• Sally Gerak

Social Lights Sept. #2, 2019

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

In this issue:

  • Women of Tomorrow Girls On Track

  • CARE Night Preview Party

  • Wine & Dine in the D

  • DiChiera Society Reception

  • Ted Lindsay Foundation Celebrity Golf

  • Nelson / May MOCAD Interchange Art + Dinner

Women of Tomorrow Girls On Track

The second annual alfresco fundraiser for WoT’s scholarship and mentoring programs attracted 300 supporters ($200-ticket) to the M1 Concourse. The KBG Band played Motown music out near the track where 75 took thrill rides in a Dodge Viper or Hellcat. Those who wanted to chat were pleased that event chairs Melissa and Bill Kozyra and their crew - Julia Casadei, Shelley Deane, Maria Moceri - did not place the band stand inside the festival tent. The program emceed by Paula Tutman included remarks by WoT founder Jennifer Valoppi (who told Laurie Cunnington “You have been the heart and soul of Detroit WoT”) and Melissa, who had never before chaired an event. She said she learned that “…the power of asking is amazing.” With the strains of “This Girl is on Fire” in the background, the story of program graduate Abby Brown, who had been a foster care child and is now an RN, married with children and a WoT mentor, inspired live auction bidding and pledging conducted by Christopher Aslanian that raised $90,6000. Thanks also to generous sponsors (see photo gallery), a silent auction ($12,000), a raffle for David Yurman diamond earrings and necklace ($3,400), the second Girls on Track raised $283,455 to create pathways out of poverty for at-risk young women in 49 Metro Detroit schools. Classy memories of the event include the table centerpieces and the Cauley Ferrari gift bags containing, among other goodies, a split of Italian prosecco.


1. Chairs Melissa and Bill Kozyra

2. Sponsor / host committee member Laurie Cunnington, host committee member / sponsor PNC Bank’s Gina Coleman, Jack Christian

3. WoT Detroit Executive Director Jill Harris, WoT founder Jennifer Valoppi, her son Jordan and husband Christian De Berdouare, holding Bacci

4. Amy & sponsor Beaumont’s Dr. David Wood and Margaret Cooney Casey & Brian Casey

5. Sponsor Cauley Ferrari of Detroit’s Joe Cauley, Sieglinde Espenshade, Lisa Morelli and M1 founder Brad Oleshansky

6. Toni & Dale Johnson, Susan Blank


7. Leroy & Julia Richie

8. Dina & Patrick Cunnington, Renee Reed, Kyle Southern

9. Kris & Andy Appleby, Steve Norton

10. Event co-chair Melissa Kozyra, committee member Julia & Joe Casadei

11. Sponsor Suburban Collection Showplace’s Micah Turner, Susanne Dicker Forbes, Katana Abbott

12. Ashley Harris, Matt Parker


13. Tom Shugars, Mary Okray

14. Table décor with Jack Christian in background

15. Sponsors

16. Sponsors

17. Women of Tomorrow Program Partners

CARE Night Preview Party

Past CARE House board president Kappy and Dave Trott hosted the CARE Night Preview Party on the terrace of their Birmingham home. Sixty-five CARE Night patrons, sponsors and board members savored the hospitality and pleasant weather. The gala fundraiser Saturday, Oct, 5 at The Townsend will honor the true heroes of the child abuse agency - the survivors. For tickets ($300-Friend; $500-Patron) go to https://www.carehouse.org/.


1. Board member / event host Kappy Trott, CH Executive Director Blythe Spitsbergen, event host Dave Trott

2. Board members Nikki Braddock and Murry Pierce

3. Sponsor Bank of Ann Arbor’s Steve Guy and Pam Audette

4. Mazy and Jim Gillis


5. Sponsor Commonwealth’s Tiffany Witherspoon, Brenda Baker Mbacke, board member Diane Bert

Wine & Dine in the D

Ten years ago, Sid Moss was diagnosed with the incurable blood disease, multiple myeloma. Now in remission, he continues to raise funds for the non-profit Cure Multiple Myeloma Corporation (CMMC), which he founded, and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. His ninth annual fund raiser attracted 175 to the Westin Book Cadillac for an early panel discussion with six medical experts. They were joined by 225 more supporters ($175 ticket) for the strolling culinary and wine event that was accented with jazz by Ursula Walker and the Buddy Budson Quintet. All sampled the fare donated by 22 restaurants and 18 beverage purveyors (wine, beer, coffee) and many found goodies to buy in the silent auction. Some 150 sponsors and patrons ($225 ticket) convened for the rare wine and sweet treats Afterglow. Thanks also to generous sponsors the popular event will raise an all-time high of nearly $200,000.


