SIGNED, SEALED & DELIVERED

SIGNED, SEALED & DELIVERED

Performance by Grammy Award Winning Artist Seal Caps Off Andy Roddick Foundation Gala

By Rob Giardinelli     Photography by Tyler Schmitt Photography

THE SETTING: The Moody Theatre at ACL Live in Austin was the recent setting for the 14th Annual Andy Roddick Foundation gala. In total, over 2,000 philanthropists, sociables, and music lovers were on hand for an evening that combined two of Austin’s favorite past-times: fundraising and music.

THE STYLE: The stylish crowd began the evening with a VIP reception and cocktail hour. The 400 attendees of the main gala then moved into the orchestra level of the Moody Theatre for the main program. As guests dined, they were treated to videos showing the positive impact the organization has had on many youths in the Austin community. Next was the live auction, which included a tennis match with Roddick at the Billie Jean King US Tennis Center during the 2020 US Open in New York that went for over $150,000 to not one, but two lucky winners.

The patrons of the gala were then joined by 1,600 music lovers perched on the mezzanine level of the Moody Theatre to listen to a concert performed by Grammy Award-winning artist Seal. The legendary performer dazzled the audience with a mix of new tunes and classic hits that had the crowd on their feet throughout…capping off a night for the ages.

THE PURPOSE: The event raised well over $1 million for the Andy Roddick Foundation. The mission of the Andy Roddick Foundation is to provide high- quality learning and enrichment activities for at-risk students during out of school hours so children can discover their passions in life.

 

DANCING DAZZLE

DANCING DAZZLE

13th Annual Center for Child Protection’s Dancing with the Stars Gala Sizzles

By Rob Giardinelli     Photography by Jeff Loftin, Christina Murphy, Haley Plotkin and Ben Porter

THE SETTING: Against the backdrop of a picture-perfect winter evening, over a thousand of the most notable sociables and philanthropists descended on Austin’s JW Mariott Hotel for the 13th annual Dancing with the Stars. Hosted by the Center for Child Protection, the event is one of the can’t-miss social events of the season. This year’s gathering was no exception, featuring an evening full of fun and show-stopping dance routines, and a special appearance by JR Martinez, a winner of the ABC’s televised version of Dancing with the Stars.

 

THE STYLE: Friends and supporters of the 11 celebrity dancers donned their finest black-tie ensembles, with women choosing an eclectic mix of chic ballgowns with metallics, solid colors, and especially sequins being the most popular. Not to be outshined, the men also brought their finest eveningwear, with many sporting velvet tuxedo jackets, that helped create a festive environment.  

 

The evening began in the foyer of the ballroom for a breezy cocktail hour, where guests got to mingle and congratulate the celebrity dancers they were on hand to support. The action then moved to the main ballroom for the evening’s program. The event emcees, Glenn Ball and Holly Mills Gardner, effortlessly kept the audience engaged throughout the event with a mix of humor and witty banter. Following a moving video, highlighting the purpose of the Center for Child Protection, the live auction had bidders seize the opportunity to purchase an impressive array of items including luxury vacation packages to such exotic locales as Africa, Croatia and Thailand.

 

Then came the main event, the performances by the dancers themselves. One by one, each of the dancers strutted their stuff on the dance floor to iconic songs including Crazy in Love, Gonna Make U Sweat and I Will Survive that kept the audience on their feet throughout. After the dancing competition concluded, the audience vote was tallied with Brian Yacktman and his pro partner, Katrina Repka, were declared the winners. The evening was capped off with an after-party where partygoers danced into the wee hours of the morning to the tunes of DJ Johnny Bravo.

 

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Francie Little and Jenny Mason, raised over $1.1 million for the Center for Child Protection. A nationally accredited children’s advocacy center that offers services ,including forensic interviews, counseling, and medical exams to children who are suspected victims of physical or sexual abuse as well as those who have witnessed violent crime.

 

ALWAYS CELEBRATE LIFE

ALWAYS CELEBRATE LIFE

Celebration of Life Luncheon Features Breast Cancer Survivors, Fashions From Julian Gold

By Rob Giardinelli Photography courtesy of Seton Breast Care Center and the Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation

THE SETTING: The JW Marriott hotel in Austin was the recent setting of the Celebration of Life luncheon. One of the capital city’s most anticipated annual luncheons, this year’s gathering met the high expectations, with over 400 of Austin’s most notable sociables and philanthropists for a delightful afternoon of fashion, funand fundraising.

THE STYLE: The luncheon-chic crowd kicked off the festivities in style with champagne during a fun and lively cocktail reception, where the fashionable crowd had the opportunity to mingle with one another. The action then moved to the main ballroom for the program and fashion show. Emcee Lauren Petrowski effortlessly kept the audience entertained as they dined on a light lunch and heard words from key event leaders.

Next, came a series of fashion shows sponsored by Julian Gold and Webber Productions. The first show featured some of the over 120 breast cancer survivors and fighters on hand as they modeled their favorite looks down the runway. The second fashion show featured an array of the latest Julian Gold fashions that dazzled the fashionistas, capping off an afternoon of largesse and style.

THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Lara Burns Boyda with Fayruz Benyousef serving as honorary chair, raised funds for the Seton Breast Care Center and the Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation, which provides awareness, education, and treatment to women who have breast cancer.

