CHARITY/EVENT: BRIGITTE AND BOBBY SHERMAN CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION CHRISTMAS GALA AND FUNDRAISER

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BRIGITTE AND BOBBY SHERMAN CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION
CHRISTMAS GALA AND FUNDRAISER

I finished my year of great events off with a bang. A big one! (I still have some friend get-togethers planned, of course, but this one was it for non-bud ones.)

 Photo by Alice Farinas.

Photo by Alice Farinas.

This past week-end brought the annual Brigitte and Bobby Sherman Children’s Foundation (BBSCF) Christmas Gala and Fundraiser, at the elegant Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. It was a fabulous event! One of the best I’ve ever been to in my entire life, as a matter of fact. (And, as I’m sure you can imagine, I’ve been to a lot of charity banquets.) This was the Foundation’s sixth one, and it made me sad that I missed the first five! That’s how good it was! (But now I can’t wait till next year!)

The video chat with the children in Ghana, on the big screen in the banquet room.  Photo by Alice Farinas.

The video chat with the children in Ghana, on the big screen in the banquet room. Photo by Alice Farinas.

The Brigitte and Bobby Sherman Children’s Foundation raises money to bring quality education to students in Ghana. During the evening, we all even got to take part in a video chat with some of the appreciative, enthusiastic students. (As a former teacher myself, I wish children in this country were as grateful for their education as these kids are.)

The Shermans could not have been more gracious, generous, easy-going hosts. They went around to every single person in attendance to thank them for coming, and to chat a bit. When have you ever seen that at a charity gala? I’ve been to my fair share of them, and I never have experienced that before!

[Note: I just realized that this write-up is going to be one of my longer ones, because I have sooooo many praises to sing, so please read it all, or you’ll miss-out.]

Brigitte and Bobby Sherman toasting their guests. Photo by Jason Kempin.

Brigitte and Bobby Sherman toasting their guests. Photo by Jason Kempin.

It was such a fun night, that even I sang along to the music when everyone else did!!! I never foist my far-from-dulcet tones on others, but I just could not help myself.

My associate, Alice, has been joining me for tons of events for a year and a half now, and at the end of the night, she declared this one to be the best one she’s ever gone to! How’s that for a ringing endorsement?!

She said, “The Brigitte & Bobby Sherman Children’s Foundation has been able to create the miracles of hope, stability, protection, and education for the children in Ghana. My heart was touched by all of them, and enriched to learn of the amazing work that is being done through the foundation.”

Sidney Poitier, Bobby Sherman, and Brigitte Sherman. Photo by Jason Kempin.

Sidney Poitier, Bobby Sherman, and Brigitte Sherman. Photo by Jason Kempin.

I have to go out of order of the proceedings for one quick second to laud Academy Award-winning actor, humanitarian, and legend Sidney Poitier, the exquisite honoree of the evening. He was awarded this year’s International Leadership Award for his “ongoing commitment to the organization.” After they showed some footage of him on the big screens, Bobby and Brigitte presented him with the award, and also surprised Sidney and his beautiful wife, Joanna Poitier, with a plaque for both of their support.  He spoke so eloquently off the top of his head. His speech was a thing of beauty.

Sidney Poitier and an adoring Karen Salkin. Photo by Alice Farinas.

Sidney Poitier and an adoring Karen Salkin. Photo by Alice Farinas.

I got to meet Mr. Poitier later on in the evening, and when I told him how amazed I was that he could come up with that off the top of his head, he took my hand and kissed it! I could not stop crying with emotion. (And I was further impressed that the Poitiers stayed for the entire evening!!!)

Okay, so now I’ll go in order, to tell you of this extraordinary night, because this should be the model for all galas and fundraisers from here on out! There was not one dull moment, nor a stone unturned in the Sherman’s efforts to entertain their guests.

The Gilligan's Island-ers.  Photo by Alice Farinas.

The Gilligan’s Island-ers. Photo by Alice Farinas.

Bobby and Brigitte always have a theme for their year-end galas, and this time it was Gilligan’s Island because that was Brigitte’s favorite show. (I’m hoping the theme next year will be Karen’s Restaurant Revue because Bobby told me that he used to always watch my show, and laugh. Even though I’m, of course, joking about it being the theme, I loved that he was as sweet to me at this event as he was to me back in the day, when my show was still on.)

One of the lovely servers with the creative pina coladas.   Photo by Alice Farinas.

One of the lovely servers with the creative pina coladas. Photo by Alice Farinas.

The first portion of the evening was the cocktail reception, featuring a wonderful silent auction, that I hope raised lots of funds for the foundation. The hors d’oeuvres were delish, and the wait staff was the perfect blend of helpful, professional, and upbeat. (And attractive, too!)

There were two men building a tribute to the event in sand, a lovely harpist, two different kinds of photo booths, and pina coladas were served in coconuts. The cutest touch was having characters from the show roam the cocktail party (poor “Mary Ann” had to carry a pie the whole time!,) and they even led a sing-along of the theme song, complete with printed lyrics for those of us who never saw the show (like moi. Sorry, Little Buddy.)

Just two of the gorgeous silent auction items--a gingerbread house, and a Swarovski crystal clutch! Photo by Alice Farinas.

Just two of the gorgeous silent auction items–a gingerbread house, and a Swarovski crystal clutch! Photo by Alice Farinas.

[Note: When Alice and I learned of the theme, we erroneously assumed we had to dress like that! So, we fought over who would be the Movie Star; I won because I’m taller. But we were relieved to find-out that classy attire was what was called for.]

That all would have been enough for us, but then we were ushered into the dining room by none other than the Rockettes! How does this foundation think of these things?!

