Themed “Together We Are One,” the 2010 Angel Ball drew 400 party-goers to the Naples Grande last Saturday night. And were they ever one, as they jockeyed for positions in the hotel’s second floor foyer reception and later in its ballroom.
A gigantic origami creation suspended above auction tables and floral
Arrangements with Birds of Paradise that Rufino Hernandez of the Garden District described as “Roots and Wings” helped heighten the mood.
From the annual event’s inception staged under a tent on the Naples Beach Hotel’s Watkins lawn back in 1984, it continues to draw parents and “grands,” alums, faculty, and even a long-treasured nanny now and then. This year was special since scholarship recipient Paige Miles, a 2004 CSN graduate and “American Idol” finalist, was featured entertainer. Her mother Emma Miles, aunts, a niece and a sister-in-law all came as well. Aunt Kendra Williams explained that from grandmother Mary Hill on down, they and Paige had all sung with the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church choir here in Naples.
While the invitation suggested black tie for men, the obviously younger crowd than in years past took considerable license in interpreting that fashion edict. Meanwhile, the women went all out: Cheryl Payne choose black ruffles all the way to the floor from Saks. Jennifer Sullivan found a flowing, strapless Halston and fanciful Oscar de la Renta earrings; Rebecca Lambert popped down to Nordstroms in Miami for a scarlet number with distinctive black, white and silver paillettes. Charlotte Grant was in diamante-accented aubergine bought in Bal Harbour.
During dinner, a beaming John Zeller who began his CSN tenure as a chemistry teacher 25 years ago and is now head of school addressed the assemblage, describing his rewarding relationship with the school.
Live auction action took place under the gavel of Lorna Kelly, a former Sotheby’s auctioneer. The eight packages offered along with silent auction income garnered a total of more than $250,000. Biggest ticket items: an ”Abaco Escape,” which was picked up for $23,000 and then offered a second time for the same amount. A 12-day, customized “Inside China” excursion for two couples or a family of four went for $30,000.
Going, going gone at $11,000: a “Storybook Wine Cellar” comprising an extensive, donated collection of rare and exotic wines. And an annual tradition, the opportunity for a child and pet to shine as cover personalities for the 2011-12 CSN calendar, brought in an astounding $30,000.
Miles’ onstage performance drew all to the front of the room where they wildly gyrated, cheered and clapped as long as she sang. This Angel Ball Concert was coordinated and directed by Mark Danni, director of the theater department, mentor to Paige and, for this particular night, drummer in the band.
Jane Badger, CSN associate director of development, estimated that net proceeds, including ticket sales at $500 per person, auction income and money from a $10,000 tuition credit drawing, will exceed $500,000. This income insures that scholarship aid can be given to nearly 25 percent of the CSN student body.