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Column: Georgia CASA to host luncheon/fashion show
by Sally F. White
Neighbor Newspapers Columnist
February 26, 2014 03:49 PM | 5778 views | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally F. White
Sally F. White
Set for March 26 at the Piedmont Driving Club in Midtown, the annual Georgia Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Luncheon and fashion show will honor Judge Glenda Hatchett for her outstanding service as an Atlanta advocate. She serves as spokesperson for National CASA, presides over the nationally syndicated TV show “Judge Hatchett” and will present the 2014 keynote address.

CASA staff members, volunteers and supporters will parade the runway in the latest women’s fashions from Tootsies and stylish men’s wear from Guffey’s of Atlanta. Raffle packages from Atlanta luxury retailers will enhance the fundraising aspects of the affair and Donna Lowry of WXIA-TV will serve as a lively emcee.

As a prelude for the fashionable benefit, Amanda Brown-Olmstead and George Olmstead and the nonprofit’s gentlemen’s committee will co-host the Celebrate CASA preview party at the Olmsteads’ Buckhead home Tuesday.

The annual luncheon raises much-needed funds to provide comprehensive support services to CASA’s 47 affiliates throughout the state that recruit, train and supervise the nonprofit’s volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in juvenile court. Volunteers work to ensure these children are placed in safe, permanent homes where they can thrive.

Last year’s event raised $24,000, for a total of $300,000 collected since it began in 2004.

“Money raised at events such as the … luncheon … goes to support services that Georgia CASA provides affiliates throughout the state and toward developing new affiliates. Each year it costs about $740 to serve one child in the CASA program,” CASA Executive Director Duaine Hathaway said. “To fully train a CASA volunteer to work with the court system to protect the best interests of foster children costs about $400. We need financial support from our dedicated members and the broader general community.”

Information and tickets: (404) 874-2888 or

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One Night of Southern Hospitality March 7 will spotlight award-winning jazz and R&B pianist Brian Culbertson with laid-back, chef-attended dining stations, whiskey tastings, cigar rolling and an open bar in the ambiance of The Estate, the recently renovated circa 1797 home on Piedmont Road in Buckhead.

A separately ticketed pre-performance private gathering with the renowned pianist will add to the one-on-one hospitality.

The genteel Southern evening is dedicated to support the nonprofit Fragile Kids Foundation. Proceeds go to provide rehabilitative and medical equipment not covered by insurance or government programs for medically fragile children in Georgia from birth to age 21.

The nonprofit strives to create safer, healthier lives for children living with a wide range of diagnoses, including cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, mitochondrial disorder, Retts and Angelman syndromes and other genetic/traumatic injuries. It provides equipment such as wheelchair lifts for homes and vans, ramping, specialty seating, bathing equipment, therapy bikes, strollers and much more to medically fragile children statewide.

“Not only is this event a rare opportunity to hear Brian Culbertson in an intimate performance, but it’s an opportunity to have a great night out, all while investing in Georgia’s most fragile kids,” foundation Executive Director Carolyn Polakowski said.

Since its inception in 1988, Fragile Kids has helped more than 5,000 children with equipment grants and the sharing of loaned equipment.

Tickets and information: (770) 951-6111 or

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The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will host its fourth annual Symphony Gala March 8 at the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown. It will benefit the orchestra’s Talent Development Program, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

The centerpiece of the black-tie gala will be a concert featuring award-winning soprano Audra McDonald. With a record-tying five Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards and a long list of other accolades from theatre, TV and recordings, the talented Juilliard graduate will perform popular Broadway selections and classical favorites with members of the orchestra in Symphony Hall.

Following the cocktail reception and concert, guests will enjoy a seated dinner and dancing in the Taylor Lobby of the High Museum of Art. Throughout the evening attendees will have the opportunity to bid on luxury items in a silent auction.

After dinner a lounge-style party in the Stent Atrium will feature cocktails, coffee, dessert and live entertainment.

Orchestra board member Ed Labry is serving as gala chairman, and longtime supporter/volunteer Annie-York Trujillo is heading the patron committee.

