After a quick photo step and repeat, guests were greeted by event chairs Mark Hogan and Lisa Higgins, who encouraged them to proceed upstairs for cocktails. On the mezzanine, Margie and Michael Rotchford joined fellow honorary chairs, Dr. Vincent Verdile, dean of Albany Medical College, and his wife, Lou-Ann, to thank party-goers for their support of the Emergency Department. Dr. James Barba, President and CEO of Albany Medical Center, also chatted with attendees, including Norman and Micki Massry, Congressman Paul Tonko, Kate Calbone, and Angelo Calbone, President and CEO of Saratoga Hospital.
The animated crowd lit up the evening in stylish clubhouse attire. Spotted on the balcony upstairs were Dawn Abbuhl, Mark and Kim Fine, George Hickman, Terry Lee, Liz and Chris O’Brien and Jeanne Whiteside. Inside the ballroom, diners noshed on antipasto, sushi and carved roasts at themed stations, and despite the numbers, Angelo Mazzone and his gracious team handled everything flawlessly. Seen at the high-top tables were Lisa and Matt Gabryshak, Maureen Parker, Caroline Hudson, Lisa Constantino, Rick and Linda Holmes, Amy Raimo, Mary and Rich Ferguson, Fran Dingeman, Bill Peterson and Paul Loomis. Mary Gavin and Michael and Marlene Okby shared a table with Jennifer Chen and Mike Ilacqua, who traveled from New York City to attend the event so they could ‘audition’ The New York Players for their upcoming wedding.
After the good food and fun, spirits were high. When the first boom was heard, guests flocked outside to witness a spectacular display by Alonzo Fireworks. The sparks in the sky led to strobes on the dance floor as the band lured people under the tent. Others like Rachel and Tommy Uccellini, expecting their first child (a girl!) in November, lounged around the perimeter to enjoy the perfect summer night. Spiro and Soula Tsitos were among those who surprised birthday girl Tina Nigro with a cake on the patio, and the outside tables were still full when the band wound down at midnight. Those there until the very end included Donna Talley, Frank and Tammy Margan, Niall and Nikki Roche, and clearly, this reporter and her husband. What a night!
Petticoats and Premieres
Ballet patrons flooded the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Saturday, transforming the Hall of Springs into the Moulin Rouge for the annual Ballet Gala. The scene was set with a red- carpet entry to the Action Council’s cocktail hour. Dancers from the Northeast Ballet Company posed in costume throughout the breezeway before entertaining with a playful cancan dance.
Attendees sipped champagne and plenty of ice water after a pop-up shower failed to ease the heat. Mary Martin, Kimberly Cannizzo, Dr. Joy Lucas and Tammy Loya were exquisite in gowns reminiscent of La Belle Époque. Beth Alexander, an instructor at the Myers Dance Center, looked gorgeous in a golden gown by THEIA, accompanied by her beautiful daughter, Zoe, a ballerina herself. Both were seen chatting with Darlene Myers and the dancers before their performance.
Michele Riggi also wore a stunning THEIA gown from Saratoga Trunk. She and her husband Ron, a member of the SPAC Board of Directors, toasted the evening with fellow board members Don McCormack and Linda Toohey, and Linda’s husband, Michael. Terry and Carl DeBrule popped over to say hello to the group.
Wes and Mary Holloway were spotted on the veranda with Neil and Jane Golub (who looked fabulous in her red, one-shoulder gown), and special guest Emily Kasinger. Kasinger, a 12-year old from Trenton, Missouri, participated in the Southwest Airlines ‘Adopt-A-Pilot’ program, writing an essay about her aspirations to become a professional ballerina. Her pilot took his role in the program very seriously, trying to match students to mentors for their dreams, but he didn’t know any ballerinas. So he made an announcement on one of his flights, a flight Andrea Spungen, co-chair of gala, happened to be on. Spungen rang her call button and spoke with the pilot, who connected her with a very excited Kasinger. Needless to say, this young lady was having the time of her life on Saturday evening after a whirlwind visit that included lessons with New York City Ballet principals.
Others seen slipping into the Hall of Springs for a perfectly themed French dinner were Action Council member Micheileen Treadwell and her son, Michael, Nancy DiCresce (also a member of the Action Council) and her husband, Gary, board member Dee Sarno, Jane Sanzen, Beth and Marc Fecteau, Kyle McCarthy, Allen Goodman, Julie Slovic, Aggie Mullaney, Rob Coughlin, and Erica Dingeman.
Meanwhile, on the lawn, SPAC’s Junior Committee welcomed picnickers for An Evening at the Moulin Rouge. And though the rain had made things steamy, it was nothing compared to the incredible costumes. Petticoats were the fashion of the night!
It was fun to see so many party-goers taking the theme to heart, in attire and décor. The spreads were some of the best yet, sparing no detail in the quest for the inaugural picnic contest trophy, a tribute to the late Philly Dake for her extraordinary contributions to SPAC. Tim Medick set up candelabra assisted by a trio of lovely ladies, Daniela Bigalli, Brooke Hackler and Kim-Marie Mullin. Elaine Sillery was spotted setting up her table with friends, and MaryAlice Russo added final flourishes to her group’s display.
