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Friday, July 29, 2016
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RI Archives: Parties

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Parties & Openings

July 23 - Kinderhook
Katchkie Farm-to-Table Dinner

July 23 - Sharon
Habitat for Humanity of NW CT

July 23 - Stockbridge
Naumkeag Garden Party

Naumkeag Cuts The Ribbon On Its Renovated Chinese Temple Garden

Amy Krzanik reports from Stockbridge. Long considered to possess one of the most astounding views in the Berkshires — or, some would argue, in the world — Naumkeag has undergone a revitalization of its gardens and grounds during the last three years that supporters have been lucky enough to witness stage by stage. This summer’s afternoon garden party fundraiser, held on Saturday, July 23, featured honorary co-chairs Jill Hornor and Yo-Yo Ma, who cut the ribbon and welcomed guests into the newly renovated Chinese Temple Garden. Managed by the Trustees of Reservations, the Gilded Age cottage once owned by the Choate family features the most well known of the 700 gardens designed by landscape architect Fletcher Steele during his lifetime. To celebrate the Chinese Garden’s 60th birthday (and the Trustees’ 125th), more than 300 guests enjoyed Asian-inspired hors d’oeuvres served by Mezze Catering & Events, a Thai basil lemonade signature cocktail, live music by the Limbshakers Jazz Band, and traditional Chinese performances and calligraphy. Naumkeag is open for house and garden tours, workshops, yoga, live music and more through late fall, so you can experience the landscape transformations for yourself. [Above, guests exit the Chinese Temple Garden through the Moon Door.]

Gala co-chair Hilary Somers Deely with honorary co-chairs Yo-Yo Ma and Jill Hornor; Trustees stewardship manager Jake Chase and Rebecca Neher.

Severn Goodwin and Debbie Schehr; board member Nathan Hayward with Bonita Wilson and Mark Wilson of The Trustees.

The dragon winds its way from the main tent to the Evergreen Garden and into the Chinese Temple Garden.

Cindy Brockway of the Trustees with John Gibson and Andrea Selley of the National Trust; Matthew King and Deirdre Kelly.

Pat and Philip Kennedy-Grant of Kennedy-Grant Architecture; Guests enjoy the gardens prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Dr. Claudia Cooke, Christina Strong and Benjamin Strong; Lauren LeBlanc and board member Paul LeBlanc.

Trustees president and CEO Barbara Erickson and board chair David Croll hold the ribbon as Yo-Yo Ma does the honors.

Robert and Kathleen Shure of Skylight Studios, whose work can be seen throughout the Chinese Garden as well as in the reproduction pillars in the Afternoon Garden; Santhea Ogden with Celia Kittredge, gala co-chair and Choate family descendant.

Dana and Joe Robbat, board members of Friends of Modern Architecture in Lincoln, Mass.; Jonathan Stone and Tom Flanigan, who consider Naumkeag to be one of their favorite places in the world, see it as a good investment, and have been supporting it for 30 years.

Traditional Chinese dances were performed every half hour for the guests.

Two Asian-inspired dishes that were on the party menu.

Goldfish used as centerpieces.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/26/16 at 08:18 AM • Permalink

Habitat For Humanity Of Northwest Connecticut Turns 25

Jamie Larson reports from Sharon. Atop the rolling hills of Sharon, Conn. on Saturday, July 23, LionRock Farm played host to a party for a great cause: Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Connecticut turned 25 years old. For a quarter century, the chapter has been supporting the community by building 13 homes (and counting) for families in need. The event was an elegant way to honor the organization’s history of good work and some special members who have gone above and beyond, and to raise more money for their ongoing $100,000 capital campaign. We know what a wonderful place to live our area is, and Habitat makes it possible for families to live here, in the homes they deserve. And, it must be said, this group throws a heck of a party. Above, the evening’s honorees. Affiliate founding member John Pogue received the Founder Recognition, Judi Moore  received the Volunteer Recognition for 25 years of hard work (back to the very first tag sale), and Chris Hewat accepted the Donor Recognition on behalf of Don and Diane Hewat, who have been exceedingly generous.

