The ‘Grand Nights’ of Summer

The Whitehall Board of Regents presented their seventh annual Summer Celebration earlier this month. It is the time when they honor those who have made special philanthropic contributions to our community. The very first honoree was Libby Parkinson in 2011. In 2012, it was the Owsley Brown Frazier Foundation; 2013 – Dr. James R. Ramsey; 2014 – Debbie Scoppechio; 2015 – Kent and Kathy Oyler; and 2016 – James R. Allen.

It was a full tent of citizens who came to pay honor to the youngest honoree ever: Sandra Ann Frazier. Sandra is loved by all – and not just for what she has done for our town. She has the smile of an impish angel, the most generous heart in town and an A+ personality. Sandra truly cares about her friends and her community.

In her remarks in the program Whitehall Regent Laura Weir noted,  “Sandra is the founding and managing member of Tandem Public Relations and serves on the boards of 21st Century Parks, The Louisville Zoo, The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Leadership Louisville Inc., Boston University, Hollins College and the University of Louisville.

“Her commitment to her community includes serving on the executive committee and as secretary of the Bi-State Bridge Authority, co-chair of the Louisville Zoo’s Glacier Run Capital Campaign and as a co-chair of the 21st Century Parks Capital Campaign. Additionally, she is past board member of the Muhammad Ali Center, Actors Theatre, Greater Louisville Inc., the Speed Museum, The Nature Conservancy and the Downtown Development Corporation.”

In addition to honoring Sandra, the evening’s event was to raise money via admission tickets and a live auction for the preservation of the historic Whitehall mansion and its surrounding estate gardens. Major sponsor of the evening was The Glenview Trust Company along with Brown-Forman Corporation, Collecting Kentucky LLC, Louisville Zoo Foundation, Norton Healthcare, Sterling G. Thompson Co., Yum! Brands Foundation Inc., and many others.

IT WAS A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING

One of our town’s most charming, civic-minded and generous residents, who always prefers public anonymity, hosted a bus party to the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre in Lexington last week. Friends gathered for the trip and drinks were served along the way with delicious box dinners.     

Having not been to Lexington for ages, I was in for a surprise! The Singletary Center for the Arts at UK is wonderful. This year, it hosted the 25th annual production of “It’s a Grand Night for Singing,” a creation of the UK College of Fine Arts, UK Opera Theatre and Opera Lex. It always has performed to a packed house for all these years!

Dr. Everett McCorvey, D.M.A, who is the producer and executive director of UK Opera Theatre, conceived the show during the summer of 1993. It is a way of giving talented young performers from the University of Kentucky an opportunity to display their enormous talents and to present some of the great music of Broadway.

With a cast of 55 adults and children and a 24-piece orchestra, an almost three-hour production (including intermission) was presented featuring songs from 33 Broadway shows. A special featured performer was Ronan Tynan of the Irish Tenors. He has also been teaching voice at UK.

At the end of the show, the entire audience joined the cast in singing “It’s a Grand Night for Singing.” Thank goodness the words were in the program. There are six performances.   

In a word, the evening was absolutely fabulous! It really is worth the drive to Lexington the next time they have a performance, which will be a year from now. You will love it! I promise! In the meantime, the 25th Anniversary production was filmed by KET and will be aired sometime this fall. VT