Honorary chair of the event is Ingrid Saunders Jones, retired Coca-Cola Co. senior vice president of global community connections and former chairwoman of The Coca-Cola Foundation.

Led by international acclaimed Music Director Robert Spano, the orchestra consistently affirms its position as one of America’s leading orchestras by performing great music, presenting exceptional artists and educating and engaging the greater Atlanta community.

The Talent Development Program identifies musically gifted and motivated African-American and Latino instrumentalists and prepares them for acceptance into top music programs in preparation for careers as professional musicians.

Tickets and information: (404) 733-5000 or

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Daylong award festivities March 8 will mark the 2014 Philip Trammell Shutze Awards presented by the Southeast chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art.

The annual design competition recognizes excellence in classical and tradition design and will feature a morning lecture at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church’s chapel on the Emory University campus in DeKalb County. Esteemed architectural historian Calder Loth will share his knowledge and love of classical architecture and related fields. Loth will also emcee the evening awards ceremony at the Piedmont Driving Club in Midtown. That event will begin with a cocktail reception followed by a seated dinner and the formal awards presentation.

 “A special tribute to local designer Dan Carithers will be a highlight of the evening recognizing his remarkable career which has spanned more than 50 years and made lasting contributions to the interior design world — especially for his classical and traditional style,” said Angela Smith, chairwoman of the awards event.

The awards are named for the Atlanta architect whose work is revered internationally as one of the 20th century’s most devoted classicists. The award recognizes similar individuals who are contributing to the creation of 21st-century classical and traditional architecture and related fields such as urban design, interior design, craftsmanship, landscape and garden design.

This year a distinguished panel of judges includes Clinton Smith, editor-in-chief of Veranda magazine; Russell Windham, founding principal of Texas-based Curtis & Windham Architects; and Marc Appleton, principal of California-based Appleton & Associates Architects.  The awards consider both small- and large-scale projects in 11 categories.

Founded in 2004 and dedicated to advancing the practice and appreciation of classical architecture and art of the region, the nonprofit institute’s Southeast chapter is led by an innovative board committed to advancing the timeless lessons of the past for design today.

Membership includes classical enthusiasts, architects, interior designers, landscape architects, artisans, artists, craftsmen, contractors and vendors throughout the Southeast.

Tickets and information: (404) 348-3244 or

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The Pro-Mozart Society of Atlanta is opening its final 2014 scholarship competition performances to the public March 9 at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church in Sandy Springs.

Each year the society sponsors a competition to select an outstanding Georgia college or university musician to receive a $4,000 scholarship to attend the Summer Academy of the Mozarteum Institute in Salzburg, Austria. Aspiring candidates submit documents and recordings of their music. Each recording must include a Mozart composition. Preliminary judging was completed in February. The final five contestants will perform in a Sunday afternoon public venue for a panel of judges composed of professional musicians, music professors and instructors.

This year’s finalists are: Tzu Yi Chen, pianist from Columbus State University; Chelsea Davidson, soprano from Lee University; Hao Feng, pianist from Emory University; Minhye Park, violinist from the University of Georgia; and Diane Turner, pianist from Shorter University. The winner will receive a scholarship for the 2014 summer session and present a public concert for the society in 2015.

As a testimonial of the value of the scholarship, 2008 winner Christopher Sarzen wrote, “It’s impossible to overstate the artistic value of the encounter with the Internationale Sommerakademie Mozarteum — the world’s greatest instructors, many of whom are equally superb performers, under one roof in an intense musical environment in which Mozart lived a significant portion of his life. I cannot thank the Pro-Mozart Society enough for this greatest musical experience of my life, a gift I will transmit to others every time I perform.”

The society was founded in 1964 under the leadership of Nellie Bunzl, wife of Austrian Consul Gen. Robert M. Bunzl, to foster classical music education and interest in the musical works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and other composers. Over the years it has sponsored 50 student scholarships and hosted free public performances of classical music throughout metro Atlanta. Kevin Pritchett is the president.

Information: (770) 457-4986 or

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The finale of the 2014 three-part Molly Blank Jewish Concert series celebrating Jewish contributions to music is scheduled for March 9 at the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in Midtown.

