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All is Bright

| Monday, Dec. 22, 2008

In the twinkling of an eye, The Twenty-Five Club of Magee-Womens Hospital trumped the holiday swirl of soirees with Saturday's stunning black-tie at that model of refinement, The Duquesne Club. Model of refinement• Humbug ... the club glittered like a Victorian Christmas card with trees, sleighs, snowmen and a gingerbread re-creation of Downtown Pittsburgh. Yes, Virginia too much of a good thing is wonderful now when we need it most.

Tireless trailblazers with a core membership of 25, they sparkled plenty in entrance-making gowns and bijoux to match. These damsels have wrapped their generous hearts around the most fragile newborns in neonatal intensive care at MWH, the beneficiary of their acts of charity since 1939. As in recently endowing the hospital with a $2 million chair in neonatology research.

Ball chair Norma Sobel and co-chair Patti Matty (on the arms of Dr. Michael and Paul ) planned a swelegant 'do that had all the ambiance of a private party as it moved from cocktails in the garden patio that brimmed with poinsettias to the ballroom that was beribboned, beflowered and bespoke to "Unwrap the Season," the eve's theme.

Rachel Check of Hepatica floated bouquets of red and white roses that were spiked with ornaments and gaily wrapped presents high and low over tables covered in silver lame by Lendable Linens to smashing effect.

Virginia spots, filet mignon and Art Deco -- the wining and dining was as elegant as the setting. We would expect nothing less from the top-ranked city club in America. We would expect nothing less from the top-ranked city club in America.

Dreamscape struck up the band as our leading ladies reclaimed center stage in an anniversary tradition. Each member was presented and grandly waltzed across the floor to "Fascination." Then the tempo quickened, and guests were swinging 'til their patent pumps turned into glass slippers.

A peek at the guest list: 25C prexy Peggy Snavely with Steve ; MWH chief of neonatology Dr. Gary Silverman with Lisa ; Dolores Bold squired by Dr. Elliott Kramer and Bill Modrak ; Debbie and Mike Barbarita ; Linda and Tony Bucci ; Kathe and Jim Patrinos ; Judge Bob and Violet Gallo (she designed the fab ambiance!); Jean and Lou Astorino ; Susan and David Fitzsimmons ; Renee and Lucas Piatt ; Athena and Frank Sarris ; Veronica and Lou Guarino; Faye Sampson and Dennis Huber ; Heather and Randy Hillier ; Susan and Dr. Jon Watchko .

More of the naughty and nice: Carol Shriber and Chuck Snyder ; Cathy and Tony Renda ; Donna Murtha and Jim Ec ker; Barb Mendlowitz ; Joanie and Sam Kamin ; Teri and Chris Snavely ; Rhoda and Dick Neft ; Jennifer Grafe and Joe Salandra ; Judy and John Woffington ; Jan and Ernie Meade ; Clyde Jones ; Vickie and Gary Morrell ; Jackie Dixon and Reb Wilson ; Bonnie and Dr. John Kristofic ; Charlotte and Henry Beukema ; Beth Wainwright and Russ Kemerer ; Susan Castrioto and Mark Hamilton ; and Louise and Gerry Cipriani .

Seeing red and green.

Reindeer Ball

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house ... Santa dusted off his sleigh a few days early to make a special appearance at the Pittsburgh Mercy Foundation's Reindeer Ball last Sunday, where little girls with their curls and boys dressed in their best (some even sporting ties and tails!) promised he need not check his list twice to find out who had been less naughty and who had been quite nice!

On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen! Greeted by a Snow Queen on stilts and a flurry of Suzie Snowflakes, we found ourselves walking in a winter wonderland at the Westin Convention Center hotel where over 600 elves and elfettes (a sellout, my little sugar cookie) created works of art at Santa's Workshop and had their faces painted before dancing and prancing in Jingle Bell Square with Rudolph, Frosty and Mrs. Claus.

The merrymaking netted over $80K for A Child's Place , which serves and protects thousands of area children who have suffered from abuse and neglect. Candy canes to honorary chair Diane Holder ; Connie and Tom Murray with Cate ; Dr. Mary Carrasco ; MF chair Harry Goern with Camille ; Jan and Rocky Bleier with Elly and Rosie ; Mimi Colville with Caroline ; Gabriella Germinaro with Sofia and Ava ; Rob and Brenda Shema with Lindsey and Taylor ; Jack and Lois Riske with Julius and Alexis ; and Joan and Phil Joson with Lindsey , Chris and Andrew .

Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!

-- Kate Guerriero

A Joyful Sound

In this season of peace, lights and hope, there is also music. "He's one of the major rising artists of this country. You cannot pick up an issue of Opera News without finding him in it," beamed conductor and Grammy-award-winner Robert Page . Page was singing the praises of native son Liam Bonner (with lady fair Kelly Anderson ), who studied at Central Catholic High and CMU before landing at the Houston Grand Opera.

The Hollywood-handsome baritone (he'll be joining the Metropolitan Opera for its production of "Rusalka") was the drawing card of the Pittsburgh Opera Association 's magical Candlelight Musicale at the Duquesne Club. Accompanied by pianist James Burns , Liam wrapped that gorgeous voice around Christmas carols and then unleashed it in opera arias, to everyone's delight.

Friday radiated the joy of noel with caroling through cocktails, compliments of Dr. Lesley Losacco on the 88s, followed by superb wining, dining and dancing to Rick Purcell's terrific band for such as benefit chairs Barbara Norris (with Rob ) and Ellie Murphy (they've chaired this 'do for over 20 years!); POA prexy Dr. Saundra Stout with Bill ; Gloria and George Ley ; Nadine Bognar ; Rose and Dr. Joe Roarty ; David Savard ; Glynn Page (she and Bob were celebrating their 61st anniversary!); Dolores and Dr. John Barber ; Pearl and David Figgins ; Nessa Mines ; Virginia and Jack Kerr ; Sandi and Bernie Pinsker ; and Rose and Dr. Mike Kutsenkow .

All Jazzed Up

Baby, it sure was cold outside, but on Monday evening, we welcomed the winter blues with soulful notes from local artist Lisa Ferraro , who Jazzed Up Our Holiday with a tapestry of sound that took the bah right out of our humbug!

The Benny Benack III Band did a fab job of warming us up with some good ol' fashioned beedily bopping as we sipped vino with 277 of our closest jazzites at the Cabaret at Theater Square for the Familylinks Holiday bash. "Do you like my red shirt• It matches my eyes!" joked emcee Tony Mowod .

Proceeds ensure that thousands of area children and adults will continue benefiting from Familylinks' vast array of social services. Blue notes for CEO Fred Massey and wife Mary ; chairman Ralph Egerman with mother Geraldine ; Lynne Tocchet ; Rudy and Amber Agras ; John and Linda Stewart ; Chuck Kenrick ; Dr. Janet Squires ; Kelly and Tom Pipich ; and John Flanagan with Patti Singer .

-- Kate Guerriero

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