Galas galore: Baum School of Art notes building’s 30th anniversary; Civic Theatre celebrates 90th anniversary of venue
The season of galas draws to a close as the year 2017 comes to an end. Two of the most recent fun and fund-raisers benefited the Baum School of Art and Civic Theatre of Allentown.
The Baum School “Fall Gala,” held on several levels of the school, honored the Baum Family for its support of the school and celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Russell E. Baum Building, Fifth and Linden streets, Allentown.
The Civic Theatre “90th Anniversary Celebration” Gala, held at the NB Center Of Automotive Heritage, Allentown, honored Dr. Barry and Sharon Lee Glassman and celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Nineteenth Street Theatre, Allentown.
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem held its annual “Gala Event” Nov. 11 with a concert by Thomanerchor at Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem, followed by dinner at Saucon Valley Country Club, Lower Saucon Township.
Tony Orlando was emcee for PBS39”s 50th Anniversary Gala Nov. 4 at ArtsQuest Center, SteelStacks, Bethlehem.
The Allentown Symphony Association holds its annual gala Feb. 3, 2018, at Lehigh Country Club, Allentown.
The State Theatre Center for the Arts celebrated its 90th anniversary with its “Through The Years” gala June 24 at the Easton venue.
“Luminosity” kicked off The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s 2017 season June 3.
The Baum Family, with recognition of J. Lawrence Grim and Kathleen O’Dea, was honored at the Oct. 21 Baum gala attended by 140. Grim is grandson of Walter Emerson Baum, founder of the Baum School of Art, and has been a school benefactor for many years. Members of the extended family filled the staircase at the school for a photo op.
The Caruso Family was recognized on the 30th anniversary of the Baum building. Richard and Sally Caruso made the first gift to the capital campaign for construction of the building.
“Every year, I’m just touched and moved by those who support this wonderful event,” said Shannon Fugate, Executive Director, The Baum School of Art.
“We’re here to celebrate the Baum Family, whose contributions started with Walter Baum,” Fugate continued. Four generations of the Baum Family, and now a fifth generation, have supported the Baum School.
“We’re also here to celebrate the Caruso Family, who provided the funds for this building in which we’re celebrating our 30th year.
“The move to our own space allowed us to educate more students than ever before. With the renaissance of Allentown, we’re experiencing another period of growth.
‘Walter Baum believed that art education should be an integral part of life,” Fugate said.
Baum School community outreach has doubled in the last two years, said Fugate, including 14 elementary and four middle schools, Building 21 and dual enrollment at Lehigh Carbon Community College. The Baum School reaches some 4,600 students, including 3,441 in Allentown School District.
Dr. Martha “Missy” Hutson-Saxton, Baum Gala Committee Honorary Chair, said, “When you serve on this board, you are family.”
J. Lawrence Grim also spoke, noting that “Walter Baum paintings are in embassies all around the world.”
A silent auction on the first floor preceded dinner on the top floor, with lights festooning windows that provided a view of the Da Vinci Horse sculpture and the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley.
Catering by Karen Hunter provided a dinner of spring mix salad, filet mignon entree with port and butter sauce in tomato cup and roasted vegetable paella, and dessert of panna cotta with raspberry sauce.
The Baum Gala Committee was Dr. Martha “Missy” Hutson-Saxton, Gala Honorary Chair; Shelbi R. Stoneback, Development Chair, and Pamela Dent, Lisa Fraenkel, Shannon Fugate, Derek Grim, Connie Hansell, Holly Harter, Kristine Kotsch, Heather Latta, Larry Miley and Laurie Siegfried.
Gold Sponsors were Air Products and The Baum Family. Silver Sponsors were Geoffrey and Laurie Baum, B. Braun, Barnet and Lisa Fraenkel, Bob and Sandy Lovett, and J.B. and Kathleen Reilly.
The taxicab from the cinema classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946), a 1930 GMC Yellow Cab owned by Italian jewelry magnate Nicola Bulgari, one of many at his NB Center Of Automotive Heritage, Allentown, was parked outside the entrance to the reconstructed Pennsylvania Bank Barn, where attendees at Civic Theatre of Allentown’s 90th anniversary gala paused to have photos taken. There were 180 at the Oct. 27 gala, which was sold-out.
The Civic Theatre logo was projected on the restored 90- by 120-foot screen. The NB Center is on the 20-acre site of the former Boulevard Drive-In Theater. “The last movie that closed this drive-in was ‘Cavegirl,’” noted one of the Civic gala attendees Daniel Roebuck, who starred as Rex in the 1985 movie. “And now I’m back,” Roebuck said.
Inside the open, several stories, huge hall, proclamations by Congressman Charles W. Dent (R-15th) and State Senator Patrick M. Browne (R-16th) began the black-tie event, helmed by master of ceremonies William Childs.
Videos by Zeke Zelker and Scott Stoneback’s The Media People, Inc. included testimonials from youths who’ve attended the Civic Theater School, and information about “The Next Act,” Civic’s Capital Campaign to restore and renovated its Nineteenth Street Theatre.
Christine Taylor, Capital Campaign Celebrity Chair, said getting involved with Civic again “was a blast from the past.” She began her acting career some 34 years ago at Civic. The event was like “a return to her home.”
Taylor, who attended Allentown Central Catholic, played Marcia Brady in “The Brady Bunch Movie” (1995) and “A Very Brady Sequel” (1996), Holly Sullivan in “The Wedding Singer” (1998), Matilda Jeffries in “Zoolander” (2001) and “Zoolander 2” (2016), and Katherine Veatch in “DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story” (2004).
Vocalists, accompanied by Matthew Wehr at the baby grand, included Tracy Ceschin, Nina Elias, August Fegley, Karissa Harris, Gerard Lebeda, Will Morris, Thomas Riley and Jarrod Yakauskas.
Introducing the honorees, the Glassmans, Civic Theatre Artistic Director William Sanders, “It’s our humanity and love of art that pulls us together.”
Added JoAnn Wilchek Basist, Civic board of directors first vice president, of the Glassmans, who have been involved with Civic for 40 years, “Their pursuit of excellence in every endeavor at Civic Theatre has been an inspiration.
“We are so fortunate to have benefited from the visionary leadership of Sharon and Barry,” Wilchek Basist said.
“So many moments ... so much emotion,” Sharon Glassman began.
“People say, ‘You don’t get to pick your family.’ But in our case, that wasn’t true. We picked Civic Theatre as our family.
“The first time I walked into Nineteenth Street Theater, I felt a synchronicity. I found a home,” Sharon Glassman said.
Said Dr. Barry Glassman, “It’s not the building. It’s the heart. It’s the children. It’s the humanity.
“The building will allow the humanity to continue long after we’re gone,” he said.
The Civic event included a silent auction and live auction. Auctioneer was Ray Starner.
Patrons enjoyed an extenstive buffet provided by Catering by Karen Hunter.
The Event Committee was Margaret McConnell, Chair, and Williams Childs, Maria DeFebo-Edwards, Briana Edwards, Julie Mohr Emin, Sharon Lee Glassman, Shirley Kline, Susan Kovacs, William Sanders, Jonathan T. Shehab, Jason Sizemore, Marie Ann Sutera-Wendells and Maureen Wendling.
Gold sponsors were Novus Medical Aesthetics and Alvin H. Butz, Inc. Silver Sponsors were The Morning Call, Dr. Barry and Sharon Lee Glassman, Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC, and Lafayette Ambassador Bank.
Email press releases and coverage requests about galas and fund-raisers for the “Good Cause” column to: Paul Willistein, Focus editor, at: email@example.com