Central City Opera Guild honors Barbara Ferguson at Gala starring FORTE
By Glory Weisberg
Central City Opera set a new standard for local nonprofit event fundraisers when they had their Theatre of Dreams Gala, featuring FORTE performers.
The three first appeared on last year’s America’s Got Talent and many viewers and critics think they should have won the talent contest. FORTE members Sean Panikkar, Josh Page and Fernando Varela have already performed at Carnegie Hall and for the president at the White House.
At the gala they sang opera pieces as well as memorable tunes from the Top 40 recorded by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones and Paul Anka.
Sean Panikkar is a former Central City Opera Apprentice. The threesome acknowledged the importance of serious music and support for Central City Opera.
At this gala there was a refreshing cadre of young supporters who lingered after the concert and dinner to have their own after-party complete with a live band pumping out numbers that filled the dance floor.
The Central City Opera Guild 40th Anniversary celebration saluted present Central City Opera Guild President Denise Sanderson, past presidents and specifically honoring Barbara Ferguson for her dedication to CCO from day one.
In her words to the seated guests, she credited Junior League and Sally Rippey for helping get Central City Opera going.
Credit for the successful anniversary gala goes to gala chair, Anne McGonagle and her extensive committee members saluting past CCO Guild presidents. Posing for formal and informal photos, the group had a hard time standing still, so eager to be together recalling great memories. Their smiles and chatter were infectious as onlookers got into the action and took their own photos. It was a photographers’ dream collection including Sandy Wischmeyer, Sharon Martin, Nancy Parker, Susan Stiff, Georgeann Victor, Trish Millice, Pam Bansbach, Barbara Danos, Christina Dinegar, Chris Bearman Von Wald, Julia Secor, Kathy Flores and of course, Mrs. Ferguson and Mrs. McGonagle.
The dress code was creative black tie. Great idea as men got into it by wearing colorful socks, and perhaps the greatest, Dr. Lynn Taussig, in a Mickey Mouse print shirt.
This was a three-story success at the McNichols event sight, using every inch of the bare bones facility for cocktails, dinner, entertainment and post-party. Credit here should be shared with Heather Brecl, assistant director of marketing.