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Here’s to another 50…

Phoenix Chorale's 50th Anniversary Gala

Remembering the night of the Phoenix Chorale’s 50th Anniversary Gala, makes me think how wonderful it was to be a part of their history and creating my own memorable experience.

Jen and I arrived at the newly renovated Memorial Hall (inside Steele Indian School Park) and quickly set up our table where guests would check in. I peeked inside the hall and the atmosphere was warm and inviting. As guests started to arrive, I was very impressed by the turnout and luckily met some of them, which was exciting for me because I always look forward to meeting new and exciting people—especially friends of the Chorale.

The Ted Belledin Quartet

After the guests checked in, it was time for cocktail hour, which was a lovely spread of hors d’oeuvres. The hot topic of the reception was how delicious the brie was (I bet that was the cheese I kept going back for). Everyone enjoyed a fine selection of beers from New Belgium Brewing Co., wine donated by Quail Distributors and jazzy tunes performed by the Ted Belledin Quartet. It was a romantic setting, with guests mingling and catching up with old friends.

The Phoenix Chorale

A scrumptious dinner by Seasons Gourmet Catering was laid out for everyone and during dinner, Sterling Beeaff, Music Director for KBAQ (which is the station I am listening to as I type this up) introduced Charles Bruffy and a performance by the Chorale. The Chorale performed…

Cassandra Ewer, Laura Inman, Stephanie Stickford, Sean Carter Campbell and Josh Hillmann

I especially enjoyed hearing “Chili Con Carne,” by a quintet of Chorale singers Cassandra, Josh, Laura, Sean, and Stephanie. They dazzled the audience and it was a perfect transition for the awards portion of the night. Claudia Kennedy, the 50th Anniversary Gala Chair, oversaw the presentation of awards.

The Philanthropy Award was presented to Mr. & Mrs. John Ford and Mr. & Mrs. Paul Perez for their support of the Phoenix Chorale over the years.

Mr. & Mrs. John Ford

Mr. & Mrs. Paul Perez with Charles Bruffy

The Chorale Masters Award was presented to former Phoenix Chorale conductor, Dan Durand and to the founder of the Phoenix Boys Choir, Dr. Harvey K. Smith.

Former Phoenix Chorale conductor Dan Durand

Charles Bruffy, Dr. Harvey K. Smith and Claudia Kennedy

Additional awards included:

The Founders Award was presented to Millicent Wesley, the Phoenix Chorale's first conductor in 1958.

A special surprise Alumni Award was presented to Beth Livingston-Hakes, a former Phoenix Chorale singer who sang with the Chorale for over 30 years.

Phoenix City Councilman Claude Mattox

The awards concluded with Councilman Claude Mattox presenting the City of Phoenix’s award to the Phoenix Chorale as a “Friend of Phoenix.”

The evening’s raffle consisted of a variety of prizes including a sculpture by Barbara Andress. For the silent auction, and on display in the hall was one of two sculptures donated by the Herberger Foundation, by artist

"Earth and Space" by John Henry Waddell

John Henry Waddell, known for his bronze sculptures in motion. Now, I am a sucker for fine art, so I when I saw the sculpture displayed in the hall, it was nice to know there was a variety of the arts featured at the event—both visual and performing.

The evening came to a close with a special piano performance by the Chorale’s Josh Hillmann who performed Capriccio No. 1 from Brahms’ 7 Fantasies Op. 11 along with more cabaret-style singing by members of the Chorale.

All in all, the evening came together beautifully. And as everyone was enjoying the last moments of the event, it appeared to make a lasting impression on the guests, honorees, friends and newcomers to the Phoenix Chorale. Cheers to the next 50 years!

Claudia and Alan Kennedy with family and friends

–Erika Eve Gonzalez, Public Relations Intern

See more photos from the Phoenix Chorale’s 50th Anniversary Gala here.

*All photos by Ryan Delgado.