• Sally Gerak

Social Lights Jan. #1, 2020

Updated: Jan 18

Events reported in this issue:

  • A Showcase for Bonhoeffer, The Musical

  • Grace Centers of Hope Night of Hope

  • Holy Name School All That Glitters Auction

  • Women's Division Project HOPE Luncheon & Boutique

  • Women's Fund of Rochester Holiday Party

  • Yatooma's Foundation Extreme Christmas Makeover

A Showcase for Bonhoeffer, The Musical

Pam and Mike Bouchard and Pam Good and Jack Krasula hosted a cocktail concert for 60 at the latter’s Bloomfield Hills home to showcase Dr. Scott Wilkinson’s creation, Bonhoeffer, The Musical. (The guest list included several Bible Babes, Scott’s wife / Bonhoeffer producer Jill Wilkinson’s bible study group.) Following conversation and cocktail buffet dining, a scene change transformed Jack’s art-filled, great room into a theater with 60 folding chairs replacing the stand-up cocktail tables. Co-host Pam Bouchard introduced the show by explaining that nine years ago she was intrigued by a biography about Nazi-era theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The same book inspired her friend Jill to suggest to her song writing ophthalmologist husband Scott that he put Bonhoeffer’s story to music. He did. And the journey since then has landed Bonhoeffer, The Musical on Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Ken Davenport’s “Pick List for 2018. Guests were then lured into one man’s epic journey to overcome the forces of evil in the name of good as five singers performed eight of the show’s musical numbers with Scott narrating the setting for each. A standing ovation concluded the performance. There were no gauche pitches to invest in getting the show to Broadway, but getting out that message, the raison d'être of the event, was conveyed by the copy of Ken Davenport’s book - Broadway Investing 101: How to Make Theater and Yes, Even Money - in each guest’s souvenir bag. (Get a free copy at www.theproducersperspective.com/.) In a video message we saw at a Bonhoeffer showcase last spring, Davenport said he thinks Bonhoeffer, The Musical could do for the German theologian what Hamilton: An American Musical did for Alexander Hamilton. For a synopsis and some of the music go to www.bonhoefferthemusical.com/.

1. Co-hosts Mike Bouchard and Jack Krasula schelping the scene change
2 Co-host Pam Good, Laurie & Tom Cunnington
3. Jill & Scott Wilkinson, Linda Orlans & Gerry Padilla
4. Kimberly Whipple, Rosemary Ricelli Scheidt
5. Tim & Ann Duerr, Rick & Kay Scheidt
6. Jill Wilkinson, Sarah McClure
7. Syd & Elizabeth Ross
8. Julie Weyand, Don & Cheri Bailey
9. Joe & Tricia Emmi, Barry & Lynn Connelly
10. Gale Colwell, Dr. Scott Wilkinson, Pierre Boutrous
11. Amy & Edward Shehab
12. Maggie Hunter, Mary Lou Cochran
13. Singers Greg Brown, Karen Newman
14. Singers Tally Sessions, Nancy Ingles and Tom Butwin

Grace Centers of Hope Night of Hope

Nearly 300 supporters ($145-ticket) of the Hands of Hope Child Care Center at Pontiac’s Grace Centers of Hope convened at the Townsend Hotel for the annual Night of Hope soiree chaired by Emilie Mardigian Fitch and Nanette Drouillard-Murphy. During the cocktail hour they socialized, sipped and bid approximately $34,000 for the 100 silent auction packages. They also spent $5,000 for chances on a Colorado trip. The dinner program featured a live auction conducted by Gary Mach that raised $22,000 and Fox 2’s Roop Raj, GCoH’s Olivia McIsaac and center director Traci Cunningham introducing moving videos of the children nurtured at the child care center. If you go to https://www.gracecentersofhope.org/content.cfm?id=3106 and watch A Childhood Not Lost, know that Amanda the narrator has known the blessings of sobriety for nine years, thanks to the women’s program at GCoH. Pledging, inspired by GCoH’s Pastor Kent Clark’s announcement that two guests had just anonymously donated $60,000 to “…make miracles happen,” raised $172,000. Thanks also to generous sponsors, the annual benefit raised more than $300,000 for the Hands of Hope Child Care Center at the faith-based Pontiac facility which receives no government funding.