Lucinda Ross, ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross, who provided the evening’s opening remarks, and Maureen Tesoro; Habitat of NW Connecticut President Tracy Atwood, board member Wilhelmina Eaken, Webb Eaken and Lincoln Center producer Kristy Geslain.

Heather Kahler and board member Michael Kahler welcomed party-goers at the door with infectious smiles; Joanne and Kenny Dahill, Shelley and John Fecteau.

Scott Whalen, Habitat Executive Director Dawn Whalen, Megan and Jeremy Sokolnicki, and Seth Mittag and India Mittag, the last four representing the Kent School. Ms. Mittag was the founding member of the Kent School’s Habitat chapter.

Volunteer Ceely Ackerman, Bert Schmitz, and Mary and Alex Taylor; Bill Fordyce, Terry Holm of Geer Senior Living and Chris Holm.

The host’s beautiful habitat; board member Michael Halloran, Mark Burke and Liane Burke, and Susan Halloran.

Steve Graziano, board member Mike Shopp, Heather Shopp and Ben Shopp, Julia Graziano, Mike Shopp, Jr., Madeline Tomich and Colleen O’Reilly and Liam O’Reilly.

Board member Bill Conclan with board secretary Judy Becker; longtime volunteers Peggy Magyar, Sara Becker and Jane Pinckney.

Always supporters and often volunteers, Nancy Moskowitz and Lary Moskowitz, and True Anderson and Bob Anderson.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 07/24/16 at 09:34 PM • Permalink

At Katchkie Farm, All Eat Well To Support The Sylvia Center

Lisa Green reports from Kinderhook. The party in the fields of Katchkie Farm on Saturday, July 23 began with guests encountering The Sylvia Center’s mission of inspiring children to eat well. On the path down to the gardens, students from the Perfect 10 After School organization in Hudson — participants of the center’s programs — handed out pieces of lemon balm, encouraging guests to taste and smell the herb, just as they do when they’re learning at the farm. The ninth annual Farm-to-Table Dinner, which benefits The Sylvia Center, raises funds to help introduce thousands of young people to the farm as well as expand the Seed to Plate program, which brings healthy cooking courses to schools, youth groups and after-school programs throughout Columbia County. Cocktails in the Field House, passed hors d’oeuvres and tours of the Learning Garden kept guests happily occupied until the main event, dinner at long tables under the tent. All of the food was provided by Great Performances, whose owner, Liz Neumark, established Katchkie Farm (where much of the dinner’s ingredients came from) as well as The Sylvia Center. Volunteers from Great Performances and Sylvia Center students prepared and served the entire menu. [Above, Sam Wachsberger with his mom, the woman who started it all, Liz Neumark.]

Despina Leandrou and Michael Laudati of Stockport and New York City; Era Hanspal from the Albany area and Erin Reese, from the city.

The pond beside the farm provides a peaceful respite from the crowd.

Carol Schneider and Don Schneider with their daughter, Suzannah Schneider, the sustainability connector at Great Performances; Nardyne Cattani and Richard Cattani with Anna Hammond, The Sylvia Center’s executive director.

Charles Biblowit, Myra Bilblowit, who is the president of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, with their daughter Rachel Snyder, son-in-law Matt Snyder, and grandchildren Grace and William.

Julie Cerny, farm education director and garden manager, with Katherine Mok, marketing and public relations manager for Great Performances; The drink station set up and ready for customers.

Teresa Meza, Pamela Badila and Paula Forman, all from Perfect 10.

Julie Cerny explains how she introduces students to food on the farm that may be new to them.“Don’t yuck my yum” helps them to respect everyone’s unique tastebuds; Perfect 10 students perform a song they wrote about The Sylvia Center.

Food writer Anna Kovel and architect Greg Merryweather, new Kinderhook residents, with Debbie Gardner, a member of the board of directors.

Heather Kowalski and Curtis Gobrecht of Lover’s Leap Farm donated a whole heritage pig to the silent auction; After a few clouds and sprinkles, the sun returns to deliver a golden glow at dinnertime.

