News From Masters

Spring Gala a Huge Success
Posted 05/01/2017 12:00PM

Masters’ Spring Gala on April 27 set new School records for fundraising and attendance, giving a significant boost to efforts to sustain the future of our School. 

A gracious Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas P'18, '21 served as honorary co-chairs of the festive “Sustaining Our Future” event, held in a Fonseca Center gymnasium elegantly decorated for the occasion. The highly successful evening was organized by a Gala Committee composed of 16 parents, with Trustees Michelle DeLong P’17 and Keryn Norton Mathas P’19, ’21, ’22 serving as co-chairs. Christina Camardella, Director of Development and Engagement Programs, was also a key player who helped plan and oversee the gala.

Some 500 families, alumnae/i, faculty and staff members enjoyed dinner, entertainment by Masters’ talented students, and spirited bidding on an array of fantastic auction items donated by community members. Moreover, several lucky guests won unique, grade-level raffle baskets chock-full of items contributed by parents.

“I’d like to tether this evening to our mission, a mission that serves as a compass for everything we do,” Head of School Laura Danforth said in introductory remarks. “We’re all here to be a power for good in the world, and the world needs this from us – and from our children.”

Ms. Zeta-Jones, who also served as emcee of the gala, said: “As a parent, I share your enthusiasm for this very special place. Our children are thriving here, and as our mission states, it is here that they learn, strive, dare, do – all with the ultimate goal of being a power for good in the world….Our children are also striving here, not to be just good citizens but to be great citizens.”

Dobbs 16, the Preludes, Jazz Band, the Middle School Orchestra, and the String Ensemble performed during the evening, adding to the lively atmosphere. Ms. Zeta-Jones introduced each group as it took the stage.

The eighth grade members of Preludes, the Middle School’s musical theater troupe, performed Stephen Schwartz’s “The Spark of Creation.” The Middle School Orchestra and the Upper School’s String Ensemble joined forces to perform Richard Meyer’s “Festival Rondo.” Dobbs 16, Masters’ co-ed contemporary a cappella ensemble, performed next. Rounding out the entertainment was the Jazz Band, which performed “The Bird” by Anderson Paak and “You’re Everything” by Chick Corea. 

Before and during the gala, attendees and other community members bid during live and silent auctions on once-in-a-lifetime experiences, vacation packages, cultural events, artwork, jewelry, sports activities, music and sports lessons by Masters faculty, and more. One auction item was a walk-on role in Martin Scorsese’s next feature film, The Irishman. Mr. Scorsese P’18, who donated this special experience, was among the gala attendees.

Ms. Zeta-Jones hopped up to the stage to initiate the bidding on the “A Star is Born” experience. “I’m starting the bidding because this is the only way I’m going to get into one of Marty’s pictures,” she joked. After a round of rapid-fire bidding, a lucky guest won the opportunity to appear in the mob drama, which will reunite Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.

Mr. Douglas also addressed the gathering. Standing in front of the stage, he described the fun details of an auction item he had donated: an invitation to visit the set of Marvel Studio’s Ant-Man and The Wasp! and to attend its premiere this summer.

“I will personally give you the tour,” said Mr. Douglas, who will reprise his role as Dr. Hank Pym in the Ant-Man sequel. It didn’t take long for the highest bidder to snap up the invitation. 

Another bidder scored four tickets to a Chris Rock show in Atlantic City – complete with a backstage visit with the popular comedian and Masters parent, whose daughter attends the Upper School. Mr. Rock, who was unable to attend the gala, sent a pre-recorded video message in which he encouraged the gathering to support the School by bidding on the “VIP Package” that he donated.

Among the items sold during the silent auction were an “Irish Getaway;” a seven-day stay at the Enchantment Resort and Spa in Sedona, Arizona; ski trips to Vail, Colorado and Stratton, Vermont; a backstage tour of the Metropolitan Opera House, and a sailing adventure on Warrior Won, an award-winning racing yacht.

Attendees also pledged thousands of dollars in cash donations to the School. Faculty and staff members were among those who pledged contributions. The proceeds from the gala will advance the School’s mission by supporting our campus, faculty and programs.

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