The flawless Lucinda Williams, executive director, and Mark Mobley, director of community engagement, were both atwitter over the Delaware Symphony Orchestra’s opening night at The Grand Opera House—especially the surprise finale featuring an abdominally gifted aerialist named Angel. “We usually have the spirits of former performing greats flying about the theater,” Lucinda said. “Tonight we have an angel.”
DSO’s opening night is always an event, but this year’s, billed as “The Night of All Nights,” by all accounts surpassed its promise. DSO and principal sponsor ING Direct presented an original, collaborative program that melded the talents of the symphony—led by ever-popular conductor David Amado—guest soloist Jeremy Denk on piano, and the dazzling performers and artists of Cirque Productions.
On Market Street outside The Grand, guests including Tatiana and Gerret Copeland were greeted by circus tents, The Johannes Brass band, body-distorting funhouse mirrors, and large, balloon sculpture clowns—all a hint of the fun and frivolity to be had inside.
The excitement was expressed perfectly by an effervescent Synthia Wong, co-chair of the evening’s design committee and wife to ING CEO Arkadi Kuhlman, as well as Nicholas Cerchi, a former DSO president. Gala co-chairs Ann and David Hamilton emphasized that such creative events are an integral part of Wilmington’s social and cultural renaissance.
Once inside the lobby of The Grand, attendees were greeted by servers clad in pink sequins who offered Cirquetinis and adult snow cones in two yummy flavors. Judging by the duration of the audiences’ standing ovation, their perseverance at the symphony-hosted after-party, and the many who strolled a block up Market Street to the Exchange on Market Restaurant to dance the night away with several of Cirque’s friendly and fabulously fit stars, the evening was truly a night of all nights.
Page 2: Lighting it Up
Your Gabby performed a bit of a trapeze act herself, speeding up Kennett Pike from DSO’s opening night to Longwood Gardens for the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition’s 10th annual Northern Lights of Life.
The evening of Living and Giving included a live auction and fashion show featuring breast cancer survivors as models escorted by their cancer treatment physicians. Guests were greeted by beautiful, smiling portraits of the model-survivors flatteringly captured in black and white.
Good friend Cindy DelGiorno’s glamorous photo proved that she is indeed ready for her Hollywood close up. (Perhaps husband, Gordon DelGiorno, of Film Brothers fame, could do something about that. Gordon?)
Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were stationed throughout Longwood Gardens’ conservatory. Ballroom columns, washed in pink light, were especially dramatic at night. Guests met, mingled, sipped and (almost) tripped. (Watch those floor grates, ladies. They’re hell on heels.) Stationed among all the greenery were Mario Rispoli and the pretty women of Salon Rispoli, who were busy embellishing many a guest’s hair with hot pink extensions, with all proceeds donated to DBCC. Among the extended was platinum-headed Delebrity chef Dan Butler, whose pink highlight, added just before the auction began, proved to be good luck. His donation, a progressive dinner for eight at all four of his restaurants, sold for $4,800 not once, not twice, but three times, first to the happy crowd at John E.B. DuPont’s table.
Other big-ticket items on the auction block were tickets to the Country Music Awards Songwriter Series and a guitar signed by artists Vince Gill and Kenny Chesney, a football autographed by Peyton, Eli, and Archie Manning, and a No. 8 Orioles Jersey signed by Cal Ripken. Guess you could say that the women of DBCC know how to get to their men—if not through their stomachs, then through sports.
Survivor Mario Cruz-Rivera was quick to inform us that the men of the DBCC—yes, men—have recently started a support group of their own. He said guys are more comfortable exchanging information via the Internet than getting warm and fuzzy in a face-to-face group. On the runway, Mario got the crowd going with his GQ poses and dark shades. It was evident that all of the model-survivors—men and women—relished the joy that battling and beating cancer can give a person.
DBCC executive director Vicky Cooke, a 15-year survivor, was overcome by the generosity of her staff, volunteers, auction donors, sponsors and everyone who helped in organizing the event, including K.M. Klocko & Associates. Vicky enjoyed planning Northern Lights so much, planning for Southern Lights in Dover would start on Monday morning. DBCC, she told the crowd, aims to replace fear and doubt about breast cancer with knowledge and hope. Bravo. We were very glad to see Vicky place the winning bid on the “Anywhere in the World” Interval International timeshare donated by Bank of America. She deserved it. Ciao for now.
Page 3: First State Fashion Plate
The Belles and Beaus of the Balls