Winter Wonderful Gala 2017

Benefiting the Donna E. Shalala MusicReach Program

Leslie Miller-Saiontz, Dean Shelly Berg, Stuart Miller, President Julio Frenk, Jeffrey Miller

Over 300 of South Florida’s most philanthropic leaders, including Dr. and Mrs. Phillip Frost, and guests were treated to a magical evening of holiday carols and candlelight at the annual Frost School of Music’s Winter Wonderful benefit at the J.W. Marriott Marquis. The proceeds from this distinctive event support the Frost School of Music’s Donna E. Shalala MusicReach Program, which uses music as a motivating tool to provide underserved children and teens in Miami-Dade County with positive life choices and a gateway for higher education.

UM President Julio Frenk and the Dean of the highly-acclaimed Frost School of Music, Shelton G. Berg, presented the 2017 Frost Legacy Award to siblings Stuart Miller, Leslie Miller Saiontz, and Jeffrey Miller, in honor of their inspiring support of the Frost School of Music and the community at large. All three are following in the footsteps of their late parents, Leonard M. and Susan “Sue” Miller. The Millers are accomplished community and business leaders, philanthropists, and committed patrons of the arts and education in South Florida. Berg surprised the Millers with a special holiday treat on the piano, on the heels of his fifth Grammy nomination.

The Miller Family has left an indelible mark on the University of Miami with gifts totalling over $200 million since 2004, most notably to support what is now known as UM’s Miller School of Medicine and to establish the state-of-the-art Lennar Foundation Medical Center that brought the University of Miami Health System to UM’s Coral Gables campus, as well as an additional $50 million in 2015 to build the Miller School’s Center for Medical Education. In 2016, the family gifted $5 million to the Frost School of Music. In addition, their generous donation of a rare, early 18th-century Guarneri violin valued at $1.1 million and named the Sue Miller Violin, helped establish the Frost School of Music Instrument Collection, a donation program to encourage further giving for the purchase of additional fine and rare instruments. The new Miller Family String Quintet will be comprised of the school’s world-class performance fellows presenting on these historic string instruments.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez joined President Frenk and Dean Berg in presenting Lynda Gordon with a special award in honor of her late husband, Dr. Michael S. Gordon, founder of the Miller School’s Michael S. Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education, who revolutionized medical education around the world.

Highlights of the Winter Wonderful evening included a sparkling entrance that transported all to an enchanted cocktail reception with the Winter Wonderful Jazz Combo, followed by an elegant three-course dinner featuring holiday songs from around the globe performed by 150 Frost music students, including the Frost Choral Union and Holiday Orchestra, Frost Chorale, Stamps Brass Quintet, Frost Jazz Combo, Women’s Chorale, and Symphonic Choir. The evening also delighted all in attendance with a special musical presentation by MusicReach mentors and mentees and a surprise vocal performance by Frost School’s Office Manager of Music Media and Industry, Leticia Jack.

Bringing this event to life were Frost School of Music’s world-class faculty: Karen Kennedy, director of choral studies; Corin Overland, assistant professor of professional practice, choral studies and music education; Coreen Duffy, lecturer, musicology and choral studies.

Gala sponsors include Diamond Circle patrons Lynda Gordon and Family, Patti and Allan Herbert, and Paul and Swanee DiMare; Platinum Circle donors Bilzin Sumberg, Ambassadors Sue and Chuck Cobb, Joseph Deitch, Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services, Inc., Drs. Roger and Virginia Medel, The Miller Family, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and Robert and Judi Prokop Newman; and Gold Circle donors the Alma Jennings Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. Phillip T. George, the Kesselman Family, Osiason Educational Foundation, Inc., Jazz Roots-Hazel Rosen and Friends, Donna E. Shalala, Skanska USA Building, Inc., Grace Wang, M.D. and Steve Pabalan, M.D., President Frenk, and Donna Arbide of UM Advancement.

The Frost School invites all ardent patrons of the arts in South Florida to save the date for next year’s Winter Wonderful Frost Holiday Dinner on December 2, 2018. For more information, please visit To order gala tickets or tables, please call 305-284-9766 or email

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