Academy Ball a Huge Success

Adele Schaeffer with Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf

Adele Schaeffer with Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf

The Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball, which benefits both the Academy and The Philadelphia Orchestra, always takes place on the last Saturday in January. In 2016, two feet of snow forced the last-minute cancellation of the entire event. But this year was a banner year, and the turnout for the Academy’s 160th anniversary was overwhelming. About 2,000 celebrants enjoyed a memorable evening of music, food, entertainment and fun. [Read more…]

American Academy of Music Concert and Ball Raise $1 Million


Left to right: Mayor Michael Nutter and his wife Lisa with the Temple University School of Medicine’s vice president for development, Nina Weisbord, and dean, Dr. Larry Kaiser.

— article and photos by Bonnie Squires

More than $1 million was raised at the American Academy of Music’s 157th annual anniversary concert and ball in Philadelphia last weekend.

Despite bitter cold and snow-covered streets, the events attracted about 1,200 guests, including Mayor Michael Nutter and many Jewish philanthropists.

The event’s theme was “Preserving the Heritage,” and accordingly, the raised money will be used for installing a new HVAC system and other repairs to the historic Academy building — the first opera house built in the U.S.

The building resides in the Avenue of the Arts, and is often called the “Grand Old Lady of Broad Street.”

More after the jump.


Jimmy Schaeffer and his wife, Nicole Dresnin, with Jimmy’s parents, Adele and Harold, at the pre-concert reception.

The newly-appointed president of the Academy’s Board of Trustees, Adele Schaeffer, reigned over the evening. The Bacon Brothers — actor Kevin and composer Michael — served as the hosts on stage.

Another Philadelphia native, Grammy-award-winning singer, actress and poet Jill Scott, performed the song “Summertime” from the opera “Porgy and Bess,” and other material from her platinum-selling albums.

Maestro Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducted The Philadelphia Orchestra in a medley of Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story” songs.

Later that evening, the Bacon Brothers performed in front of the Eddie Bruce Orchestra, in the Bellevue Park Hyatt Hotel ballroom.


Left to right: Mitchell and Hilarie Morgan, Roberta and Carl Dranoff, and Renee and Joseph Zuritsky.

Ken and Nancy Davis in the lobby of the Academy building.


While Adele Schaeffer was busy in the receiving line, greeting hundreds of patrons, her husband was surrounded by some of their grandchildren.

John and Christina Saler, long-time Academy supporters.

Philadelphia Academy of Music Hosts Memorable Concert and Ball


No, the award-winning actor and star of Broadway and film, Hugh Jackman, is not Jewish, as far as we know, but we could not resist including him, backed up by maestro Yannick Nezet-Seguin, on the stage of the Academy of Music.

— article and all photos by Bonnie Squires

When the Academy of Music and The Philadelphia Orchestra held their annual Concert and Ball on Saturday, January 26, 2013, Jewish philanthropists and supporters of the arts were prominent on the scene. Their businesses, corporations, and family foundations were listed and depicted in the gorgeous program journal, where charities, schools, colleges, and other worthwhile community endeavors are photographed and sponsored.

The volunteers and executives in charge of the mammoth event were far-seeing enough to have booked Hugh Jackman as the main talent far in advance of his nominations for his role in “Les Miserables,” for the Golden Globe award (which he won), the SAG award and the Academy Award. Jackman’s energy and passion in rendering numbers from shows he has performed in, like “Carousel,” as well as his role as Jean Valjean, inspired maestroYannick Nezet-Seguin and the orchestra to match Jackman’s verve.

More after the jump.


(left to right) Dianne Rotwitt, PA First Lady Susan Corbett, and Diane’s husband Jeff Rotwitt, Esq., at the President’s Reception preceding the Philadelphia Orchestra concert.

At one point, the Philadelphia Boys Choir, in bright red jackets, came on stage to sing background for Jackman. He also treated the audience to the sight of his seven-year-old daughter coming out on stage, offering a silver platter with a Philly cheesesteak on it.

Even the First Lady of Pennsylvania, Susan Corbett, got in the act when Jackman danced over to her VIP box, twirled her around while he sand “Mack the Knife,” and then planted a kiss on her cheek, to the cheers of the audience.

As you turn the pages of the program journal, a prized coffee table publication, you come across many Jewish names. There were so many hundreds of people at all the various venues of the event that I only got to capture a few dozen in photos. Others were spotted across a crowded dance floor at the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue, being serenaded by the Eddie Bruce Orchestra (18 members strong).


