Love, Music and Passion: Perfection At Boston Landmarks Orchestra’s 15th Anniversary Gala Celebration

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Sonia Tita Puopolo, Executive Director of Boston Landmarks Orchestra Jo Frances Meyer, Music Director Christopher Wilkins, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, and Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra Benjamin Zander
Sonia Tita Puopolo, Executive Director of Boston Landmarks Orchestra Jo Frances Meyer, Music Director Christopher Wilkins, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, and Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra Benjamin Zander

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

Love, music and passion created perfection on Saturday night, October 1, 2016 for the Boston Landmarks Orchestra as they held their 15th Anniversary Gala at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston, MA.  The evening was flawless! Bravo Boston Landmarks Orchestra!!

It was incredible to listen as the Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra Benjamin Zander spoke about love and music and introduced his best friend, honoree and music director Christopher Wilkins. And what an even greater gift to be present and watch as Christopher Wilkins received his award and expressed his passion and love for the Boston Landmarks Orchestra!  Authenticity and genuine loving kind emotion filled the air.

Sonia Tita Puopolo conducting Boston Landmarks Orchestra at the 15th Anniversary Gala, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA
Sonia Tita Puopolo conducting musicians of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra at the 15th Anniversary Gala, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

And in the history of the United States, regardless that we are in the midst of a Presidential political campaign season, that is more mind boggling than ever before, that didn’t deter the great David Gergen to be a guest speaker and remind us of the importance of hope, beacons of hope and people who inspire the betterment of humanity and goodness.  David Gergen, Senior Policy Analyst, CNN and Co-Director of the Center for Public Leadership, Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government certainly added in helping to make this moment not only memorable, but magical. “First time in history when it is easier to understand the politics of the Middle East…” said David Gergen and the entire room quickly filled with laughter.  He then added sadly, “who would’ve ever thought we would be talking about someone twittering at 3 o’clock in the morning – it is just beyond belief.”  However, encouragingly and most upliftingly, he added, “Yet, it equally is important to have an evening like this when we all recognize beacons of hope, among us, people who are not helping us understand how far down we can go, but people helping us to see how far up we can go, how high we can go as a people. And I have been asked to speak about Charles Ansbacher and especially about Swanee and I have always regarded them as real beacons of hope here in this community and throughout the world, they both have stood for good things, they have been steadfast in their commitment, they’ve always raised their sites…” and David Gergen continued, “When Charles was struck with his illness, I had the privilege of being invited to their home and having conversations on life and the meaning of life – where we were – one of the best sets of conversations I’ve ever had.  It was moving to hear how Yo-Yo Ma came and played at the end of his bed one of his favorite pieces but it was also important how Swanee and Charles would like to sit and just talk to each other and when asked one day, “If you were to give up five years of your productive life, then what cause would be good enough for you to support that?”, “what would be worth that sacrifice?”, Charles said, “I would give up five years, if we could bring music to every neighborhood in Boston especially to children,” and that is what he loved and believed in.” said David Gergen. And he then went on to talk about the sensational Swanee and how she has kept “Charles brightly alive in our memories.”

Indeed, Ambassador Swanee Hunt is not only an extraordinary woman, but a phenomenal woman too, and in the words of David Gergen, “This is a women making a difference.”  She is  a woman who has achieved remarkable accomplishments including as he particularly emphasized, “mobilizing women waging peace”.  She understands the importance of women in peace building and leadership roles as well as the fact that, “Women help create peace that lasts.” Swanee Hunt was the U.S. Ambassador to Austria from 1993 to 1997, and is the founding director of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, and as Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, she has made tremendous and amazing impact, has authored articles and books, and is an expert on subjects from children and cultural barriers to women, to development and diplomacy, to gender and peacekeeping, philanthropy, politics, and women in politics and women in security and much more.

Sonia Tita Puopolo, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, David Gergen, Benjamin Zander and Christopher Wilkins at 15th Anniversary Gala of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA
Sonia Tita Puopolo, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, David Gergen, Benjamin Zander and Christopher Wilkins at 15th Anniversary Gala of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

Ambassador Swanee Hunt and David Gergen, Senior political analyst for CNN and Professor of Public Service and Co-Director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Ambassador Swanee Hunt and David Gergen, Senior political analyst for CNN and Professor of Public Service and Co-Director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

Senior political analyst for CNN and Professor of Public Service and Co-Director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Sonia Tita Puopolo and David Gergen, Senior political analyst for CNN and Professor of Public Service and Co-Director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Photo Credit: Dana Bisbee

Boston Landmarks Orchestra
Boston Landmarks Orchestra

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

Ann and Graham Gund at the 15th Anniversary Gala of Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA
Special guests including Ann and Graham Gund, one of America’s leading architects and his wife who are active in various charities including the Boston Landmarks Orchestra.