Mark Blumkin and Amy Blumkin of New Jersey and Great Barrington; Samara Antolini and Michael Antolini, visiting from NYC.

After dinner, guests make pledges to The Sylvia Center.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/24/16 at 11:43 AM • Permalink

The 2016 SummerScape Gala: The Spirit Of Montgomery Place

Amy Krzanik reports from Red Hook. The evening of Saturday, July 16 was, by turns, exhilarating, hilarious, touching, peaceful and joyous. The 2016 SummerScape Gala, a benefit for Bard College’s Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, took advantage of the newest addition to the school’s campus, and held the event on the grounds of Montgomery Place. Amid breathtaking Hudson River views, notable names from the page, the stage, the screen, the canvas and the runway mingled over “Mott & Mulberry” and “Orchard Fix” cocktails created by New York City mixologist Leo Robitschek. Bard alum Blythe Danner and fellow actors Parker Posey, Mary Stuart Masterson and Mx. Justin Vivian Bond performed a whimsical skit to honor the past matriarchs of the mansion, its gardens and its orchards. A true highlight of the evening followed, as ballet star Sergei Polunin, making a rare stateside appearance, gave a world premiere live performance of his 2015 internet video hit. Directed by David La Chapelle and set to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church,” the video has been viewed more than 15 million times on YouTube and is credited with renewing Polonin’s passion for dance. After giving a round of thunderous applause, guests made their way to a tent strung with lanterns, to enjoy dinner designed by chef Rocco DiSpirito, a James Beard Award winner and best-selling author. The gala is the Fisher Center’s largest annual fundraising event, and supports the College’s commitment to the performing arts, which it sees as a cultural and educational necessity. 

Bard College president Leon Botstein with Matthew Davidson, Joan K. Davidson and Amy Davidson; Fisher Center advisory board member Felicitas Thorne and chef Rocco DiSpirito.

Nathan Milikowsky, Rebecca Gold and writer/actress Joan Juliet Buck; Paulo and board member Denise Simon with Helena and Christopher Gibbs.

Designer Bibhu Mohapatra, Lopa Mohanty, artist Ramon Lascano, artist Bobby Beard, gala co-chair Carolyn Marks Blackwood, Benjamin Krevolin, Heather Croner and gala co-chair Greg Quinn.

Conductor/composer Johan de Meij and journalist Dyan Machan; playwright Moises Kaufman, actress/director Mary Stuart Masterson and writer/producer Jeffrey LaHoste.

Betsy Ely, Steve Dawson, Leonard Steinberg and Thom Coughlin; Catherine Michaelson with Bob and Joan Costa.

Sergei Polunin sits on stage at the beginning of his performance.

Gideon Lester, Jack Ferver and Alicia Davis; Ginny and Sandy Friedman.

Caroline Kronqvist, Foster Reed and Michele Platt; a string trio entertains the crowd during cocktail hour.

Parker Posey, Mx. Justin Vivian Bond and Blythe Danner perform a skit, with choreographer Jack Ferver looking on.

The breathtaking views from the back and front of the mansion.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/17/16 at 09:42 PM • Permalink

Kids4Harmony Benefit Strikes A Chord For 400-Plus Supporters

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. Kids 4 Harmony, the free after-school music program established by Berkshire Children and Families, has become one of the city’s most beloved causes to champion. In fact, so many supporters wanted to attend the benefit reception and concert on Monday, July 11 at the Country Club of Pittsfield, that organizers had to cut off reservations. Now in its fifth year, the Kids 4 Harmony program unites families and communities in a quest for musical excellence and social and economic success. It’s obviously working: from the beginning string players to the accomplished students who were the first to join the program, the young musicians exhibited poise, confidence and musicality. After they performed, renowned pianist Emanuel Ax joined them in a movement of a piano quintet, then Ax performed a solo piece as a finale. The “Concert 4 Harmony” was dedicated in memory of violinist/conductor Joseph Silverstein, who was a friend, mentor and supporter of the program. [Above, Artistic Director Alicia Stevenson poses with some of the “Kids.”]