1. Event co-chairs Nanette Drouillard-Murphy and Emilie Mardigian Fitch

2. Grace Centers of Hope’s Pam & Pastor Kent Clark with Julie Aronica
3. Grace Centers of Hope’s Olivia McIsaac and Kim Wehner
4. Laura & Nathan Kunzman, Christopher & Katre Klow
5. The Brandon sisters: Katy Conroy, Amy Robson, Julie Rode
6. Kathleen & Bob Joseph, Mike & Nancy Bontunasi
7. Ron & Theresa Ritts
8. Ruth Young, Debbe Dubey
9. Grace Centers of Hope’s Misty Phillips, Dr. Leigh Elceser
10. Volunteer Melissa Koos with auction donation created by Hands of Hope children
11. Sponsors

Holy Name School All That Glitters Auction

Amy Greenwalt, Jennifer Andries and their committee of enthusiastic Holy Name School moms staged a lollapalooza fundraising party at the Double Tree Hilton (former Kingsley Inn) before the holidays. The VIP ticket holders arrived early for a champagne toast with Holy Name pastor Msgr. John Zenz before others (256 - total; $150, $250-VIP tickets) joined the scene. All received superior valet assistance from sponsor / Holy Name dad Steve Ferlich’s In House Valet, Inc. The “Glitter” theme was an excuse for many of the pretty young moms to sparkle. The ballroom lobby provided a handsome cocktail site and the silent auction of 105 offerings provided diversion. For this reporter, it was fun to chat with some of my children’s former classmates who are now Holy Name parents themselves. One of them, chef Chris Deighan, donated a dinner party for eight that sold for $3,400 in the live auction of 11 items conducted by Charles Wickins. One group of 12 couples decided the guys should sit together and the gals would do likewise. The arrangement was conducive to conversation but, during the live auction, one couple discovered, in the nick of time, that they were bidding against each other. Following the auction and the generous paddle raise pledging ($45,000-plus), Holy Name alum Pete vonBernthal and his Good Gravy band made music for dancing and as accompaniment for the Hummers and Holy Sweets night caps. Thanks also to generous sponsors, raffles and ticket sales, event proceeds happily exceeded the chairs’ goal (which the principal does not want reported publicly) for new desks, a science lab and academy learning spaces in the Catholic grade school which was established in 1928.

1. Msgr. John Zenz (center) with event chairs Jennifer Andreis (left) and Amy Greenwalt
2. Ted and PSO president Allison Balowski
3. Kara Bear, committee member Nicole Connaughton

4. Sponsors Laura & Steve Ferich
5. Hank Andreis, Joe Greenwalt
6. Chef Chris Deighan, Marielle & Joe Deighan
7. Conita & Bob Bihler, Nancy & Patrick Timlin
8. Michele & Mark St. Andrew
9. Tim Connaughton, Patty & Rick Rassel
10. Chris & Jennifer Ludwig, Izavela & Steve Miscavish
11. Jennifer & Cedric Ballarin
12. Ashley Lane, Laura Lilley, Katy Jallad, Dana Sherrod, Leslie Ahmad, Katherine Fumei

13. Tammy Freitag, Lisa Anton, Erin Etue, Nancy Fullerton, Maureen Sanger
14. HNS principal DeAnn Brezinski, assistant principal Liz Kozadinos
15. Chris & Sandy Muklewicz
16. Todd Grabel, Kyle Krywko
17. Committee members Jennifer Dutcheshen and Danielle Kovachevich dishing on the dance floor
18. Good Gravy’s Pete vonBernthal, a Holy Name alum
19. Good Gravy's Mike Tomlanovich & Pete vonBernthal
20. Auctioneer Charles Wickins and associates Jordyn Chouinard, Felicia Haggerty and Tara Smolenski
21. Event sponsors

Women’s Division Project HOPE Luncheon & Boutique

This annual event attracted 100 supporters of Project HOPE’s global health initiatives ($150 to $75-tickets) to Orchard Lake Country Club early last month. (Included in the crowd were past presidents Maggie Allesee, Jeanne Boucher, Gwen Bowlby, Irene Davis, Bettina Gregg, Sue Nine, Linda Juracek-Lipa, Sherry Saginaw and Susan Willis Reickert.) Before lunching, people gift shopped among the 15 specialty boutiques, bought raffle tickets, bid in the silent auction and chatted about plans for the upcoming holidays. Pianist Curtis Posuniak and vocalist Lily Queen enhanced the dining scene with popular carol selections. Before drawing the auction and raffle winners, board member Bettina Gregg thanked club sponsor Patty Ghesquiere, recognized the past presidents in attendance and paid tribute to honorary chair / nonagenarian Irene Davis for her long-standing devotion to Project Hope’s mission. Proceeds from the event ($9,200) will support such efforts as the Project HOPE medical team’s assistance to hurricane Dorian survivors in the Bahamas.

