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Dozens Attend Friends Of Edmond Town Hall’s First Annual Gala



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Nonprofit group Friends of Edmond Town Hall hosted their first annual gala on Saturday, May 4. Dozens attended the event held in Edmond Town Hall’s Alexandria Room for a night full of food, music, and entertainment with the goal of raising money to renovate the town hall’s dressing rooms.

The event was one the Friends had been looking forward to, as they considered the dressing rooms to have been in poor condition for a while. As a group whose mission is to bring lively programming to the town hall while maintaining its historic integrity, they want to do what they can to help the building, The Newtown Bee was told ahead of and during the fundraiser.

Gala Chair Marcie Albanesi was ecstatic, she said, to help with the event and see the historic building’s dressing rooms get one step closer to being refreshed and rejuvenated.

“The money we raise tonight will get the dressing rooms into shape; they need it,” Albanesi said Saturday. “It’s time for a revamp and we need it so every artist and performer who comes through feels comfortable and welcome and gets the full experience.”

Live auction items included a four-course meal for up to eight people in someone’s home courtesy of STF Catering, LTD; three nights at the Kentucky Bourbon Trail for up to four adults, and four nights in Pawleys Island, S.C., in a cozy two-bedroom condo donated by Mike and Stacey Connors.

The Friends went all out in decorating the space to match the gala’s “A Formal Affair” theme. Small yellow candles perched on tables illuminated the hallway leading into the Alexandria Room.

The room itself was decorated with fancy rugs, leather chairs, and small tables paired with candles and flowers. Several sets of black, white, and silver balloons were propped up against the walls and by tables filled with silent auction items.

At the back of the room was the bar manned by Anthony Sartori and Miranda Daly, who were ready to serve signature cocktails and mocktails prepared by Good Old Days Pizza, alongside several different kinds of soda.

In the middle of the room was a table filled with stationary hors d’oeuvres including strawberries, crackers, meat, dip, and more. Servers also walked around all night handing out tiny passed hors d’oeuvres such as quesadillas and chocolate lava cake. All the food was catered by STF Catering, LTD.

Among those in attendance was interior designer Bradley Clayton, who has been hired to redesign the dressing rooms at Edmond Town Hall. He and his team aim to have the new dressing rooms honor the aesthetic of 1920s and 1930s America through both their color palette and furniture pieces, he told The Bee in April.

Each piece of furniture was selected to be timeless and long-lasting while still matching the building’s design so they can be used by countless performers for years to come.

When Clayton arrived at the gala, he was led to the town hall’s theater balcony and was stunned to see a slideshow of his dressing room design mock-ups. Prepared by Sartori, the slideshow played on the theater’s screen all night. Gala attendees were encouraged to walk into the theater and see what the future dressing rooms will look like.

Clayton said he teared up when he saw his work on display.

“Everyone on the board was just so excited about this design and how much joy it brought to so many people,” he said. “I’m also hoping on the other side of this that these rooms aren’t seen as some sort of storage locker, but that they’re also seen as a selling point for people to have a celebration.”

The Alexandria Room was filled with conversation, music, and laughs all night long. The event was hosted by Martin Blanco and guests sported their best semi-formal cocktail wear for the special occasion. The gala also featured live music performances by Jacob Clements and Keaton Eckhoff. Clements kicked off the start of the gala by playing songs on his guitar, while Eckhoff kept the momentum going by covering songs from Buddy Holly and Jimmy Buffett, among others.

By the end of the night, everyone was swaying along and singing together to “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond.

Friends Co-Chair Julie Brunelle said she was thrilled with the turnout and how much fun everyone was having.

“There were these two people who were dancing to one of the songs at the end of the night, and I told them that it was really lovely to see them dance. And then they said to me that it was their era; that they used to come up here and dance every second Sunday or so … in the late fifties or early sixties,” Brunelle said. “It was just amazing watching this event bring everyone together.”

Brunelle went on to say that she believes the May 4 gala is one step in the process of supporting Edmond Town Hall.

“In getting the money that we need to move forward with getting more of the items for the dressing rooms and also hiring professionals to do installations and stuff, I think we also got our name out there tonight. And it’s hard to put a price on that,” Brunelle said.

Reporter Jenna Visca can be reached at jenna@thebee.com.

Dozens of people attended the Friends of Edmond Town Hall’s first annual gala on Saturday, May 4. Held within the historic building’s Alexandria Room, the event was designed to help raise money to renovate the town hall’s dressing rooms. —Bee Photos, Visca
Anthony Sartori (left) and Miranda Daly worked the bar for gala attendees and were ready to serve signature cocktails, mocktails, and soda.
Musician Keaton Eckhoff (left) and host Martin Blanco do a kickline as Eckhoff performs one of his songs.
Erin Loucks (right), who helped support Martin Blanco in hosting, records the information of one of the live auction winners.
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