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.