Alice said the room was “truly breathtaking, a shipwrecked wonderland, intricately decorated,” with the tables being adorned with “orchids, seashells, and even ribbon-wrapped old books.” Everything was absolutely stunning.

The S.S. Minnow replica.   Photo by Karen Salkin.

The S.S. Minnow replica. Photo by Karen Salkin.

There was even a replica of the S.S. Minnow on one side of the room. But would we have really expected less from a teen-idol-turned-police-officer who has built an entirely handmade one-fifth scale model of Disneyland’s Main Street in his own backyard?! I think not.

Terence J, a cute guy who has hosted shows on E! and BET, served as the podium host for the evening, and we were entertained by the rousing, spot-on Cowling Band all evening.

Bobby Sherman, (in the middle,) and the Cowling Band, entertaining the assemblage. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Bobby Sherman, (in the middle,) and the Cowling Band, entertaining the assemblage. Photo by Karen Salkin.

But the musical highlight was hearing none other than Bobby Sherman himself do three of his famous numbers, (including Easy Come, Easy Go, and Julie, Do Ya Love Me,) along with some holiday tunes, (that we all sang along to.) The man has still got it! He looks and sounds just like he did in the clips from Shindig they showed before he sang! Alice was in heaven.

[Note: I was still singing Bobby’s songs when I got home, so Mr. X and I just had to play some on YouTube. After a little while, Mr. X correctly noted that Bobby always had a smile on his face. And guess what? He still does! What a delight he is. (Alice and I got to spend some time with him, and she said that “Bobby was the most gracious host and a very caring human being, full of sincerity and selflessness.”)]

The Circle of Life singers. Photo by Mark Davis, as is the big one at the top of the column, of Bobby Sherman, Sidney Poitier, Joanne Poitier, and Brigitte Sherman.

The Circle of Life singers. Photo by Mark Davis, as is the big one at the top of the column, of Bobby Sherman, Sidney Poitier, Joanne Poitier, and Brigitte Sherman.

After Bobby, there was a surprise performance of Circle of Life by a group of talented singers, complete with Lion King wardrobe. And the surprises kept coming all night.

More on that in a second, but first I must laud the Montage’s uber-classy, scrumptious four course (and then some) meal. (Wait till you hear!) The menus were printed on boat-steering-wheel-shaped paper; the lush descriptions are too long for me to repeat here, but we began with a creamy pea risotto, followed by a salad with pears and roquefort. We then had a choice of Chilean sea bass or braised short ribs, with all the accoutrements, finishing-up with two alternating desserts. (Which means that you and your guest could share them both!)

The take-home dessert display! Photo by Karen Salkin.

The take-home dessert display! Photo by Karen Salkin.

But the food did not stop there. Not by a long shot! On one side of the room, (the one next to us, thank goodness,) were tables containing what Alice deemed a “gorgeous array of specialty desserts,” and also a luscious cheese and fruit and nut platter. I couldn’t imagine who could eat any more, although the sweets were calling to me, (and everyone else who sat near them,) all night. I then saw a girl from the hotel go over to the tables with big boxes. I asked if she was planning to put out even more, because I knew that no one could eat that much! But she told me (get ready for this) they were to-go boxes!!! They were for the guests to take all those petite donuts and cupcakes and candies home with them!!! O-M-G! Trust me, she didn’t have to ask us twice. And the boxes were not small—there was space in there for probably thirty desserts each! I’m not kidding. (And I’ve been worried that there were still plenty of left-overs.)

Part of the table setting. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Part of the table setting. Photo by Karen Salkin.

At our place settings, we had received a cute little bag that contained seeds to plant, which I thought was a sweet touch. Then we noticed that we each had a card that was hand-decorated by one of the children in the schools in Ghana, and they all had written “plant a seed” next to his or her drawing. That really was enough of a treat for me, so I was never expecting all these other touches.

Santa and his helpers handing out gifts--to EVERYONE IN ATTENDANCE!!!  Photo by Karen Salkin.

Santa and his helpers handing out gifts–to EVERYONE IN ATTENDANCE!!! Photo by Karen Salkin.

Just as we thought the evening just had to be concluding, who should appear but Santa! I’ve never seen a room full of grown-ups get so giggly. He started calling individuals to come up and get a gift from his red sack, and I assumed they were peeps who worked with Bobby and Brigitte on the foundation. And then I heard my name! It turned-out, they gave a gift to every…single…person…there!!! Okay, I must invoke OMG once again! I’ve never seen anything like it! How generous this group is!

We finished-up the evening by dancing the night away to the wonderful band. Alice and I wished that we had booked rooms at the Montage because we really didn’t want this incredible evening to end.

The end of the night dancing crowd. Notice the giant to-go box on the table! Photo by Karen Salkin.

The end of the night dancing crowd. Notice the giant to-go box on the table! Photo by Karen Salkin.

There was only one thing wrong with the whole event–I haven’t been able to stop singing Gilligan’s Island since then! Even with all the Christmas songs playing!

So, if you’re looking for a worthy cause to contribute to this holiday season, (and the rest of the year, too, actually,) look now further than the Brigitte and Bobby Sherman Children’s Foundation.

Here’s a little bit of the official statement about the foundation: “BBSCF was founded in 2011 by actor/musician Bobby Sherman and philanthropist Brigitte Poublon to provide motivated, yet underserved students in Ghana with a quality education support system which begins a lifelong cycle of success.  Programs include school tuition and boarding, tutoring and enrichment activities, holiday and summer camps, instrumental music, dance & art.”

To learn more, or to donate to the cause, please click here: www.bbscfoundation.org

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