To the Editor:
On behalf of the board of directors of the Connecticut Dance School in Fairfield, I would like to thank everyone who participated in this year’s annual benefit performance: Dances to Celebrate Spring, on Friday, March 15, 2013. We were thrilled to return to the Westport Country Playhouse again this year, which was followed by a beautiful reception and silent auction in the adjacent barn.
This event, attended by 290 patrons, had 86 vendors, donating goods and services for our silent auction, enabling CDS to continue its outreach and scholarship programs. Thanks to everyone’s generosity, over $16K was raised towards our mission.
For the 16th year in a row, CDS transported over 1,500 Bridgeport school children to the Quick Center, Fairfield University, for two performances of The Nutcracker. To put this in perspective, our performance was the only trip many of these children had the entire year due to a severe lack of funding. This is only one of the grants that our school provides.
Some of our silent auction vendors included our own, Elizabeth Gaynor, whose vision and hard work began CDS, contributed several hand painted canvases that were auctioned that evening. Alan Woodard, Director, contributed ten needlepoint pillows he had crafted throughout the year -- in both cases, bidding wars ensued.
As with any of these evenings, there are the unsung heroes that make the event possible. Michele Purcell, Jane Steimer and Valerie Pullman were the real co-chairs and deserve the accolades.
Wendy Probert, together with Melissa Morris Petrafesa, perfectly paired and staged auction items. Pam Furth and Connie Cholewczynski masterfully worked behind the scenes as stage managers, making sure the right dancers were ready, with the right costumes, at the right time—and then some.
The barn was made over by the very talented Meg Smith, an understatement given the level of detail and beauty in its transformation. Luci Nardone managed the delicious food donations, and what a bounty it was. Colleen Fecke managed our baked goods. I can’t forget Theresa Ross and Dodie Pettit, who helped wherever and whenever we were lacking.
Our charming bartenders were quick to pour, kept the conversations lively and the guests hydrated, Bill Probert, John Brandt and Patrick Keleher. Jean Gaynor did a superb job keeping the bars stocked aplenty. Our musical accompaniment during the reception was brought to you by classical guitarist, David Webster and brothers: Nathyn, Jothym and Stephyn Velazquez.
Teachers make a difference. Alan Woodard, Moira Murphy Wright and the entire teaching staff of CDS, work with the students daily, bringing out the best in each and every one of our kids. Their dedication, patience and vision inspired us all and the perfect performance was the result.
Lastly, I like to thank my husband, Jeff Dean, who continually supports me when I take on tasks that no one else will.
Chairman of 2013 Annual Benefit
CDS Board of Directors Member