1. Board members / benefactors Irene Davis, Contessa Bannon (also event co-chair) and Diane Shoushanian
2. Board members / event co-chair Linda Juracek-Lipa (center), vendor co-chairs Sherry Saginaw (left) and Tina Prevas
3. Board member / benefactor Susan Willis-Reickert, Jeanne Boucher, benefactors Shammy Loosvelt and Christa Hintz
4. Board members Cheryl Hall Lindsay and Rosemary Bannon, benefactor Annette Kolon
5. Silent auction bidders: benefactor Virginia Vartanian, Annette Harrison, Theresa Migdal, Beverly Zuckerman

6. Benefactors Maggie Allesee and board member / event co-chair Linda Juracek-Lipa

7. Benefactor Julie Oldani, Chris Sawicki

8. Club sponsor / benefactor Patty Ghesquire, Bonnie Foley

9. Lidija Grahovac, Patti Koval, Susannne Forbes Dicker

10. Renee Godin, Patti Prowse

11. Former high school classmates - benefactor Marjorie Saulson and Jean Azar

12. Rebecca Schilling, Denise Winter, Cara Eichenlaub, Kathy Petoskey

13. Honorary chair Irene Davis, 94-years young

14. Terri Cooper, vendor Franklin Village Boutique’s Shannon Lazovski
15. Pianist Curtis Posuniak, soprano Lily Queen

16. Nordstrom Dior Beauty artists Malissa Guiles and Debbie Darakdjian

Women’s Fund of Rochester Holiday Party

Seventy-five guests attended the Women’s Fund’s sold out social at Rochester’s Hemmingway Room. They chatted, sipped and “shopped” the array of raffle baskets filled with donations from local merchants, raising more than $5,000. They also announced their 2019 grants and the Carol Kirken Affirmation recipient. These are: the Assistance League of SE Michigan ($2,500); Career Dress of Pontiac ($3,000); Neighborhood House ($5,000); Grace Centers of Hope ($10,000); Families Against Narcotics ($1,000); Dutton Farm ($5,000); Older Persons’ Commission ($1,000); Dr. Gary Burnstein Community Health Clinic ($5,000). Since its founding 18-years ago, the Women's Fund has donated more than $300,000 to organizations helping women. The fund is permanently endowed, owned and administered by the Community Foundation of Greater Rochester. Through grant-making, the Fund provides ongoing and future support for programs that aid women while preserving and managing its donations in perpetuity by spending only the fund's income and annual earnings. For more information visit the website at www.womensfundrochester.org or call (248) 812-0763 or email womensfundrochester@gmail.com.

Photos: by Part of Life photography.

1. Linda Bermingham, Pam Bilodeau
2. Johanna Allen, Susan Tisdel, Mary Anne Stevenson
3. Anne Wilden

Yatooma's Foundation Extreme Christmas Makeover

Before Christmas, 60 Yatooma’s Foundation for the Kids volunteers played Sana’s Helpers as they traveled in 20 vehicles through the streets of Detroit to three homes of children who are grieving the lost of a parent. Led by Santa (AKA foundation founder Norman Yatooma) they delivered to each a massive refrigerator-sized box filled with gifts - big screen TVs, computers, bikes, games and warm winter gear - as well as a check to help cover rent, utilities and groceries during the cold winter months. In all, 21 kids and their caregivers were on Santa’s list. The Yatooma Foundation also provides services such as grief counseling, support groups, tutoring and mentoring throughout the year. It was founded on Father’s Day, 2003, in memory of Yatooma’s father who was murdered 10 years previous. For more information go to www.forthekidsfoundation.org.

1. Santa, AKA Norman Yatooma, makes an Extreme Christmas Makeover stop
2. One of the foundation kids

Please send ideas for Social Lights to SamGerak@aol.com or to 28 Barbour

Lane, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304.


by Sally G.

Sally G.

©2019-2020 Sally Gerak