Marjorie and Peter Ochroch raved about Hugh Jackman and maestro Yannick.


Nancy and Ken Davis were among the many hundreds of delighted supporters of the Academy of Music and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The spirit and generosity of the late Ambassador Walter Annenberg and his wife Leonore hovered over the entire event, from start to finish, with the restored chandelier and the renovated ballroom, beneficiaries of the Annenbergs vision and philanthropy.

Just as they did for the Barnes Foundation opening, the Jewish community showed strong support for the Academy of Music and The Philadelphia Orchestra, emphasizing the theme of this year’s event: “Celebrating New Beginnings.”


Delighted with the 156th Anniversary Concert and Ball  and the huge turn-out are (left to right) Carl and Roberta Dranoff with Terese and Senator Bob Casey.

The Zuritsky Family joined in the “Celebrating New Beginnings” event which ended up at the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue for dinner and dancing.  Here we see (left to right) Robert Zuritsky, CEO of the Parkway Corporation, with his wife Caroline, his mother Renee and father and founder of the firm, Joe Zuritsky.

Steve and Julia Harmelin  represented Steve’s law firm, Dilworth Paxson, which was one of the Major Sponsors of the evening.

(left to right) Joe Kluger and his wife Susan Lewis, a cultural arts reporter for WRTI-FM, joined Vada and Dave Conant at the gala.  Conant is general manager of Temple University’s WRTI-FM station.

Jeanette Lerman Neubauer and her husband Joe Neubauer,  Prime Sponsors of the Academy Concert and Ball,  greeted their friend Barbara Eberlein at the President’s Reception.

Bill and Lizzie Rubin joined Bill’s parents, Marcia and Ron Rubin, Benefactors of the event.

 

Academy of Music 155th Anniversary Concert and Ball


Major movers and shakers in Philadelphia’s economy were among the 1500 supporters at Saturday night’s 155th Anniversary Academy of Music Concert and Ball, including (left to right) Ron and Rachelle Kaiserman, Robert and Caroline Zuritsky, and Renee and Joe Zuritsky.

— by Bonnie Squires

Philadelphia’s premier white-tie event took place at the historic Academy of Music, preceded by receptions and dinner at the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue.

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 155th Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball featured the debut on the Academy of Music stage of. Music Director Designate Yannick Nézet-Séguin , with special guests multiple Grammy Award®-winners singer/pianist Diana Krall and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Tipping its hat once again to the first Academy concert, the program was a mix of popular and classical music, just as the 1857 opening concert was.

Jazz performer Krall surprised the audience by calling back on stage her friend and collaborator, Yo-Yo Ma, to the delight of everyone.

More after the jump.


Terese Casey, wife of Senator Bob Casey, and Felice Wiener

Yannick also had the Philadanco dancers, reflecting the rainbow of colores which lit the stage and columns of the Academy, perform to the strains of the orchestra.  A surprise finish was the appearance of the Society Hill Dancers, dressed in formal attire of the 1850s, doing a waltz.

The Jewish community was among 1500 supporters of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Academy of Music, an historic monument to music, opera and dance. The Gala evening began with a pre-concert dinner. Guests could choose from two exciting offerings this year: the President’s Cocktail Party and Dinner at the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue, or a Dine Around option, which allows patrons to dine at selected restaurants along the Avenue of the Arts, or on their own. In a nod to the Academy’s early years, and in a unique departure from recent history, both the Anniversary Concert and the Academy Ball were held entirely within the Academy of Music. A “symphony in three movements,” this unique evening gave attendees the chance to celebrate the “Grand Old Lady of Locust Street” within her very walls.

Public officials attending the evening included Governor and Mrs. Tom Corbett, Senator and Mrs. Bob Casey, a number of city and state officials, and corporate, cultural, arts organizations and philanthropic foundation leaders.


Christina and John Saler

The gala was co-chaired by Joanna McNeil Lewis, president and CEO of the Academy of Music,  and John R. Saler, chairman of Stradley and Ronon’s Government Affairs Practice Group, who also serves on the board of the Philadelphia Orchestra.


Corbetts greet Richard Worley, chairman of the Philadelphia Orchestra, with Joanna McNeil Lewis and John Saler, co-chairs of the Academy of Music Concert and Ball, in the background.

