Being on the historic Hermitage 8.5-acre campus right on the gulf at Manasota Key is a magical experience. It is not open to the public and is only used as an artist retreat, so being able to enjoy its treasures for the day is a special treat. Guests checked in, toured the historic artist residences and studio spaces, mingled with other guests and current artists in residences Mala Iqbal, Erik Sanko and Jessica Grindstaff, perused the silent auction items - baskets with values up to $1400 - and enjoyed the sounds of the Michael Ross Jazz Ensemble.
At noon, guests were seated and treated to a magnificent concert by renowned cellist, Michael Fitzpatrick. You could have heard a pin drop, except for the brilliance of his playing. His performance was magnetic! Imagine being on the lawn, under the soaring tent, with the gulf luxuriously lapping on the shoreline in front of you, with the very handsome, Michael, playing classical favorites, with the gentle breeze blowing over you. Everyone, just sigh, it was so beautiful. On top of it all, guests each received a CD of his music which was created while he was in residence at the Hermitage a few years ago. Now THAT'S what I call a party favor!
The lobster buffet opened immediately thereafter and Michael's On East, with darling Henry at the helm, and Douglas and Connie helping, once again outdid themselves. There are always plenty of smiling faces and full tummies when MOE is serving!
Larry Bold, HAR Board President and Bruce Rodgers, Executive Director took the stage to pay tribute to the Tom Dignam Family who recently created a Facilities Endowment Fund for the Hermitage with a $100,000 donation. At that time, I was also presented a charming painting by Barbara Coy of the Hermitage House. I will treasure it.
Then is was time for the Live Auction. Scott Anderson was scheduled to be our auctioneer until just a few days ago when he had to have emergency surgery for a detached retina. I was going to sub for him, until it became painfully clear to me that in my state of illness, there was no way that was going to happen - and I wouldn't allow myself to give up until truly about 15 minutes before the start of the auction. My dear friend, Veronica Brady graciously stepped up and performed the auctioneer duties with ease and grace beside Bruce. They were quite a winning team and did a flawless job! At the end of the auction, a very quick paddle raise was conducted and almost $16,000 was raised in just minutes to be added to the Facilities Endowment Fund - yay!
Everyone gradually left in an euphoric haze of happiness, including myself, but I must admit, mine might have also been a bit medicinally induced!
Other than those mentioned above or pictured below, those seen were Julia and Dick Hyman, Dr. Larry Thompson, Ina Schnell, Dr. John Steele, Karen Solem, Ellen Wells, Tamara and Jim Ley, Henry and Suzanne Rodriguez, Robert Blattberg, Bob and Beverly Bartner, Steve and Dale Adler, Susan Brennan, Chris Caswell, Georgia Court, Cam Cox, John Cranor, Matt and Deb DePalma, Richy Edwards, Joel Elkes, Allyn Gallup, Kelly Gettel, Roxie and Mike Jerde, Elaine Keating, Tom Koski, Peg Lowery, Hannah and Greg McDaniel, Margaret Pennington, Robert and Susie Samp, and Jon Thaxton.
|Michael Fitzpatrick and me|
|Joy and Jim Rogers and Ilene Denton|
|Sally Lucke Elkes and Pat Johnson|
|Brad Goddard, Gina Taylor, Mark Pritchard|
|Caroline Andrus and Carol White Bold|
|Larry Bold and John Bean|
|Michael Ross Jazz Ensemble|
|Leslie Edwards, David Dignam and friend of the Hermitage|
|Guests checking in|
|Eliot and Elizabeth Rose|
|Pat and Ron Pantello|
|Elizabeth Van Riper and Alex Quarles|
|Bobbi Lorry, Sophia LaRusso, Andy Maass|
|Dr. Sarah Pappas and Ellen Berman|
|Sharyn Lonsdale and Bruce Rodgers|
|Renee Hamad and Carolyn Spizzaro|
|BJ Creighton and Dru Greene|
|Alexandra Jupin and Pat Thompson|
|Lelia Windom and Rita Steele|
|Marv Albert and Gerri Aaron|
|Flori Roberts and Flora Majors|
|The salad buffet in front of the water towers|
|Joan Golub and Helen Sosso|
|Teri Hansen and Veronica Brady|
|Aimee and Chris Cogan and Deb Knowles|
|Nelda Thompson and Katie Couchot|
|Pedro Reis and Dolly Jacobs-Reis|
|A friend with Margaret Wise|
|Rebecca Donelson and Gia Ventola|
|The tent filled with 300 lobster-eating people|
|Anne Weintraub and Ellen Berman|
|Caroline Andrus and Carolyn Michel|
|Andy Maass and Jett Thompson|
|Keith Fitzgerald and Andy Walker|
|Patricia Caswell and Bev Koski|