In a little less than 24 hours I went from ABBA to Mozart last week. The Mozart was courtesy of the Baton Rouge Symphony; ABBA courtesy of the Emerge Center.

Mozart on the Lake

Chef John Folse’s White Oak Plantation was the setting for the symphony’s Mozart on the Lake evening May 17. Of course, the iffy weather we’ve been having of late moved everything indoors, away from the lake, but that wasn’t much of a spoiler. Music director Timothy Muffitt led an all-wind ensemble (and one bass) in a magnificent performance of Mozart’s “Serenade in C minor,” one of 10 “party music” serenades penned by the master.

That was followed by a scrumptious dinner and lively live auction. Camp Matens and symphony President Cary Byrd filled in for the absent John Folse, who was stranded in Chicago, to team up with Muffitt for the auction. The night’s big ticket was two dinners for six at Restaurant R’evolution, Folse and chef Rick Tramonto’s hip New Orleans eatery, that brought in $3,000 to the BRSO coffers.

Emerge into Song

The night before, the dancing queens (including Jennifer Riley, Colleen Waguespack, Conway Petit, Jeannie Moniotte, Annie Alleva, Melissa Campbell, Paula de la Bretonne, Diane Tate and Adrienne Moore) took over the dance floor of the large air-conditioned tent on the grounds of the Emerge Center for it’s debut Emerge into Song fundraiser featuring ABBA the Concert. Very few of the several hundred guests stayed in their seats once the music of ABBA got underway. This was the last stop of the Swedish group’s tour and they promised to “leave everything here with you tonight,” and they kept that promise.

ABBA wasn’t the only music though. In a neat twist on the progressive dinner, guests toured the new state-of-the-art facility and experienced the music of the Baton Rouge Symphony, Michael Foster Project, DJ Otto and Ian Dyer and Levee Road Review as they sipped cocktails and sampled the feast setup throughout the center.

Picnic time

The home of Ann and Dr. Tom Meek was the setting for the Charity Ball Association’s annual French picnic May 13 honoring its 2015 debutante coterie and their mothers. The hostess was vacationing in Paris but left things in the capable hands of daughter Ellen Womack, who co-chaired the party with Connie Miller.

The debs included Anne Wilhelmina Boudreaux, daughter of Margaret a n d Emmett Boudreaux; Irene Riley Brooksher, daughter of Margaret and Dr. Steven Brooksher; Sydney Kathryn Rose Duhé, daughter of Staci and Craig Duhé; Francesca Alexandra Ferrara, daughter of Dede and Skip Ferrara; Anna Howell Field, daughter of Kelly and Dr. Mark Field; Sarah Elizabeth Grand, daughter of Stephanie and Trenton Grand; Mary Elizabeth Grey, daughter of Emily and Charles Grey III; Lillian Ann Johnson, daughter of Vickie and Trey Johnson; and Caroline Jane Barbara Kerr, daughter of Eleanor and Pat Kerr.

Also, Madeleine Rae LeBlanc, daughter of Aimée and George LeBlanc; Anna Claire Maxwell, daughter of Susan and Billy Maxwell; Elise Katherine McCanless, daughter of Anne and Dr. Chris McCanless; AnnaClaire Shields Regan, daughter of Carol and Dr. Leo Regan; Kalli Elizabeth Roberts, daughter of Brandli Roberts and Paul Roberts; Hannah Elizabeth Rougon, daughter of Becky and Major Rougon; Elizabeth Jane Sherman, daughter of Jane and Dr. Stephen Sherman; Virginia Kate Valluzzo, daughter of Mary Kate and Timothy Valluzzo; and Amy Bartlett Van Burkleo, daughter of Andrea and Pat Van Burkleo.

The young women will be presented at the association’s Le Bal de Noel on Dec. 29.

‘Magic Moments’

The night before some 250 guests attended the YMCA of the Capital Area’s annual dinner meeting at the Crowne Plaza recognizing volunteers, donors and partners who helped advance the Y’s cause to strengthen the foundation of our community. The meeting was presided over by Metro Board Chairwoman Gwen Hamilton and YMCA CEO Bob Jacobs.

During the program, three Y volunteers received special recognition for their service. Mike Walker received the Myron Falk Fundraising Award for helping raise $50,000 for the Y’s scholarship program that enables it to provide programs and services to anyone who needs them regardless of their ability to pay.

Zefferino VonKurnatowski received the Edward D. Grant Volunteerism Award. He has partnered with the Y to provide the Biggz Kidz Urban Forest Program, which teaches children the role trees play in the economy and the ecosystem.

Isha Matta, a volunteer with the Y’s Youth & Government Program for the past eight years, received the Red Heart Award. This award recognizes community members who leave a lasting impact on their community through their service to others.

Recognized as “Magic Makers” at their respective Y branches were volunteers Byron Townsend, A. C. Lewis; Patrick Tate, Americana; Whitney Cooper, Baranco Clark; Rodney Mallet, C. B. Pennington Jr.; Derek Fitch, Charles W. Lamar Jr.; Dave Steiner, Dow Westside; Kenney Ric h ard, ExxonMobil; Ben Cherbonnier, Paula G. Manship; and John “Bud” Traylor, Southside.

Empowering Lives

The day began with Cancer Services Empowering Lives Luncheon at LSU’s Lod Cook Alumni Center. Veteran volunteer Camp Care director Jana Poché shared touching stories of the children served each summer, making it very hard not to pull out the checkbook when board President Nick Speyrer, himself a cancer survivor, asked for donations.

New CEO Jill Roshto’s statistics, one in every three women and one in every two men will be diagnosed with cancer, 4,000 a year in the Greater Baton Rouge area alone, also helped motivate the several hundred attendees to action. The cherry on top was the $50,000 matching grant from the Huey & Angelia Wilson Foundation.

A moment of recognition was given to the late Mary Delle Gerald, who served as development director for over 20 years. It was her that started Capital Chefs’ Showcase, the fundraiser for Cancer Services for the past 32 years, and that headed up the capital campaign for Cancer Services’ headquarters. Guests included son Todd Gerald and wife Ann and son Don Gerald, wife Meg and daughter Rainey.

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