In the receiving line with the co-chairs and the Corbetts were Richard Worley, chairman of the Philadelphia Orchestra board of trustees, and Allison Vulgamore, CEO of the Orchestra.

The energy of Yannick, the Orchestra, the guest artists and the dancers enthralled the audience.  And the impressive program journal, reflecting the support of various segments of the community, was the parting gift as people finally left the Academy balls, held in various sections of the Grand Old Lady of Broad Street.

Photos credit: Bonnie Squires.


More photos
David and Susan Lipson Ken and Nancy Davis Ron and Marcia RubinHelen and David Pudlin, Esq.
Sandy and David Marshall, with Dianne and Jeff Rotwitt Scott and Lynne Mason with friends Pat and Rob Schaffer Harmelin Group

Academy of Music Concert and Ball

Marc Rayfield, head of CBS Radio in Philly, and his wife Nicole, joined friends Haley and David Adelman at the President's Reception in the Academy Ballroom.

Marc Rayfield, head of CBS Radio in Philly, and his wife Nicole, joined friends Haley and David Adelman at the President’s Reception in the Academy Ballroom.

— Bonnie Squires

The 154th Anniversary Academy of Music Concert and Ball on Saturday night, January 29, 2011, was supported by many members of the area’s Jewish community.  A list of the major sponsors, plus a bird’s-eye view of participants, highlighted the important role which the Jewish community plays in the cultural life of Philadelphia and the region.

Photos of these community leaders follow the jump.
Linda Scribner and her husband David Paskin, M.D., were the first in the Academy of Music Ballroom, as Linda, as director of the Academy of Music, seems to be in charge of everything that night.
Linda Scribner and her husband David Paskin, M.D., were the first in the Academy of Music Ballroom, as Linda, as director of the Academy of Music, seems to be in charge of everything that night.

Senator Connie Williams, now chair of the Philadelphia Museum of Art board, had a chance to chat with the museum's Joe Rishel at the Academy of Music.

Senator Connie Williams, now chair of the Philadelphia Museum of Art board, had a chance to chat with the museum’s Joe Rishel at the Academy of Music.



Senator Bob Casey and his wife Terese (center) arrived at the Academy of Music with Richard and Betsy Sheerer.
Senator Bob Casey and his wife Terese (center) arrived at the Academy of Music with Richard and Betsy Sheerer.



Hope Cohen and Richard Green go through the receiving line at the Academy of Music.

Hope Cohen and Richard Green go through the receiving line at the Academy of Music.



Gary Steuer, Philadelphia director of cultural arts in Mayor Nutter's cabinet, attended the festivities with his deputy, Moira Bayleson.
Gary Steuer, Philadelphia director of cultural arts in Mayor Nutter’s cabinet, attended the festivities with his deputy, Moira Bayleson.



David Eisner, the CEO of the National Constitution center, was on hand with his wife Lori.

David Eisner, the CEO of the National Constitution center, was on hand with his wife Lori.



Marsha and Jeffrey Perelman enjoying the festivities.  Jeffrey serves on the Academy of Music Committee.
Marsha and Jeffrey Perelman enjoying the festivities.  Jeffrey serves on the Academy of Music Committee.



David and Sandy Marshall in the receiving line, standing with Academy of Music preisdent and CEO Joanna McNeil Lewis and musician Michael Mills.  Sandy served as co-chair of the Academy Ball.

David and Sandy Marshall in the receiving line, standing with Academy of Music preisdent and CEO Joanna McNeil Lewis and musician Michael Mills.  Sandy served as co-chair of the Academy Ball.



Peter Nero, of the Philly Pops, chatted with philanthropist Anne Hamilton at the President's Reception.  Hamilton chairs the Academy of Music Committee.
Peter Nero, of the Philly Pops, chatted with philanthropist Anne Hamilton at the President’s Reception.  Hamilton chairs the Academy of Music Committee.



John and Christina Saler enjoyed starting the evening at the Academy of Music Ballroom.

John and Christina Saler enjoyed starting the evening at the Academy of Music Ballroom.  



In the Bellevue ballroom, following the reception and concert, are (l to r) Allan Greenspan, M.D., his wife Justice Jane Greenspan (ret.), and Howard Silverman.
In the Bellevue ballroom, following the reception and concert, are (l to r) Allan Greenspan, M.D., his wife Justice Jane Greenspan (ret.), and Howard Silverman.


Photos courtesy of Bonnie Squires