Betsy Selkowitz, who is on the Kids 4 Harmony advisory committee, and Marilyn Kirby; Berkshire Children and Families President and CEO Carolyn Mower Burns and harpist Elizabeth Morse.

Lesley Oransky and Tracy Wilson, director of the Berkshire Music School and a member of the advisory committee.

Corrigan Wright and Brenda Hart, mother and grandmother of one of the musical Kids; Erik Holmgren and Rodrigo Guerrero, representing the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Advisory committee member Dottie Weber, Stephen Weber, Eli Newberger, co-chair of the advisory committee, and Carolyn Newberger, a member of the board of directors; Tatiana Cruz and Raul Castillo, “family members” who have children in Kids 4 Harmony.

Pianist Emanuel Ax with the Pittsfield Kids 4 Harmony group and teaching artists at rehearsal. Photo: Sean Eligers.

Conductor and cellist Ron Feldman with Adrienne Silverstein; clarinetist Paul Green, Hilary Respass, executive director of The Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and David Krauss, principal trumpet of the MET Orchestra.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/17/16 at 05:30 PM • Permalink

The Stars Come Out For WAM Theatre

Rachel Louchen reports from Richmond. The forecast may have predicted severe thunderstorms but from the enthusiastic turnout, it was clear that WAM Theatre’s benefit cocktail party would have gotten a draw regardless of the weather. Under bright blue skies, Stars in the Orchard returned for a second year on Thursday, July 14, again at Hilltop Orchards. The event featured a raffle, silent auction, and live auction. A major fundraiser for the philanthropic theater company, it was also an opportunity for founder and artistic director Kristin van Ginhoven [left, with Hilltop Orchards owner John Vittori] to announce that Berkshire Immigrant Center and Suzi Banks Baum (for her Armenian female empowerment project) will be the 2016 beneficiaries of WAM’s production of “The Bakelite Masterpiece” in the fall. In true WAM fashion, the evening included performances by Girls Inc. and festive music provided by the Expandable Brass Band. And apple cider doughnuts, of course.

Alyssa Wright, a WAM development comittee member, with William Wright; Siena Gamberoni and Iris Courchaine performed with the Girls Inc. ensemble.

Philanthropy and Outreach Coordinator Gwendolyn Tunnicliffe and board member Vicky May with Greylock Federal Credit Union sponsors Jaime Moncecchi and Kent Hudson; WAM volunteers Shiffra Perlmutter and Karen Richards.

Peter Jeffrey and Carla Weiss; Richard and Abby Tovell of T Square Design Studio.

Jessica Provenz , who helped coordinate last year’s event, with strategic planning committee member Bruce Garlow and his brother, Tamarack Garlow.

Yuki Cohen and Lauren Ferin; Brooke Mead, Brian Harrison and Joni Thomas.

Longtime WAM supporter Susie Roeder and Hope Fitzgerald; Tereza Hubkova, Chris Buono and Alexandra Heddinger.

Lawyer Ethan Klepetar, Jayme Kurland, Julia Dixon and Todd Trebour; WAM’s artistic associate Molly Clancy and Rebecka McDougall, who volunteered at the event.

Bill and Sue Lyon with Freda Grim, associate producer.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 07/15/16 at 09:35 AM • Permalink

The Spirit Of ‘66 Enchants Olana On Its 50th Birthday

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. Cloudy skies and a little drizzle of a rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the 300 or so attendees of Olana State Historic Site’s 50th birthday gala on Saturday, July 9. When not under tents, guests popped umbrellas to protect their duds, many of them harkening back to the fashions of the year Olana was saved from destruction. Adorable 1960s-inspired nibbles from Gaskins, Panzer, Wm. Farmer & Sons, Café Le Perche, The Corner at Hotel Tivoli and other Hudson Valley eateries were a big hit, along with freshly shucked oysters from Other Brother Darryl’s and libations courtesy of Fairview Wine & Spirits. DJ Javier Peral hand-picked (literally, all music was “of the times” from LPs played on turntables) the best tunes from the decade to keep the crowd swinging. Proceeds from the summer soiree support the site and its wide-ranging, year-round programming for students, visitors, artists and scholars. [Above, Trixie Starr, Michael Susi, Olana president Sean Sawyer and trustee Janet Schnitzer.]

