On Saturday, April 30, the New Orleans Hilton Riverside’s ballroom was transformed into a scene from the 1940s. With a theme of “Strike Up the Band,” the New Orleans Women’s Guild – and co-chairs of the event Alice Glenn, Dr. Jane Miller and Faith Peperone – held the 42nd annual Opera Ball honoring George Gershwin and saluting America’s armed forces.
The celebration began with a cocktail party and entertainment from the Pfister Sisters. The ball began at 8 p.m. with a special performance by the Marine Corps Marching Band. Women’s Guild President Jean Rice presented a special gift to Medal of Honor recipient Major General James Livingston of South Carolina, and the Marine Corps Marching Band dedicated “Ruffles and Flourishes” to the special guest.
The Gary Benoit Big Band entertained everyone throughout the evening, and the USO Swing Dancers, patriotically dressed in military garb, danced with guests. The black-tie and military dress affair also included a dinner provided by Hilton Riverside New Orleans and a live auction with radio personality Spud McConnell acting as auctioneer.
Prior to the ball, on March 24, honorary chairs Tom and Gayle Benson hosted an unveiling party at their home for an original work of art by Patti Adams. She created an original piece in honor of this year’s theme with George Gershwin leaning on a piano with a Playbill from “Strike Up The Band.” Mary Flynn’s Prohibition Jazz Band also performed.