YPO Celebrates 60 Year Anniversary with ‘Diamonds and Divas’ Gala

Aaron & Lee Damus

It was truly a Diva’s night to shine. Two hundred fifty of Miami’s leading philanthropists and opera lovers gathered at the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove to celebrate Young Patronesses of the Opera’s 60th Diamond Jubilee “Diamonds & Divas” Gala. A beautiful diva decked in diamonds and a skirt of champagne glasses greeted each guest with the sparkling libation donated by Bacardi.

Guests bid on a dazzling assortment of auction items including African Safaris, European River Cruises and fabulous diamonds. As the Drew T Band played “ Shine Bright Like a Diamond” guests walked down a white glittery carpet to the ballroom that was aglow in sparking white décor” to start the “Diamonds & Divas” Gala.

Justin Moss, Florida Grand Opera’s Broward Director of Productions, was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening’s festivities. Moss introduced Co-Presidents and Gala Chairladies, Barbara Reese and Debbie Campbell who thanked the crowd for supporting YPO’s 60th Anniversary. The Gala’s Diamond Divas sponsors were Betty Brody, Bunny Bastian, Mr. and Mrs. Dan Bell, Brenda Nestor Castellano and Mr. and Mrs. Paul DiMare. Additional sponsors for the event included, Bacardi, Morris Broad Foundation, Gibraltar Private Bank and Trust, and List Family Foundation.

The highlight of the evening was a special guest performance by Broadway sensation and opera star, Lisa Vroman. Vroman, who performed Phantom of the Opera on Broadway for more than a decade, shared her gift of music with a mini concert including renditions of Broadway favorites “Music of the Night,” “I Feel Pretty,” and “My Favorite Things.”

Anita & Morris Broad

During the evening, YPO’s illustrious Past Presidents were honored for their dedication to promoting opera education in our community. Those in attendance were: Loraine Kayal, Christy Powell, Maria Carbonell, Janis Ramirez, Donna Cullen, Linda Levy Goldberg, Patricia Pita, Janice Russell, Susan Wampler, Barbara Reese, Holly Evans, Debbie Campbell, Julie Todaro, Lee Ann Schaffhausen, Rebecca Spinale, Kristin Podack, Patricia Mederos and Lisa Wheeler.

The sparkling soiree was topped off with a confetti drop which was followed by dancing to the sounds of the Drew T Band.

For 60 years, YPO’s mission of promoting the love of opera in the community has been kept alive through their renowned educational programs in the elementary schools. This year the In-School Opera program is celebrating its 40th Anniversary of bringing opera education to over 35 elementary schools in Dade and Broward County.

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