Scene & Heard: June 2012
The bonus show of heart at the annual southwest Florida Heart Ball at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in April came when it was award time. Supporters helped raise more than $430,000 for the American Heart Association, the heads of four local colleges each dropped full scholarships into the Heart Bowl (that collected more than $100,000), and then it was time to reveal the winner of the Dr. Pascotto Golden Heart Award (named for longtime surgeon Dr. Robert Pascotto). The recipient? None other than his dear wife, Joan. Momma Joan, as she’s called by fellow nurses, was honored for her dedication to helping heart patients and for her 26 charity missions overseas. The mother of both a surgeon and a Lee County judge, Joan told the crowd, “I’m not used to this. It’s always my husband and children receiving the awards.” There was hardly a dry eye in the crowd of nearly 550 guests. Well deserved, Momma Joan.
Talk about the might of white. what a sight it was at Gulfshore Life’s annual White Party in the Garden at the Naples Botanical Garden in April—scores of beautiful people in their dress whites, lounging on white couches under an elegant white tent decorated with enormous white lanterns. And all this set against the lush green backdrop of the gardens. How cool it was to see a white limo from Fort Myers pull up and disgorge such lovelies in white as Nicole Laquis, Anne Wittenborn and Heather Fitzenhagen. The night included cocktails, delicious food served at sunset and a hot band. White on!
One grandma in particular was having wicked good fun at the April performances of the musical Wicked at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. That’s because Vickie Souza of Fort Myers was watching her grandson Adam Souza do his job as the show’s musical conductor. Adam, 30, is one of the youngest conductors ever to preside over a Broadway show. That was certainly music to the ears of his proud grandmother.
Just A Number
When Norman Love creates a spaghetti-and-meatball cake for you, you know you have arrived in Southwest Florida society. This treat was just one of the delights as much-loved philanthropist Michele Eddy celebrated a “big” birthday in April with a casual but elegant soiree at her riverfront home in Fort Myers. The night’s theme, “It’s just a number,” played out in the décor (lots of numbers everywhere) and games (like bingo). Guests could win prizes by answering questions as part of a quiz about Michele. The menu was filled with all of Michele’s favorite things, including meatballs and chardonnay. Guests included Pam Beckman, Carolyn and Bill Rogers, Dwayne Bergmann and Luis Insignares. The Downtown Diva, dressed at the “Queen Mum,” delivered a royal birthday greeting. And what could you say about the glory of being entertained by an opera singer at sunset while the moon rose over the river? This party was some number.
Dreams Come True
Such emotion. they called it the dream gala, and the long-awaited official ribbon-cutting and signature opening for the Golisano Children’s Museum in Naples in March had the impact of a very special something finally coming to life. Tears of joy streamed down the faces of Allyson Loos, who created the idea for the museum after her daughter died, and Simone Lutgert, who joined up for the fundraising eight long years ago. The night was magical, thanks to Dream diva Shelia Davis and her committee. A crowd of 500 sipped cocktails and strolled among many displays inside the museum before dining underneath the biggest tent I have ever seen. Shelia, known for her ballroom dancing, put on quite a show for the crowd—complete with three costume changes—as she whirled in the arms of her professional dancing partner. She even organized a flash mob, which then danced for the crowd. There was a sense of great accomplishment in the air, and it wasn’t the least bit diminished by the additional $400,000 raised at the live auction. Say this was a dream with a very, very happy ending … and an exciting new beginning.
May the sound of music bring on the sound of the cash register. More than 175 guests were treated to an unforgettable performance at an exclusive fundraiser in April for and at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. Hosted by Cliff and Georganne Williams, Sheri and Mark Loren, and Daun and Peter Dessak, the event brought together the musical talents of local artist Wendy Webb (who is married to best-selling Sanibel author Randy Wayne White), Zorki Nastasic and Jeff Sipe. The trio has toured the world playing with many famous musicians. Cliff Williams, longtime bass player for the legendary rock band, AC/DC is known for his generosity to the community and his ability to attract world-class musicians to Southwest Florida for intimate concerts like this. Inside tip: You can catch Cliff and his pals playing an occasional impromptu jam session at one of his favorite restaurants, Yabo, in Fort Myers.