The impeccable details of the Black and White Ball to benefit the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition were a tribute to co-chairs Helene Galen and Jamie Kabler and VWIPC president Peggy Cravens held Feb. 23 at Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort.
JoAnn McGrath was Honorary Chair to a stellar evening that will long be remembered by arts supporters, especially the performance by Scott Cuellar, last year’s VWIPC solo division winner, and remarks by honoree Harold Matzner, who spoke on the importance of music in a child’s life and the benefits received by VWIPC winners.
“Most competitions just give prize money, but this competition arranges concert performances that help to shape a young artist’s career,” he said.
Cueller’s win last year included a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City underwritten by Wells Fargo – The Private Bank and attended by VWIPC supporters including Matzner. The honoree’s contribution to the arts includes being chairman of the McCallum Theatre, vice chair of the Palm Springs Art Museum, and chair of the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
A superb dinner and décor that included piano ice sculptures on every table surrounded by orchids provided by floral designer Marc Byrd added to the elegance of the evening. With the dance floor in the center of the ballroom, guests were able to easily dance to the music of the Doc Poster Orchestra following Cuellar’s performance.
The evening’s major sponsors were H.N. & Frances C. Berger Foundation, Matzner, Donna MacMillan and Bill Nicholson, Galen and Kabler, Sirpuhe and John Conte Foundation, Joan Dale and RD Hubbard, Dorothy and Harold Meyerman, Judy and John Ernst, Patti and Jack Grundhofer, and JoAnn Wellner. Thanked for continuing sponsorship of the Waring Competition were the city of Palm Desert, The Annenberg Foundation, Wells Fargo-The Private Bank, H.N. and Frances C Berger Foundation, and Highland Street Foundation – McGrath.
The mission of the Virginia Waring International Piano competition is to recognize and nurture the career paths of gifted young pianists from around the world. Outreach programs for area schools support the continuing musical education of youth through exposure to classical music performances by talented young competition winners.