Titled “Best of Broadway,” the cabaret-style concert is in collaboration with the Atlanta Opera and will feature singer Sylvia McNair, a Grammy Award winner and regional Emmy Award winner, and a pianist. They will select songs from hit Broadway musicals.

Held in the intimate space of the museum’s auditorium, the concert series is in partnership with Atlanta Opera Musical Director Arthur Fagen and leading musicians and performers from around the region. Sponsorship is through the Arthur M. Blank Foundation. The series is named after Arthur Blank’s mother, Molly Blank, a lifetime lover of music. Additional support is provided by the Schwob Family Foundation and the Georgia Council for the Arts.

Ticket prices include general seating and a reception with the performers following the concert.

The nonprofit museum became a reality in 1992 when Atlanta philanthropist William Breman gave the lead gift. Opening in 1996 at The Selig Center on Spring Street, the museum today includes exhibitions about the Holocaust, Jewish culture and Southern Jewish history along with archives, an auditorium and the Weinberg Center for Holocaust Education.

Concert tickets and information: (678) 222-3700 or

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The Georgian Chamber Players are featuring an international sensations selection for its March 9 concert at Peachtree Presbyterian Church’s Kellett Chapel in Buckhead.

From Beethoven’s string quartet in “C Major, Opus 59, No. 3,” “Five Tango Sensations” by Piazzolla and “Café Music for Piano Trio” by Schoenfield, the intimate-style concert will present a range of lively chamber music. Guest artists Ilyoung Chae on violin and Hector Del Curto on bandoneon will be featured with the chamber members.

Cellist Christopher Rex, violist Reid Harris and violinist William Preucil, now with the Cleveland Orchestra, formed the nonprofit players in 1984 to perform masterpieces of the chamber repertoire with their Atlanta Symphony Orchestra colleagues and world-renowned guest instrumentalists. In its three decades, the ensemble has been supported by non-musician members and performed with many outstanding local and international artists in intimate public and private venues to showcase chamber-style music.

Besides Rex and Harris there are four other performing members: violinist David Coucheron and pianist Elizabeth Pridgen. Scott D. Calhoun is the president.

Guest musicians augment the ticketed concerts which include a post-concert reception to meet the performers.

Tickets and information: (404) 931-9544 or

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The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation will host its 30th annual Preservation Gala March 14, on the stunning grounds of the historic Patterson-Carr House on Northside Drive in Buckhead, an elegant private estate designed by noted classical Atlanta architect Philip Trammell Shutze.

Themed “Garden & Fun,” the evening will celebrate the full bloom of Atlanta’s springtime on the four-acre wooded site of the restored 1939 mansion, one of Shutze’s last commissions.

The home is designed to appear as a charming English cottage with multiple extensions. Featuring a dramatic entryway mural painted by Athos Menaboni, the memorable grounds include multiple gardens, courtyards, fountains and a swimming pool.

Guests will be free to wander the property, exploring the home’s gracious interior spaces and delightful outdoor areas. Small plate stations will feature an array of tempting tastes with bars along the way to offer libations, including the evening’s signature mint cocktail. Live music will fill the air and revelers will dance the evening away in a band tent.

The honorary chairman of the benefit gala is Beauchamp Carr, who grew up in the house and whose efforts to save Midtown’s Fox Theatre sparked the preservation movement in Georgia.

Sharing event co-chair responsibilities are Elizabeth and Mike Nadal and Carey and Bill Peard.

Founded in 1973, the trust is one of the country’s largest statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations. Committed to preserving and enhancing Georgia’s communities and their diverse historic resources for the education and enjoyment of all, the trust generates community revitalization by finding buyers for endangered properties acquired by its Revolving Fund and raises awareness of other endangered historic resources through Georgia’s Places in Peril.

The nonprofit also helps revitalize downtowns by providing design and technical assistance in 102 Georgia Main Street cities, trains Georgia’s teachers in 63 school systems to engage students in discovering state and national history through their local historic resources and advocates for funding, tax incentives and other laws aiding preservation efforts.

Proceeds from the event will go directly to the trust’s mission to reclaim, restore and revitalize historic places.

Tickets and information: (404) 885-7812 or

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