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Across Town

More gatherings and notable events...

Monday, December 22, 2003

Young Professionals Winter Gala

Inspired by the success of the summer's "Martini Affair," the Urban League Young Professionals-Pittsburgh hosted its first annual "Winter Gala" Saturday night at the Rivers Club. Freezing outdoor temperatures failed to deter throngs of partygoers from heating up the dance floor, swaying to a mix of hip-hop, R&B and reggae, spun courtesy of WAMO DJ Nick Nice.

Lisa Kyle
Rob Epps, Errika Jones, Tracey McCants-Lewis and Ava Goggins
Click photo for larger image.

The group, whose membership soared following the successful soiree given during the League's national convention in July, aims to heighten the profile of young African American professionals in the city. More than purely social, ULYP also promotes political participation, financial literacy and community service among its 129 members. The glittering crowd of over 300 included event co-chairs Ava Goggins and Robert Epps, Urban League Young Professionals' national office holder Lanesha Anderson and husband Whitney, State Rep. Jake Wheatley, Jr., Bomani Howze, ULYP Pittsburgh President Errika Jones, Tracey McCants-Lewis, Natalie Solomon, Linwood Harris, Sheldon Ingram, Abe Naparstek, Michelle Coburn, Gregory Allen, and Wakanwa Nzambi. A portion of the evening's proceeds went to a Northview Heights family.

-- Cori Shropshire

Opera Gala

You better not cry, you better not pout, but it's OK to shout now that Santa Klausette has come to town. Mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti delighted guests at the Pittsburgh Opera Association's annual Christmas Gala when she appeared wearing a familiar red suit and singing classic carols.

As she handed out candy canes to good boys and girls, the smiles lit up the Duquesne Club's deco ballroom. Being a musically inclined gathering, everyone was happy to sing along, making it a merry moment in time, framed by poinsettias and the promise of a white Christmas. But all that harmony couldn't wait for Cornetti's Candlelight Musicale. Spontaneous singing erupted during the cocktail hour, as pianist Lesley Losacco (with Raymond) played. It's just the nature of the POA to be melodiously vocal. A key indicator of this perfect party mode was when POA president Kathleen Reshmi (with Dr. Chandra) had trouble quieting everyone down to begin the program. Happy for another successful soiree were chairs Barbara Norris (with Rod) and Ellie Murphy, who could relax and join in the fun once dinner was served.

Pam Panchak, Post-Gazette
Party chairs Barbara Norris and Ellie Murphy
Click photo for larger image.

Before those famous macaroons and a dark chocolate passionfruit Bome made it to the tables, Gloria Ley (with George) and Betty Demchek got their just desserts and became the first recipients of the newly established Bravo Awards. Listening to Swing Shift instead of sleigh bells were Loretta and Ed Crum, Ann Connelly, Dr. John and Dolores Smith Barber, Sally Buchanan, Gene Sachs and Edmund Smith, Edith Hughes, Dr. Ed Farrell with Cathy Sciulli, Anita and Ross Dacal, Lilian Didomenico, Clara and Bill Jelinek, Louise Meme, Virginia and John DiPucci, Marjorie Hughes, Gloria Schneider, Kathleen and David Elias, Corinn Lyon, Barbara and Joe Mistick, Dr. Joseph and Heidi Novak, Pearl and David Figgins, Audrey Ciripompa, Dr. John and Michel Franklin and Paul Gitnik.

-- Patricia Sheridan

Holiday in Harrisburg

During this holiday season, Gov. Ed Rendell is hosting various events at his residence in Harrisburg. Last Tuesday he and first lady Midge Rendell welcomed the media and other communications experts. Guests including Father Christmas, a k a Bart Wittorff, nibbled on bruscetta and crudites while enjoying music from the Reunion Jazz Ensemble in the state reception hall. The hall is decorated with an edible confection of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood made by the students at Harrisburg Community College, and a Christmas tree covered with knitted sweaters made by students from elementary schools in mid-state.

The affair, which had grown crowded and raucous in recent years, was a much smaller and more intimate party that allowed the first couple to mingle with the state's top government reporters including John Baer, Brad Bumstead, Mike Race, Mario Cattabiani, John Sullivan, John Micek, Meredith Thompson, Jolene Risser, Ray Smith, Pete Jackson, Brett Marcy, R.B. Swift, Tara Curtis, Sue Gvozdas, and the Post-Gazette's own Tom Barnes and Bill Toland. In the crowd from the administration were Jane Crawford, press secretary at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Penny Lee, Kate Philips, Mike "Spike" Lukens, Keith Pierce and Eveline Sweet. By far, the most popular guests at the party were Ginger and Mandy, the Rendell family pets, each adorned in a sweater that said "Santa's Top Dog."

-- Johnna A. Pro

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