rides.
Roller coasters may have given the teenagers a thrill, but it was nothing compared to what gala guests experienced after dinner. Neil and Jane Golub sponsored a special performance of the Manhattan Transfer to thank the many donors who have kept Double H Ranch running for the last two decades. And an amazing show of gratitude it was! The band ignited the crowd with favorites like “Route 66” and “Only You.”
A tip of the ten-gallon hat to Honorary Chairs Ron and Michele Riggi and Vince and Patty Riggi, who also donated three of the amazing live auction items: a life-size, hand-carved wooden bear; a Rolex watch; and a 1905 Studebaker sleigh. Other cowpokes and lasses spotted in the crowd were Richard and Louise Carriere, Mimi and John Carusone, Gary and Nancy DiCresce, Sherry and Steve Einhorn, Terry and John Forester, Jack and Janice Fox, Kathy Goodwin, Peter and Nancy Kudan, Marianne and Bill LaRoche, Frank and Renee Martinez, Michelle Massiano, Agnes Pompa, Ed and Nancy Pompa, Bob and Heidi West and Double H CEO Max Yurenda.
Cattle calls of appreciation go to the event chairs, Nancy Bambara, Kristin Greenhouse Brown (and her husband, Derek Brown, former NY Giant and Double H board member) and Meredithe Smith Mathias, as well as supporters Robin and Christopher Della Bella (DELLA Auto Group and Glens Falls Country Club president), Erin Badcock of the Hacker Boat Company, Brian and Lori Carmer of Stone Bridge Steel and Iron, and Alex and Abby Keeler of Keel Motors.
More than 100 volunteers are needed to pull off an event of this size and success. This year, these included Debbie O’Neill, Ginny Franzen, the Navy Sea-Bees, GE Elfins, Frontier Communications, Target and KAPL.
The mission of the Double H Ranch is to provide specialized programs and year-round support for children and their families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As part of the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps, the Double H, co-founded by Charles R. Wood and Paul Newman, has been providing memorable camp experiences in a safe and empowering environment since 1993. The gala is their largest fundraising endeavor each year.
Opera Saratoga launched their 2012 season with the 10th annual Opera Ball on Saturday, June 30. Flowers filled The Saratoga Hilton, from larger-than-life balloon centerpieces in the auction area to the cutouts floating above the dance floor. Complementing the theme, each ‘flower child’ received a mood ring upon check-in. Cheat sheets helped decipher the colors, though it was clear the overall feeling was bright. Event chairs Ted and Carol Newlin circulated during the silent auction and cocktail hour, greeting guests and thanking them for their support of this summer treasure.
A delicious dinner was followed by an exciting live auction, with the incomparable LeGrande Serras serving as auctioneer. Bidding was high on a private tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a cameo appearance during one of the 2013 Opera Saratoga productions. The Mike Perkins Trio set the right tone for dancing till midnight, but fittingly, it was the opera singers themselves, including Marie-Eve Munger and Josh Kohl, who captivated the crowd with stunning performances.
Spotted among the black-tie patrons were Dan Czech, Nancy Smith (who was recovering from her own “Year of the Dragon” soiree the night before), Peter Flaherty, Carol Collins, Bob Miller, Dee Sarno, Susan Van Raalte, Lucy Tower, Rick Solosky, Debi Gula, Dr. Anthony Tartaglia, Helen and Guy Mastrion, Rob Kempton, Seth McGuire (representing Joseph Carr, Opera Saratoga’s official wine sponsor for 2012) Rafael Holguin, Tony and Alba Giordano, board member Denise Polit and her husband, Alan Janosy, singer Nicholas Wiggins, Curtis Tucker (General Director of Opera Saratoga), Dr. Amy Knoeller, board member Susan Fogarty, Kim Nachbur, James North, Heather and Jason Ward, Margie and Mike Rotchford (who had also been at the Double H Gala on Friday), and Phyllis and Blair Bynum.