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Amy Scherzer's Diary

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Harry Connick Jr. soars at the Starlight Gala Dinner Show

Starlight Gala Dinner Show

Luckily, there was no shortage of doctors in the house, on call to revive swooning Harry Connick Jr. fans at the Starlight Gala Dinner Show. Co-chairmen Mike and Elena Azzarelli nearly needed CPR when Connick canceled a Clearwater performance two days earlier. But the New Orleans heartthrob was in fine voice Nov. 7, grooving on piano, trumpet and bongos at Florida Hospital Foundation's "celebration of Greater Tampa Bay medical leadership." CEOs from four area Adventist Health System hospitals mingled with 990 black-tie patrons packing the Tampa Marriott Waterside. Guests understood the cash bar at the ritzy gala was in accordance with Adventists' beliefs. Record-breaking proceeds came from silent and live auctions, sponsorships and $500-and-up tickets, some including a photo op with handsome Harry and a room at the hotel, not with Harry.

University of Tampa Minaret Society

Just 67 students enrolled the year the University of Tampa opened in 1931, said Ron Vaughn, the 10th and current president, introducing the first president's son, Frederic H. Spaulding of Manchester, Conn., to Minaret Society annual dinner guests Nov. 1.

Today's student body numbers 7,343, thanks to donors such as Celia and vice-chairman of the board Jim Ferman, Carol and Frank Morsani and the Helios Education Foundation, the newest "Pacesetters" for cumulative gifts of $1 million and up. Music professor Grigorios Zamparas wowed the crowd with three piano selections; Paul Wilborn and Eugenie Bondurant delighted with after-party tunes.

JDRF's Mad for a Cure

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation topped the charts at its Mad for a Cure Dream Gala netting $500,000 including $50,000 raised by Leann Jarczynski in honor of her 50th birthday. She was stunned when one of the 300 guests stood up to match her donation. He'd rather not see his name revealed here, even though his generosity including bidding $11,000, along with board chairman Mike Wisniewski, for a wine collection numbering 100-plus bottles. Community leaders and athletes selected and signed each bottle, starting with the Tampa Bay Rays' Sam Fuld who has Type 1 diabetes, his buddy Evan Longoria and coach, Joe Maddon.

Co-chairmen Nicole Johnson and Rob Canton rocked the retro Mad Men-theme with Busch Gardens' Rock a Doo Wop singers at A La Carte Event Pavilion on Oct. 19.

Meals on Wheels

For some of its 700 recipients, a daily Meals on Wheels delivery may be their only food source, director Steve King reminded supporters invited to a cooking demonstration and complimentary Columbia Cafe luncheon Oct. 30 at the Tampa Bay History Center. Sisters Lauren Schellman and Andrea Gonzmart shared the family recipe for picadillo, with little helper Amelia, Andrea's daughter and a sixth-generation Gonzmart cook.

Two notable guests: volunteer Amy "every Wednesday for 37 years" Shimberg and Barbara Thomas, formerly a delivery person, now a grateful recipient. Triad Foundation's $25,000 matching funds helped raise more than $70,000.


Wednesday: Signature Chefs Auction benefits March of Dimes; 6:30 p.m.; Westin Harbour Island; $150; (813) 898-4953,

Thursday: Wine, Women & Shoes benefits Children's Cancer Center; 6:30 p.m.; Renaissance Hotel International Plaza;

Thursday: Saks & Cigars benefits Cigar Family Charitable Foundation; 6-9 p.m.; Westin Tampa Bay; $75; (813) 248-2124.

Nov. 22: H.B. Plant Museum Society Holiday Cocktail Buffet & Victorian Christmas Stroll Party; 7-9 p.m.; University of Tampa; $75; (813) 258-7302.

Nov. 23: Alzheimer's & the Arts benefits USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute; 6 p.m.; 4001 E Fletcher Ave., $100; (813) 974-0890.

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Harry Connick Jr. soars at the Starlight Gala Dinner Show 11/13/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 2:43pm]
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