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Dr. John Hamilton receives Florida Orchestra Guild's Golden Baton Award


Attended by family and receiving a standing ovation from supporters of the Florida Orchestra and the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, Dr. John Hamilton received the Orchestra Guild's 2010 Golden Baton Award at a dinner that benefited both organizations.

A reception in the museum's Marly Room and a dinner in the conservatory of the Hazel Hough Wing honored Hamilton, a onetime orchestra board member, a subscriber and a financial supporter in numerous ways. The St. Petersburg physician also is a musician, playing clarinet in two bands.

There to cheer him on were daughter Susan Churuti and her husband, Bob; son Court Hamilton, his wife, Kitti, and daughter Marissa; son John Hamilton Jr. with his son John III and daughter-in-law Marina; son Scott Hamilton; and Nancy Cunningham.

Also in the crowd were Florida Orchestra Guild president Claire Mazzella, event chair Judy Davis, orchestra music director Stefan Sanderling, museum board of trustees president Seymour Gordon and museum director Kent Lydecker.


Great Explorations' annual Great Extravaganza fundraiser drew 230 guests to the StarLite Majesty for a sold-out dinner cruise that included auctions, dancing, a cigar bar and fireworks. The event raised more than $100,000 for the St. Petersburg children's museum.

Bill Heller, who is retiring as board of trustees chairman, received a quilt made by the children in the Great Ex preschool program from event chair Preston Hearn and vice president of education Andy Owens. Attendees also included state Reps. Janet Long and Rick Kriseman, colleagues of Heller's in the Florida House of Representatives, and museum executive director Alan Kahle.

Development director Daryl DeBerry says the museum will get a new touch tunnel and art studio in 2011.

• • •

The St. Petersburg Guild of the Florida Orchestra is seeking a south Pinellas home of 5,000 square feet or more to showcase for the 37th annual Designers' Showhouse to be held next spring. Tampa Bay area designers display the most current trends and techniques for the charitable event that benefits the orchestra. To suggest a home, please call (727) 864-1338 or (727) 344-7575.


Many of the residents of St. Petersburg's Signature Place overlook the new Salvador Dalí museum near completion along the waterfront, and that inspired a group called the Dalí Dreamers to organize support for their neighbor.

Dalí director Hank Hine and architect Yann Weymouth dropped by the Cool Casa Tour, which offered tours of eight homes plus a wine tasting and tapas party. The event was a fundraiser and a membership drive; the Dreamers hope to persuade every person at Signature to join the Dalí.

Committee member Laura Bryant estimates that the evening brought in 39 or 40 new members and says 110 people at Signature took part in the fun.

Additional organizers included Rita Bateman, Jay Boda, Judith Bryant, Susan Burr, Carol Cason, Jan Fazio, Juli Herren, Patton Hunter, Debbie Newman and Peter Stanhope.

Bryant says the Signature effort was inspired by residents of nearby Parkshore Plaza, who have raised nearly $100,000 for the new Dalí.

"This whole idea of a tour grew out of the desire to raise awareness of the Dalí within our residents," she says. Because Signature is relatively new, it also was a great community-building activity for neighbors to become better acquainted.

• • •

Members of the Guild at the Dalí Museum, a new support group, immersed themselves in Dalí lore on a trip to Spain in early October.

They had VIP tours of Cadaques and Dalí's waterfront home and spent time with Mayor Joan Borrell; guild president Jody Morelli said one of the highlights was having a picnic on the rocks that are similar to one that is the cornerstone of the new museum. Another visit took them to Figueres for a private showing of the museum there, with Joan Manuel Sevillano Campalans, director of Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation.

They also visited the Gala Dalí Castle in Pubol and spent several days in Barcelona.

The guild organized in May and has more than 80 members so far. In addition to Morelli, the tour group included Lisa Morelli; Erin Holliday; Luisa Perez-Harvey; Dr. Doreen Jackson; Dr. Merry Riedenbach; Mike and Barb Faiella; Irene Athos; Ana and John Hartnett and their son John; Mary Abend; Amy Blake; and Linda Pugliese.

Dr. John Hamilton receives Florida Orchestra Guild's Golden Baton Award 11/13/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 13, 2010 3:30am]
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