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

Executive Director of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra with guests including Ann Gund
Executive Director of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Kitty Pell, and Ann Gund

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

Jo Frances Meyer and Swanee Hunt
Jo Frances Meyer and Swanee Hunt

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

It is with much respect and admiration that I share with my Haute Living readers how special it was to listen to the wisdom and words of the evening.  Swanee Hunt turned to her friend David, held the microphone, and said, “Can’t believe you would take the time…” as relates to David Gergen being there given his busy schedule especially now in the midst of a Presidential campaign season. Simply said, as Swanee shared her brilliance, her heartfelt and genuine words came shining through when she spoke about her first time meeting her late husband Charles Ansbacher, the founder of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra. It was an enormous privilege and honor to listen to her and to see her beam as she spoke of Charles and then to see the gratitude in her eyes, and observe the kindness in her words as she spoke of Chris Wilkins, was equally moving and in closing she said in the most eloquent way possible,  “…Charles had a seizure when he was conducting and he fell forward over his music stand and somehow or another Chris Wilkins had shot out of the chair next to me, behind the orchestra and he caught Charles, with his arms out stretched, so that is who Chris Wilkins is to me and “he is arms out stretched’ and I thank you all for your arms as you stretch them out not just to me, and not just to Charles, and not just to the orchestra, but to all the people in this whole region that Charles did in fact care so much about.”

Sonia Tita Puopolo, Jo Frances Meyer, Swanee Hunt and guests
Sonia Tita Puopolo, Jo Frances Meyer, Swanee Hunt, Paula Gold and Priscilla Douglas

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

 

Sonia Tita Puopolo, Executive Director of Boston Landmarks Orchestra Jo Frances Meyer, Music Director Christopher Wilkins, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, and Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra Benjamin Zander
Sonia Tita Puopolo, Executive Director of Boston Landmarks Orchestra Jo Frances Meyer, Music Director Christopher Wilkins, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, and Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra Benjamin Zander

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

Christopher Wilkins and Swanee Hunt dancing at 15th Anniversary Gala of Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA
Music Director Christopher Wilkins and Ambassador Swanee Hunt dancing at 15th Anniversary Gala of Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

Sonia Tita Puopolo and Trustees Chair of Boston Landmarks Orchestra Jeff D. Makholm
Sonia Tita Puopolo and Trustees Chair of Boston Landmarks Orchestra Jeff D. Makholm

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

Laura Connors and Guests at 15th Anniversary Gala of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA
Trustee Laura Connors and her Guests at 15th Anniversary Gala of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

15th Anniversary Gala of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA
Gala Co-Chair Appy Chandler with his guests, including Joe and Edan Davies, and beloved Boston Landmarks Orchestra Technical Director Emerson Kington

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

Superstar Singer from ZUMIX Angelina Botticelli conducting the Boston Landmarks Orchestra at the 15th Anniversary Gala, Saturday, October 1, 2016, at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA
Angelina Botticelli, superstar singer from ZUMIX as she is conducting the Boston Landmarks Orchestra at the 15th Anniversary Gala, Saturday, October 1, 2016, at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

The young superstar singer from Zumix named Angelina Botticelli, spoke about the profound impact that the collaboration between Zumix and Boston Landmarks Orchestra has had in her life and how she is exceedingly excited and looks forward to performing again soon. And of course Jo Frances weaved the entire evening together with her grace and elegance as she spoke about the Boston Landmarks Orchestra. The entire evening was bright because every moment shined with love and light. Whether it was the love, music and passion in the air, or the heartfelt speeches, the gala was superb!!

Program Director of ZUMIX, Jenny Shulman, Michelle Botticelli, Singer Angelina Botticelli, Sonia Tita Puopolo, Founder of ZUMIX Madeleine Steczynski
Program Director of ZUMIX, Jenny Shulman, Michelle Botticelli, Singer Angelina Botticelli, Sonia Tita Puopolo, Founder of ZUMIX Madeleine Steczynski and Fashionable Philanthropist

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

Boston Landmarks Orchestra
Boston Landmarks Orchestra

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

The gala celebration was fun, fabulous and flawless also thanks to the wonderful emcee Reverend Liz Walker! She started the evening by saying she was a news anchor for about 135 years and again, the room gave a huge laugh!! That, combined with the mini – live orchestra one could conduct, set a positive, upbeat tone as there were only happy smiley faces throughout the night. Liz Walker skillfully added not only laughter and entertainment, but she brought mindfulness into the room as she prayerfully proclaimed, “Let us give thanks and take a moment of silence, to reflect on all the hard work and dedication of executive director Jo Frances Meyer, co- chairs Susan & Appy Chandler and Michael & Karen Rotenberg, and the entire Gala committee, and let us give thanks for the delicious food and blessing to be at the Mandarin Oriental on this special occasion as we honor Ambassador Swanee Hunt and Music Director of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra Christopher Wilkins. Let us give thanks for this moment.” It was a peaceful and positive evening of perfection, filled with love, music and passion as well as, beacons of hope, and eternal inspiration. For more information and to donate to the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, please go to www.landmarksorchestra.org, and/or send an email: [email protected], and/or call: 617-987-2000.

Reverend Liz Walker, Emcee of the 15th Anniversary Gala of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA
Reverend Liz Walker, Emcee of the 15th Anniversary Gala of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

Boston Landmarks Orchestra Visual
Boston Landmarks Orchestra Visual

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

Young girl conducting Boston Landmarks Orchestra at 15th Anniversary Gala, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA
Young girl conducting Boston Landmarks Orchestra at 15th Anniversary Gala, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

Beautiful couple at 15th Anniversary Gala of Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Saturday, October 1, 2016, at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, MA
Beautiful guests, cardiologist Liz Ascher, MD, and her husband, pediatrician Michael Yogman, MD 

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

Love, Music and Passion: Perfection Boston Landmarks Orchestra's 15th Anniversary Gala Celebration
Peggy Fogelman, Norma Jean Colderwood Director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum conducting Boston Landmarks Orchestra musicians

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarter

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