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Column: Atlanta Opera Ball to have Spanish theme
September 05, 2012 11:07 AM | 3300 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
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“A Night in Seville” is the setting for the Atlanta Opera’s annual benefit ball Sept. 15 at the St. Regis in Buckhead.

The gala scene will replicate the magical location of the opera’s season-opening production of Georges Bizet’s “Carmen.” The artistry of Tony Brewer will transform the St. Regis into a beautiful Spanish-style courtyard and evoke the ancient charm of Seville, Spain. Flamenco dancing, Spanish guitar playing and a brief operatic serenade will inspire guests to dance the night away to the music of The Platinum Band. The menu will introduce the newly appointed St Regis chef, Joe Trevino. Live and silent auctions will add to the fundraising effort.

The evening will honor Jane S. Willson of Albany, one of the opera’s most generous donors. Ball chair Heather Flint is serving with more than 30 host committee members.

Founded in 1979, the nonprofit Atlanta Opera is one of the most renowned regional opera companies in the U.S., producing main stage opera productions and exceptional arts education programs for all ages. It directly serves almost 100,000 people annually in metro Atlanta and throughout the Southeast. Since 2007 the opera has been a resident performing arts organization at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre near Vinings. The 2012-13 season begins with “Carmen” Nov. 10 and continues Nov. 13, 16, and 18. “La Traviata” is scheduled for March and “Italian Girl in Algiers” for April and May.

The professional company strives to attract the finest international, national and regional singers, conductors, stage directors and designers to expand the experience of its patrons with memorable and exciting performances reflecting the highest musical and theatrical standards, while supporting community arts and educational programs.

Tickets and information: (404) 881-1035 or visit

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Birds, Butterflies, Bees and Rare, Unusual Trees will take flight Sept. 15 as Trees Atlanta introduces a new program to power up their educational projects at the Kendeda Center near Atlanta’s Reynoldstown community.

The fundraising event will combine two projects — Environmental Artscapes and the Native Garden Project. Both efforts work with Atlanta schools, with emphasis along the developing Beltline trails, to help communities and young students create pollinator gardens to propagate native plants and trees.

Two renowned local horticultural experts, Erica Glasener and Walter Reeves, will arrive early to participate in a patron-hour preview reception as they highlight the main event with insightful comments and answer questions about the rare tree and plant items for sale.

Specimens of unusual and hard-to-find trees and plants will take center stage in a silent auction along with other interesting objects reflecting tree, bird, bee or butterfly themes. Cocktail fare with an open bar will add to the festive air of the garden-topic evening.

Northsiders helping coordinate the benefit are: Barbara and Julian Sparkes, Margaret and Charlie Shufeldt, Elly and Ed Dobbs along with Adele Pomeroy, Bill Litchfield, Bobbo Jetmundsen, Martha Eskew, Lila Rollins and Vivian Astor Jones.

All proceeds go toward Trees Atlanta’s programs under the Birds, Butterflies and Bees banner.

Founded in 1985 by Central Atlanta Progress, the Junior League of Atlanta Inc. and the Atlanta parks commissioner, volunteer-based nonprofit Trees Atlanta has been a prime force in addressing the metro area’s tree loss, creating increased greenspace and conserving the city’s forest canopy.

Tickets and information: (404) 681-4890 or visit

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At 86 years young, polo legend Jack Cashin is hosting an Age of Elegance brunch and benefit event Sept. 16 for the Beauty Becomes You Foundation at his bucolic Chukkar Farm and Polo Club in Alpharetta. A reception with honorary host Dr. Neil Shulman, the real “Doc Hollywood,” and big band music by the Roswell New Horizons Band will be followed by fabulous food and drink.

Twenty “retired” ponies donated by top polo players in the name of the foundation’s program will demonstrate their skills at a 2 p.m. polo match on the private Chukkar field announced by Cashin, one of the oldest polo players still active in the sport.

The troupe of senior ponies that once played on professional teams throughout America are NOT put out to pasture, but are using their lifelong skills to train new riders how to play the elegant sport of polo at Cashin’s facility, where they are cared for as leaders in polo player training programs.

The foundation was created just seven years ago by Alison O’Neil, a professional clinical skin care specialist living in Norcross. She was inspired by her parents to establish the foundation in metro Atlanta as a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization with the mission to preserve the dignity and self-respect of disadvantaged senior adults through the provision of personal aesthetic care solutions that maintain and improve appearance and health while lifting self-esteem and confidence.

Over the years the foundation’s team of volunteers and contributing beauty professionals have provided days of beauty to thousands of seniors in the metro area and across the country.

“We have grown our mission to help prevent the ‘Failure to Thrive Syndrome’ when elder citizens are withdrawn from society,” O’Neil said. “Our services and treatments are not just about external beauty and looking good that leads to external transformation for seniors, but more importantly, internal transformation. We are anxious to change the way society looks at seniors — to ensure elderly adults thrive!

Tickets and information: (678) 421-0500 or visit

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It’s time again to find bargains and help support the visual arts in Atlanta!

Interior designers, fashion gurus, collectors and bargain hunters will converge on the parking deck of the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead Sept. 27 through 29 for the Forward Arts Foundation’s annual flea market sale of new and slightly used merchandise to benefit the visual arts in Atlanta.

This year’s preview party Sept. 27 is titled “Flea-esta.” Members and guests will have first dibs on the treasures as a 25 percent markup adds fundraising dollars. Plus, Jerry Dilts is catering and a silent auction along with $10 raffle tickets for a $5,000 Saks Fifth Avenue shopping spree sponsored by the Moran Family Foundation will add zest to the bargain hunting excitement. Preview party tickets are $25.

The honorary chair for the 2012 flea market is Loraine Williams. Terri Alston and Anne Powers are overall co-chairs with Mary Katherine Greene and Marcia Robinson sharing co-chair duties for the preivew party.

There is still time, up to Sept. 20, for community supporters to donate items to the flea market’s collection house at 1745 DeFoor Place, Unit F. Call for collection times and appointments.

The nonprofit foundation was started in 1965 when 12 stalwart ladies put their monies and energies into supporting and building a meaningful Atlanta visual arts community. Over several generations, members have restored the carriage house on the Atlanta History Center grounds and created the Swan Coach House Gift Shop, Restaurant and Art Gallery to provide income to develop the arts in greater Atlanta. The annual Parisian-style public flea market, which started 1954, is one of its major fundraising efforts.

Tickets and information: (404) 261-9855 or visit

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