Life of the Party: Wolf Trap Celebrates 40 Years

by Editorial

Wolf Trap celebrates 40 years of education through the arts at the 2011 Wolf Trap Ball.
By John Arundel

Chris Brooks, Jacqueline Hackett, Ann Pham, Ian Hickman. Photo by Ben Droz.

What better way for Wolf Trap to celebrate four decades as Northern Virginia’s premier performing arts center than an over-the-top gala Saturday with 1,000 of its fiercest supporters, friends and VIPs who took center stage, marking its role as a national treasure of the arts.

The 2011 Wolf Trap Ball took place on the massive Filene Center Stage which was transformed into four distinct settings, representing Wolf Trap’s four pillars: The Filene Center, The Barns, Wolf Trap Education and The Wolf Trap Opera Company, celebrating “40 Years Where Culture and Community Take Center Stage.”

A ragtime band welcomed attendees, who stepped into a glittery setting of cocktails, dinner and performances, with dancing afterwards to the grooves of Sound Connection on North America’s second largest stage. A raffle featured a once-in-a-lifetime prize to spend a private evening in New York City with multi-award-winning composer and conductor Marvin Hamlisch, including dinner, a Broadway show and a special backstage experience with Hamlisch.

State Senator Dave Marsden and Julia Marsden, Thomas Minnick, Shawnee Brown. Photo by Ben Droz.

This year a diverse array of VIP guests joined the nearly 1,000 attendees at this year’s ball, including Hunaina Almughairy, the Ambassador of Oman; Jonas Hafström, the Ambassador of Sweden; Hjálmar Hannesson, the Ambassador of Iceland; Samir Sumaidaie, the Ambassador of Iraq; Michael Thawley, former Ambassador of Australia; Rep. Frank Wolf (D-VA.); Susan Allen, the former First Lady of Virginia and former Honorary Chair of the Wolf Trap Board; Virginia’s Secretary of Technology, James Duffey; Virginia’s  Secretary of Health and Human Resources, William Hazel; Darrell Green, National Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and a National Wolf Trap Education spokesperson; Maestro Emil de Cou, NSO @ Wolf Trap conductor, and Robbie Shaefer, of Eddie From Ohio.

This year’s ball raised a record-breaking $1 million from which proceeds benefit Wolf Trap Foundation’s renowned arts and education programs, including the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts. The renowned program which helps preschool teachers use the performing arts disciplines of drama, music and movement to enhance literacy, and other academic and social skills for children in disadvantaged communities.

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“Last summer Wolf Trap presented 96 performances over 108 days at the Filene Center, none of which would have been possible without the support of people like you,” said Terrence D. Jones, Wolf Trap’s President and CEO. “For more than 40 years, Wolf Trap has brought the stars out to play in the unique setting of the nation’s only National Park for the Performing Arts. Every step of the way our members have been right beside us, attending thousands of performances, volunteering countless hours of their time, and making Wolf Trap a part of their family’s summer traditions.

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Mary Jo Robinson, Gil Guarino, Emily Holubowich. Photo by Ben Droz.

After a lighter summer of ticket sales than expected, Jones added that it’s Wolf Trap’s supporters who help made up the difference. “I realize that the current economic climate has required individuals and corporations to make financial decisions with even greater care,” Jones said, “and on behalf of Wolf Trap, I am grateful that you have chosen to support Wolf Trap’s mission. You help to make the magic that is the Wolf Trap experience.”

After its summer season, Wolf Trap rolls into fall and winter with more programming as The Barns at Wolf Trap soon resonates with the sounds of a season filled with folk, comedy, rock and chamber music.

The Wolf Trap Opera Company will be embarking upon their audition to find next summer’s Young Artists. And, Wolf Trap Institute’s Teaching Artists will be helping teachers throughout the DC region use the arts to help students improve their skills in reading, math and other subjects.

Click Here to see all of Washington Life’s Photos from the Gala.

Photo by Ben Droz.

Tim Keating, Gary Tabach, Mary Jo Robinson. Photo by Ben Droz.

Mimi Flaherty-Willis, Simon Willis, Akua Kouyate, Bintou Kouyate. Photo by Ben Droz.

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