by Paula M. Riley
Saturday’s rain showers did not stop Chestnut Hillers from enjoying a wonderful evening at the Chestnut Hill Community Association’ Black & White Gala 2016: “Jazz on the Avenue.”
Once inside the large white tent in the parking lot behind the Jacob F. Ruth Funeral Home, guests quickly forgot the damp weather and got right to the party. The bright, open space was decorated in classic black and white fashion, as were the guests. Speckled with just a handful of women wearing white dresses, the attire was black, sleek, and elegant.
Although the number of attendees was less than in past years, the 150 locals at the party enjoyed the festive atmosphere and each other. FOX 29 Philadelphia anchor and reporter Dawn Timmeney kicked off the event with a gracious introduction as the honorary emcee. Timmeney, a Chestnut Hill resident, has been involved in CHCA events for many years. She fondly recalled the first gala held on Germantown Avenue and reminded guests of the marvelous community programs the gala supports.
From Pastorius Park concerts to Teenagers Inc., CHCA events and programs foster relationships across the community. The association also advocates for development, land use planning, zoning, and streetscape issues. Funds from the gala go directly to the CHCA, now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Laura Lucas, president of CHCA, and Marilyn Paucker served as the event’s co-chairs. They were proud to welcome Audi of Willow Grove as the main sponsor of the gala, which brought along beautiful black and white Audis. Joining as classic sponsors were Chestnut Hill Hospital, George Woodward Company, Fineman, Krekstein and Harris, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, St. Clair CPA Solutions, and Bowman Properties. Jazz sponsors included Hirshorn Boothby, Penn Medicine, Merrill Lynch-Nottingham Group and Liberty Gin. The media partner was The Chestnut Hill Local and the venue sponsor was Chestnut Hill Parking Foundation and Jacob F. Ruth Funeral Home.
Joining Lucas and Paucker’s planning committee were Barbara Golden, Adelinen Mandel, Cecile Mihalich, Arianna Neromiliotis, Madeleine Nist, Chris Padova, Christina Reichert, Richard Snowden, and Jean Wedgwood.
“The committee was dynamite and after a hiatus for two years, we look forward to having it return in 2017 as an annual tradition,” said co-chairs Paucker and Lucas.
The committee secured amazing live auction items as well as Jeff Hammond as auctioneer. A local resident, Hammond was amazing – his wit and delivery made the live auction fun and entertaining. Featured in the auction were a two-week trip to Barcelona, weekends at the Maryland and Jersey shores, as well as private dinners and cocktail parties. The biggest bidding war was over tickets to the sold out Broadway hit “Hamilton,” winner of 11 Tony Awards. Along with tickets, the winners received backstage meet-and-greet and a dinner with the cast.
Randolph’s Jewelry donated a stunning 36-inch sterling silver pearl necklace with labridrite that was raffled. Community Partners put together the “Ultimate Chestnut Hill Membership” experience raffle item that included membership to all of Chestnut Hill’s museums and organizations.
As they have at other events, the Scott Romig Band performed marvelously. Lead singer Katie Toner Drake got the crowd moving and sounds of jazz and other genres filled the tent. Their brass section in particular was quite entertaining. Guests enjoyed the Liberty Gin signature drink and the fun photo booth as well. The soiree wrapped up before 11 p.m., and a core group of partiers danced until the end and headed to the Avenue to continue the celebration.