Stepping Out With Bernadette Peters for College of the Desert

Event launches $3 million dollar “Changing Lives Campaign”

Bernadette Peters meets up with Carol Channing back stage at the College of the Desert anniversary performance.

Photo by Ethan Kaminsky


A sold out crowd stepped up for College of the Desert (COD) and attended a performance by Bernadette Peters Feb. 19 at the McCallum Theatre in celebration of the college’s 30th anniversary.

The gala evening began early with two pre-performance receptions, one hosted by Diane and Hal Gershowitz at their magnificent estate at Big Horn Golf Club and another in the Founders Room at the theatre. While Peters was the big entertainment draw, those who attended the Gershowitz party were entertained by operatic aria favorites sung beautifully by “Three Singing Waiters”.

The evening was chaired by Diane Gershowitz and JoAnn McGrath. A pre-show video highlighted many of the COD students who have gone on to major careers in business, the service industry, and the arts since graduation.

One of these is Jesus Polominos, a blind graduate and inspired musician who performed at the Gershowitz home before his on-stage introduction by COD president Joel Kinnamon. Polominos is studying for his Masters Degree and told the COD supporters, “You are changing lives.”

Peters was best performing songs from the Broadway shows in which she had starred.
College of the Desert Foundation has embarked on a $3 million “Changing Lives Campaign” headed by philanthropists Donna MacMillan and JoAnn McGrath to support student success at COD. More than 10,000 students seek higher education at COD each year.

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