Whatever the cause, wherever the locale, however clever the theme, music is the constant that lifts a party and brings people together. Great entertainment is the reward for getting past emotional testimonials and annoying auctioneers. The power of music builds the sound of fun into funding serious needs. The most successful fundraisers make sure patrons don't leave before the last encore, and only then with lighter wallets and tired feet.
Pop rockers Train unquestionably enhanced the guest list at the 2013 Magnolia Ball, some cheering the band as much as Moffitt Cancer Center research. The Pointer Sisters energized University of South Florida's gala donors, dancing "Bullishly" to celebrate extending the capital campaign goal to $1 billion (or is that $1 "Bull'ion?)
American vocalist Michael Feinstein hit the right notes at the Straz Center's Broadway Ball; multitalented singer, actor and composer Harry Connick Jr. wooed 1,000 fans of his New Orleans beat at the Florida Hospital Foundation's Starlight Gala dinner show. Homegrown local singers Denise Moore, Lisa Casalino and Don Juceam made many events groove, too.
So cue the music, strike up the band. Let's get 2014 started.
To stand out from the pack, the American Cancer Society invited Cattle Barons Ball sponsors to a Jan. 17 patrons party taking place during a Billy Joel concert at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. That will be followed by country star Ronnie Dunn (formerly of Brooks & Dunn) at the Feb. 28 western-chic benefit.
Planning their 11th All Star Charity Gala for March 1, the Debartolo family wondered, how do you top John Legend headlining your bash? You shake up the format and present comedian, actor and sports personality Jay Mohr, along with a slew of guest celebrities.
St. Joseph's Hospitals booked the Midtown Men, better known as the "Jersey Boys," to bop at their gala. Invitations have already arrived to hear Huey Lewis & the News rock May 3 at Moffitt's 21st annual Magnolia Ball.
Happy New Year! See you at the party!