Date: Saturday February 28th.
This year’s Love And Hope Ball was the 30th Anniversary of the Ball, the main fund-raising event for the Diabetes Research Institute here in Miami, Florida.
he evening began by meeting the others sharing the BGFC’s table—no small feat for me, given my confinement to a wheelchair due to my broken leg (my eternal thanks to those who helped me beyond the call that night—you know who you are!). Meeting outside the cocktail/reception room, we picked up our place cards, each of which was decorated with pearls and rhinestones, signifying the 30th anniversary, and containing our table assignment.
While waiting for the cocktail reception to begin, many of us had our pictures taken at one of the three areas where professionals were taking photos of attendees against beautiful pink backgrounds.
n entering the reception, various members of the Love and Hope Committee were waiting to greet the attendees, welcoming them and thanking each for coming.
Many smaller tables were set up about the room, with some reserved for those on the Committee, including Linda Gibb.
In the middle of the room stood a lavish buffet, with each end graced with a beautiful ice sculpture.
The buffet included various imported cheeses, fruits and crudités, carved rack of lamb, various pastas, oysters on the half-shell, shrimp, various breads, prime rib, and more. Linda, Barbara, and Ali Gibb, May Gray, Sasha Stewart, Noeleen Batley Stewart and her husband Stephen, and a friend of Ali’s sat at Linda’s table, along with various Ball dignitaries at various times.
The room was filled with flowers, and two open bars dispensed drinks and martinis.
The ballroom was decorated in lavender, white, and pearls.
Each table was centerpieced with lavender and white roses, larkspur, orchids, and greenery.
Tables at the back also had a “palm tree” in the centerpiece, composed of a stem of white pearls and leaves of white lights. The table was set with a rose ice sculpture at each place, which held a jar of black caviar, decked with a rosebud, and a blue battery-operated LED under the ice.
Plates of breads and assorted items, such as sour cream and scallions, for use with the caviar also decked the tables. While we ate our appetizers, the dance band played, then Bob Soper of Miami television station WFOR acted as Master of Ceremonies to introduce various Love and Hope scientists and dignitaries.
The main course of a half Maine lobster and small filet mignon, asparagus, potatoes al fromage, and zucchini tips with whipped orange squash was then served. After the main course, came of course what fans were waiting for.
Peter Graves and his orchestra, along with Matt Bonelli, Alan Kendall, Steve Rucker, and Hal Roland, took the stage. Peter then introduced the evening’s entertainment, Mr. Barry Gibb! Barry took the stage in a black tux with a black T-shirt, looking stunning with his long, silver hair.
He opened the show with “That Old Black Magic”, sounding strong and confident.
He continued the show by dedicating the next four songs to his family, all of whom (Stevie, Gloria, and Nina; Ashley, Terese, and Lucas; Travis, Michael, and Ali) were there:
“As Time Goes By”
“You Make Me Feel So Young”
“Three Coins In The Fountain”
“The Way You Look Tonight”
then continued with:
“Secret Love” (the old classic)
“Days of Wine and Roses”
arry then took to a stool, and began to talk about Maurice.
He said that to him, "Maurice was not a Bee Gee...Maurice was my brother. I am not very good at discussing my feelings, but this song says how I feel about Maurice..."
Barry then began the song "Send In The Clowns", while a video highlighting Mo’s life played on the large video screens at either side of the stage. Barry was visibly moved throughout the song, and most everyone in the room was in tears. At the conclusion of the song, Barry (and Maurice) received a standing ovation.
Barry then continued with:
"Strangers In The Night"
"In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning"
Barry then said goodnight, waving, and left the stage.
He returned to sing as an encore:
"My Kind Of Town"
"Swinging On A Star" (the evening’s theme)
Then he again bid us all goodnight, thanked us for coming, and waved to all areas of the room. Barry looked in fine form, and he has never sounded better, vocally. Most importantly, he seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself on stage!
he evening concluded with more from the dance band, while a magnificent dessert was served to all.
The dessert consisted of various shapes of white and dark chocolate, all formed to suggest land and stars (made out of sugar glass), with a mound of chocolate mouse with orange/mango mouse inside.
It was entirely edible, though I didn’t see anyone who did eat it all!
Finally, all of the women were given the “Savoir Faire” publication, with all of the Love and Hope honorees and dignitaries pictured and detailed, the Love and Hope Journal, where the supporters (including the BGFC) can purchase ads to further donate to the DRI, and a gift from sponsor Saks Fifth Avenue---a sterling silver star which acts as a business card holder.
All in all, it was a magnificent, memorable night!
More details and many more pictures will be in the BGFCTM's Dimensions magazine!