1. Event founder Sid Moss, Vertical Detroit’s Jim Lutfy, host committee member Adam Lutz

2. Co-host Sharon Moss, Mark & Helaine Keller

3. Honorary co-chair Marvin Walkon, Marina & Chris Emde

4. Jerry & Marja Norris

5. Nancy & Dennis Gershenson, Jennifer Margolis

6. Nadine & host committee member Brian Jennings, David & Liz Barash, Drs. Howard & Barbara Belkin

7. Gwen & Evan Weiner

8. Diane & Dick Aginian

9. Renee & Dave Tull, Doug Thal

10. Comerica Bank’s Kathy Martin and Kim Tobie

11. Lauren Bliss, Rhyan Pensa

12. Jeremy Gerak & host committee member Brian Jennings

13. Participating restaurants

14. Beverage providers

15. Event sponsors

16. A memorial tribute

Michigan Opera Theatre DiChiera Society Reception

Nearly 100 members of Michigan Opera Theatre’s DiChiera Society relished Gregory Haynes and Richard (Ric) Sonenklar’s hospitality in their art-filled Bloomfield Hills home at the annual society Thank You Party. One of the guests was their neighbor, MOT board chair Rick Williams, who noted “…I had no idea there was such an art gallery around the corner.” The Sunday afternoon affair was coordinated by society chair Barbara Frankel and co-chair Dodie David who, in the invitation, had promised performances by MOT’s Studio Artists and “two surprises.” The talented singers - tenor Edward Graves, mezzo-soprano Katherine (Kate) DeYoung, bass Allen Michael Jones, soprano Avery Boettcher and baritone Darren Drone - were especially powerful in the home’s intimate setting. They were followed by one of the “surprises”, Richard Leech, the Resident Artist Programs Director, who explained that his tenor voice is no longer “stage worthy.” However, he evoked a standing ovation when he sang the Neapolitan favorite, “O Sole Mio” by Eduardo DiCapua. The other surprise was the presence of trail blazing tenor George Shirley. He and Williams will be honored at MOT’s 49th Season Gala Saturday, Oct. 12 at the Detroit Opera House. Plans include cocktails, the Gala Concert with Michael Fabiano, Leah Crocetto, Rodrick Dixon and Principal Dancers from American Ballet Theatre and an Afterglow. For tickets ($750 and up) go to https://michiganopera.org/season-tickets/calendar/49th-season-gala/. DiChiera Society members donate $2,500 yearly. Contact Colin Knapp for more information at 313-237-4271 or cknapp@motopera.org.


1. Hosts Gregory Haynes & Richard (Ric) Sonenklar, MOT Pres. / CEO Wayne Brown

2. MOT Board chair elect Ethan Davidson (center) with DiChiera Society chairs Dodie David (left) and Barbara Frankel

3. Paul & Mary Sue Ewing, Betty Bright

4. Guy Simons & Carolyn Demps, Jeremy Zeltzer, Alex Beliveau

5. Joan & Ned Winkelman

6. Michael & Barbara Kratchman

7. Ellen Kahn, Ethan Davidson, Ruth Rattner

8. Mado Lie, Toby Haberman, Kim Schmidt

9. Tom Short & Fern Epino

10. Tenor Edward Graves

11. Mezzo-soprano Katherine (Kate) DeYoung

12. Bass Allen Michael Jones

13. Soprano Avery Boettcher

14. Baritone Darren Drone

15. Tenor Richard Leech, Resident Artist Programs Director

16. Sculpture standing at the ready beside the front door: “Arbrothkot”

17. Murano glass art inspired by Picasso

Ted Lindsay Foundation Celebrity Golf Outing

In a salute to the late Ted Lindsay’s jersey number, his son-in-law Lew LaPaugh began the dinner program at the 19th annual fundraiser with seven-seconds of silence to remember the hockey great, his late wife Joanne and late Red Wings team physician Dr. Jack Finley. Lindsay was surely smiling to see that the fundraiser for his autism support organization was even better attended (190 golfers, 90 more for dinner) than the 2018 event. It had highlights. The video of his daughter Lynn LaPaugh in a smashing red gown presenting the Ted Lindsay Award to Nikita Kucherov at NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas in June evoked energetic applause. Likewise, the announcement by Oakland U VP Mike Westfall that the university is renaming its autism services center after Joanne and Ted to recognize the foundation’s $1-million gift. Ditto the acceptance of two Lindsay Foundation Courage Awards. One went to Nick Thielen, an 11-year-old with Autism Spectrum Disorder, whose courage and introspection is already changing the world of Autism. The other went to the Clarke Family, inspired by the two Clarke boys who are on the autism spectrum, for the incredible insight, perseverance and effort the parents extend on behalf of special needs kids. A silent auction ($11,000), the live auction conducted by WJR’s Frank Beckmann ($15,000), a raffle, some funding pledges matched by Dave Floore and generous sponsors combined to raise $170,000 for the foundation Ted Lindsay founded when he was 75-years old.


