I must say, there is a noticeable difference between Sarasota and Venice events. I can't quite put my finger on it, but you can tell you are in different places. I am not saying one is better than the other at all, just different and I find that interesting. I love to analyze these things.
There was quite an extensive silent auction and then at noon, WRC Executive Director, Janice Zarro welcomed everyone and said we were in for a different kind of luncheon, and I would have to agree with her! It was different and lots of fun.
Kicking off the rollicking good times was Christine Jennings, who has gotten all cool and funky, well, as funky as a Midwestern white girl of a certain age can get, since she became the Executive Director of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe a few years ago. I mean, my goodness, she was even sporting some black leather! She was there to introduce two stars of WBTT, who each performed separately that afternoon. First was Broadway star, Teresa Stanley, who sang songs from "Love Sung in the Key of Aretha", which included the anthem, R-E-S-P-E-C-T. We all joyfully sang along.
After lunch, Challenge Graduate, Tammy Williams, stood up to tell her story about her participation in the Challenge Program. She is a shining example of the type of woman who goes through that marvelous and important program. Diagnosed as bi-polar and already through five divorces, she fought her way back, with the help of the program and her mentor, Betsy Zackrison. She is now a Peer Support Specialist and a qualified success in life. It is always interesting to me how when I hear these stories, the women telling them always say how nervous they are to speak. I wish they each could know how much every single woman in the room is rooting for them to be successful and it doesn't matter one whit, if they stumble on a word or two in their speech - we are all so very proud of them. I hope they can all feel the love in the room, because there is tons. Congratulations, Tammy!
The luncheon ended with some major booty-shaking, not only from the stage, but the crowd, too! Tsadok Porter, again from WBTT, had everyone up on their feet, each doing their own impression of Tina Turner's classic, Proud Mary. And really, I'm not even kidding, there was dancing going on - at a women's luncheon, no less! Tsadok did a terrific impression of Tina's fab legs going to town, with her long hair flying and fringe swinging wildly on her dress. A really fun way to end the luncheon on such an up note! Good times....
I must mention the food. It has been so long since I have had pasta at a luncheon. I remember 100 years ago, Michael's On East used to serve their bow-tie pasta at luncheons quite frequently, then everyone got all salad conscious. I must tell you, I adored the mushroom ravioli at this luncheon. I am going to start advocating more pasta once again! I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it! The dessert was a lovely slice of carrot cake.
In addition to those pictured below, also seen in the crowd were, Dr. Marguerite Barnett, Annette Ross, Kirsten Fulkerson, Ann Thompson, Nita Oppenheim, Betty Pickard, Vee Gary-Chiulli, and Sharon Monk.
|Janice Zarro and Liz Maggio|
|Laurie Dignam and Susan Hines|
|Fran Valenic and Lydia McIntire|
|Cecilia Alexander's butterfly shoes|
|Judi Bell and Christine Jennings|
|BJ Creighton and Renee Hamad|
|Kathy Francoletti and Eva Slane|
|Donna-Lee Roden and Heidi Bodor|
|Sheryl Vieira and Jamie Aymerich|
|Pat Johnson and Margaret Mason|
|Annette Dignam and Leslie Edwards|
|Wain Maass and Jane Kiebitz|
|Betsy Zackrison and Tammy Williams|
|Tsadok Porter and Teresa Stanley|
|This should have been video, as the crowd was rockin'!|
|The centerpiece, which will be prettier, when open. Most of them were opened beautifully, just ours wasn't!|
|Yummy Carrot Cake for dessert|