Trustee Kay Toll with David Diamond, trustee Karen Zukowski and Maynard Toll, a trustee of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site; Janett Pabon and Chef Devon Gilroy of The Corner at Hotel Tivoli.

Architect Thomas Krizmanic, David Melgar and Olana’s landscape curator Mark Prezorski; Rickey Shaum with Catherine Lark and Ricky Lark, who are related to Sally Church, the last family member to inhabit the estate at Olana.

Annie Digiovanna and Taylor Schultz; Jack Pickering, Joan K. Davidson, Elaine Koss and artist Gene Debartolo.

Soon-to-be newlyweds Keven Brunk and Jessyka Neitzel.

Board treasurer Rick McCarthy with Eileen and Jay Wallace, Jean Hamilton and Lisa Fox Martin, the board chair of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site; Matt McGhee and Ronald Kopnicki.

DeWayne Powell, Tim Legg and Doug Wingo; Rebecca Wagner, Steven Levine and Emily McLaughlin.

Olana’s interim director of collections and research, Valerie Balint, with its education coordinator Elizabeth Schanz and volunteer Barbara Stevens; DJ Javier Peral spins tunes (on real vinyl!) for the crowd.

Joseph Garry and Olana National Advisory Committee member Barry Harwood; Trixie Starr and Sean Sawyer strike a pose in front of the gorgeous vista.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 07/11/16 at 10:29 AM • Permalink

Opening Night A Gala Event At Shakespeare & Company

Lisa Green reports from Lenox. “We don’t normally have a gala on opening night,” admitted Tina Packer, Shakespeare & Company’s founding artistic director on Sunday, July 10.  But The Merchant of Venice, with its controversial mix of bigotry and humor, gave the gala attendees plenty to discuss at the cocktail hour, intermission and the dinner that followed. This is the company’s 39th performance season (and the Bard’s 400th anniversary), and The Merchant of Venice is the first production presented in-the-round at the Tina Packer Playhouse. (“Very Elizabethan,” said Packer, who directed it). Following the performance, guests raised their glasses — filled with Portia’s Potion, the drink of the night — and toasted to the cast and team. Proceeds raised from the evening help fund Shakespeare & Company’s internationally recognized Fall Festival program, in which high school students mount productions of Shakespeare’s plays. Above, artistic directors Ariel Bock and Jonathan Croy look on as Tina Packer thanks the donors for their support. 

Bella Merlin, who plays Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice, and Londoner Miles Anderson; Eda Sorokoff and Stephen Sorokoff of Broadway World.

Rhea Werner and Ken Werner, chair of the board of trustees; Kevin Coleman, S&Co.‘s director of education; Marjorie Shapiro and Barry Shapiro, vice chair of the board.

Govane Lohbauer, costume director; Mary Abbruzzese, Bob Lohbauer, weapons master; and Dan Abbruzzese; Kate Millonzi and Ariel Bock.

Katherine Barton, Hugo Malpeyre, a director in France; Elizabeth Aspenlieder, who served as associate director for this production; and Kris Stone, the set designer.

Fiber and mixed-media artist Wendy Rabinowitz and The Berkshire Eagle’s Jeffrey Borak, who was there to review the production; Kenneth Rainey, costume design assistant, with Noa Egozi, assistant director.

Betsy Lee Workman, who owns La Pace, now in Lenox; drama critic and playwright Terry Teachout and Hilary Teachout; and Arthur Oliver, who is a costume designer; New Yorkers Peter Smith and Gillian Smith.

Alice Anne Schwab, executive director of the Susquehanna Art Museum, Bob Garrett, Mim Warden, Asia Berger and Ted Berger.

Freelance journalist Ryan Leeds, Tina Packer and Pete Sanders; Guests enjoyed Portia’s Potion (named for the character in The Merchant of Venice), an elixir of Berkshire Mountain Distillers Premium Vodka, triple sec and cranberry juice, rimmed with golden sugar dust.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/11/16 at 10:11 AM • Permalink