 

MOTOWN’S MAGIC

MOTOWN’S MAGIC

The Kindness Campaign Partners With Grammy Museum To Host Motown’s 60th Anniversary

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Ben Porter

THE SETTING: A private residence in Austin was recently the setting for a special evening that honored one of the world’s most beloved music genres, the soul of Motown. In total, 230 of the city’s most notable philanthropists, sociables, and music lovers were on hand for the Art of Kindness, which celebrated Motown’s 60th anniversary in a special partnership between The Kindness Campaign and the Grammy Museum.

THE STYLE: The winter-chic crowd began the evening with cocktails where guests mingled, sipped cocktails, and brimmed with anticipation of the entertaining night ahead. The music lovers then headed to their seats for the program, conversation, and concert. The program included a Q&A with legendary Motown singer Claudette Robinson, of The Miracles, as well as a live auction that featured such luxe items as the Red Carpet Treatment package that included a VIP tour of the Grammy Museum and tickets for four to Conan, and a Pampering in Paradise private getaway for six in the Caribbean, which fetched the highest dollar amount of the evening. The night was capped off by a surprise concert by Grammy Award-winning musician, Estelle, who brought the crowd to its feet and had them dancing the night away into the wee hours of the morning.

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Amber Allen and Lawton Cummings, raised over $450,000 for The Kindness Campaign. The Kindness Campaign’s mission is to provide positive and accessible tools to promote emotional health for students based on the core message I Am Enough.

 

EXOTIC FLAIR

EXOTIC FLAIR

Melanie Vaughan’s German Club Debutante Party In San Antonio

 

By Jake Gaines    Photography by Greg Harrison

 

A German Club debutante party, Evening of Chinese Splendor, honored Melanie Vaughan’s travels to different regions of China that have inspired her over the last two years. She traveled there as part of her operatic vocal training with voice instructor, Dr. Chai Wai Lee of Trinity University. She, with other vocal students, performed at Chinese universities in different cities and provinces in China.

As Melanie had immersed herself in Chinese culture, she was drawn to having a party theme that was very near and dear to her heart. During her travels to China, she grew as a person, and as a singer, and looks forward to returning in the future. Melanie wore a floor-length red dress based upon an authentic Chinese design with a modern, elegant flair. The gown, designed by Nicolas Vilalba, was wrapped with embroidered silk gold dragons imported from Hong Kong and had a traditional Chinese neckline embellished with red and gold crystals.

 

Melanie and her family’s vision for the occasion were brought to life by Billinda Wilkinson and India Rhodes of Wilkinson Rhodes, who created a Chinese ambiance  for the guests. Upon arrival at the Witte Museum, guests were greeted by a magnificent 12-foot long, hand-carved dragon, looming over the entrance guarded by two massive handmade gold Foo Dogs. Red Chinese lanterns dripped from the beams of the entrance as guests approached a 12-foot-high ice carving of a Chinese pagoda flanked on either side by Chinese Warriors, inspired by the Terracotta Army guarding Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum. Surrounding the ice Pagoda were holes drilled to hold shots of
Singapore Sling cocktails for the guests’ enjoyment, while the Lemon Grass Empress martinis were passed upon entry to the venue.

Inside, the venue was transformed to convey the feeling of a drawing-room in a Chinese Palace. Tables were draped with silk tablecloths and surrounded by ornate red chairs. Flowered fans framing red lacquer bars with Melanie’s name painted in Chinese lettering were among the carved dragons and perched atop custom-designed food stations that had curved gold tile roofs inspired by the palaces. Red and white Chinese dragons were also embossed onto the dance floor to add to the distinctive décor.

The honoree’s travels also inspired the food for the evening. Steamed lobster dumplings were served on bamboo trays, and poke bowls were filled with many culinary delights to choose from  such as Asian short ribs over noodles in a jar of smoke, sweet and sour baby back ribs, and spicy meatballs, with red chopsticks provided.  Chocolate and Mochi Xiao Long Bao were served for dessert with milkshakes of ginger, green tea and mango passed for the guests’ pleasure, all of which were created by Cassandra Fine Catering.

CONSERVING FOR THE FUTURE

CONSERVING FOR THE FUTURE

Pease Park Conservancy Hosts Second Annual Gala, Past Present Pease

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Matt Lanke

THE SETTING: The Austin Central Library was the recent setting for an evening of fun and fundraising for one of Austin’s most beloved public spaces. The Pease Park Conservancy hosted its second annual event, Past, Present and Pease, which drew 350 of Austin’s most notable sociables, philanthropists and nature lovers for an evening of fun…and fundraising.

THE STYLE: The winter-chic crowd brought indoors the spirit of being outside for the event, with many donning their favorite cold-weather attire including sweaters, sport coats, overcoats, and jackets that were as warm and inviting as the attendees themselves. The evening began with a fun and lively cocktail hour, where the conversation flowed as freely, as the spirits as old friends reacquainted and new friends were made. The patrons then turned their attention to the main stage for the evening’s program which included words from Pease Park CEO Heath Riddles and Outdoor Voices CEO Ty Haney, among others, highlighting the impressive work of the Pease Park Conservancy. The organization is in the midst of revitalizing Pease Park, one of Austin’s most beloved public spaces, with a new vision for it to be brought to life.

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Morgan Gaddis and Jennifer Skloss, raised over $200,000 for the Pease Park Conservancy. The funds from this event will go directly towards the revitalization of Kingsbury Commons, which will transform how Austinites enjoy the public space in the heart of the city.