1. TLF Pres. Lew LaPaugh & Sec. Lynn Lindsay LaPaugh, honorary board member / auctioneer / WJR’s Frank Beckmann

2. TLF co-spokesman Dylan Larkin, Eddie Mio, Kevin Miller

3. TLF board VP Stewart Frank & Rochelle Imber

4. Keaton Aldrich, TLF board VP Steve Eick, Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill, Pete Mitchell

5. Oakland University VP Mike Westfall, Mike Acheson

6. Bob Danforth, Rick Griffin, Charlie O’Neill, TLF co-spokesman Joe Kocur, Eddie Murray

7. Raffle ticket sellers BettyAnne Ogrodnick, Randi Brandt

8. Dave Senatore, Todd Lewinski

9. Ken Hudson, Bob Lake, Dick Sawhill

10. Courage Award winner Nick Thielen

11. Courage Award winning Clark Family: Brent, Noah, Adam and Kara

12. Live auction item that sold for $9,000, - bench made by Tony Gatliff using Ted Lindsay autographed hockey sticks.

13. 2019 event sponsors

14. Event supporters

15. Event supporters

MOCAD Interchange+Art

Linden Nelson’s real estate investment headquarters is a large warehouse space on the back side of Troy’s West Maple LA Fitness building. This is where he and his wife Michelle, together with MOCAD board member / Techno musician Derrick May, hosted 80 supporters ($250 ticket) of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit for the final offering of the museum’s 2019 Interchange Art + Dinner series. The nondescript back door opened to reveal a panoply of cutting-edge artworks of all sizes installed floor to ceiling on the walls. From Street Art to Pop to Photorealism, the work pretty much adhered to a collection concept that art should make one think or smile. Guests socialized, sipped and supped on offerings from Annabel Cohen’s catering carts (our fav were the lollypop lamb chops) while Techno music provided the background sounds through the cavernous venue. More than one guest remarked, “Wouldn’t this be a great place to work?” The next MOCAD fundraiser is the 13th Annual Gala + Benefit Art Auction Friday, Oct,11 and its Preview on Sept. 25. It features a silent and online auction of art by nearly 90 artists represented by more than 20 galleries, a dinner catered by Bacco and the 10:30 pm reveal of “Robolights Detroit,” an art and light show tribute to the late Julie Reyes Taubman by California artist Kenny Irwin. For tickets ($1,000 and up) go to mocadetroit.org/gala or call 313-832-6622.


1. Co-host Linden Nelson, MOCAD Executive Director Elysia Borowry-Reeder, Ben White-Levin

2. Co-hosts: Techno artist / MOCAD board member Derrick May and Michelle Nelson

3. MOCAD board treasurer Keith Pomery

4. Artistic version of MLK and the Mall in Washington, D.C. where he delivered his “I have a dream” speech

5. MOCAD board chair Elyse & David Foltyn, Brenda & Howard Rosenberg

6. Artist Dozer Strangway & board member Cate Strumbos

7. Ann Rogers, Bharat & MOCAD board member Lynn Gandhi. Kobra’s Mt. Rushmore in the background

8. Eduardo Kobra’s version of Mt. Rushmore featuring artists: Andy Warhol, Freda Kahler, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat

9. How two, large paintings are hung on a warehouse wall

10. An artistic tribute to the 9/11 first responders

11. Robert-David Jones, Sanford Nelson, Matt Ledger

12. Gander necking at all the art

13. Missy Stines and Lauren Kirchner

14. Melissa Feldman and caterer Annabel Cohen

15. Tracy & Dave Fischer

16. Clara Teague, Robbie Taylor, Noelle Frye

17. Art displayed next to entrance

18. Comic book heroes

19. Emergency box filled with stacks of $100-bills

20. One of dozens of artsy chairs at tables throughout the space

21. Huge advertising art (the man figure is life size)

Please send material for Social Lights to SamGerak@aol.com or to 28 Barbour Lane, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304.

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by Sally G.

Sally G.

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