But it was truly Moulin Mania at the aptly named tent coordinated by Melissa Zieker. The team hit every note, including a lit windmill they built to match the gala’s invitation. Their centerpiece under the tent, an Eiffel Tower made completely of wooden coffee stirrers, was built 20 years ago by John Bartlett of Wilton. He heard about the group’s effort and loaned his sculpture to complete the scene. Add in the flirty costumes, and Moulin Mania had the perfect recipe for a winning tent, which at the end of the night, it was. Among the ladies and gents toasting their trophy were Traci Jersen, Darlene DeNooyer, Michele Jacobs, Hilary Munson, Georgie Nugent, Candice Zlotnick, Sequoyah Finkell, Steve and Katie Clark, Eric and Lisa Pagoda and Brendan Flanigan.
In the midst of the frivolity, the New York City Ballet did present three premiere performances. Two Hearts and Les Carillons had their Saratoga debuts, while In Creases made its world premiere with music by Philip Glass and choreography by Justin Peck. All three were superb and of course, the highlight of the evening.
When the orchestra music cleared the air, attendees took to the dance floor. Soul Session matched the spirits of the crowd and Garland Nelson kept the party going well into the night. Capped by fireworks, An Evening at the Moulin Rouge was a rousing success!
Across town, Sperry’s celebrated its anniversary last Saturday with the Grand Opening of the new patio and garden bar. Festivities began mid-afternoon with live music by Jeff Brisbin, drink specials and complimentary appetizers. The George Boone Blues Band revved things up for ht evening crowd.
Co-owners Colin and Christel MacLean, always the consummate hosts, welcomed friends and guests throughout the party. Colin himself designed the new patio, complete with a full bar, bench seating, courtyard tables and even a canopied area with crystal chandeliers. Coming in through the large wooden ‘gate’ from Caroline Street feels like entering a secret garden. But Sperry’s hasn’t been a secret since its early days as a speakeasy, and by the crowd, it was clear that everyone knows the restaurant is a great place to meet friends for dinner and drinks. A few of the cool people celebrating this hot spot (on a very warm night) were Mayor Scott Johnson and his wife, Julie, Tom Norris, Cassandra Lyons, Christianne Smith, Emmett and Jayne McCarthy, Gayle LaSalle, and new Saratogians Jill Reynolds and Stephen Pierce, who just moved here from Richmond, Virginia.
The season is in full swing! RSVP for some of the fun.
After Opening Day at the races Friday, have An Unbridled Affair with CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services at the Gideon Putnam. The fourth annual event, hosted by trainer Gary Contessa and his wife, Jennifer, will honor Thoroughbred Seattle Slew, the only undefeated Triple Crown winner in the history of racing. Noted artist Brian T. Fox will unveil an original oil painting of the champion during a live auction facilitated by Tom Durkin. Reservations can be made at www.captainyfs.com.
Racing continues with the Silks & Satins 5K on Saturday, July 21. Registration opens at 6 a.m. at the intersection of East Avenue and George Street in Saratoga Springs. The race for New York Special Olympics starts at 8 a.m. Visit www.nyso.org for a route map and registration form.
Closer to the North Pole, runners can participate in the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk at Six Flags Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom. Registration begins at 7 a.m. for the 8 a.m. event. Participants are encouraged to wear holiday-themed attire and tie jingle bells to sneakers. Sign up at www.arthritis.org.
Saturday evening will be a sea of white at Fasig-Tipton as Diageo and CDPHP present Saratoga Bridges annual White Party. Chaired by Julie Bonacio and Beth Alexander, the gala will feature silent and live auctions with celebrity auctioneers Sonny Bonacio, and Saratoga TODAY’s own Chad Beatty. Guests will dine at unique stations by Mazzone Hospitality and dance to The Grand Design. RSVP by calling (518)587-0723, and for a sneak peak of the auction, visit www.biddingforgood.com/saratogabridges
On Monday, spend A Night in Tuscany for the American Cancer Society HopeClub. The event at Fasig-Tipton will honor Chick Led Duke and celebrate the expansion of the Led Duke Family Center of the American Cancer Society. Attendees will enjoy a delectable Tuscan dinner with regional wines, an opera performance by Tenor David Sutton and music by TS Ensemble. For reservations, visit www.cancer.org/hopeclub.
Vapor’s Party for a Cause is back on Thursday, July 26. Spend a night with Saratoga’s Finest Fillies, betting to benefit Jake’s Help From Heaven and get your favorite filly to the finish first. The evening’s card includes founder Heather Straughter, board member Julie Johnson, Johanna Friedman, Susan Halstead, Kelly Hite, Amy Raimo, Elaine Sillery, Christianne Smith and Melissa Zieker. Odds will be announced and betting begins promptly at 7:15 p.m. To learn more, visit www.jakeshelpfromheaven.com.