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A Celestial Evening of Celebration A


Ol d S a l em’ s 2 0 1 1 F o u n d e r s Ga l a


spectacular moonrise escorted the guests of Old Salem’s 2011 Founders Gala over the festively decorated covered bridge to the Visitor Center.


Claire & Hudnall Christopher, Stewart Butler, Nick Bragg


The night of the gala, March 19, 2011, saw the moon come closer to the Earth than at any other time during its orbit, an astronomical event called a “Supermoon.” Ensuring a memorable evening for all, gala guests were treat- ed to another celestial treat after their meal: a mesmerizing performance by a Broadway “Superstar,” Brian Stokes Mitchell. This year’s Founders Gala celebrated the exhibit “Art in Clay:


Masterworks of North Carolina Earthenware,” which made its North Carolina debut at the event. More than two hundred guests arrived at the Horton Museum Center to explore the approxi- mately 120 pieces of masterfully decorated slip- ware, sculptural bottles, refined creamware, and faience that are but part of the rich artistic legacy of North Carolina’s first earthenware potters. After cocktails and the debut of “Art in Clay,”


Drs. Katherine & Tony Atala


Brian Stokes Mitchell & Sarah Turner


the evening continued over the bridge with dinner in the Visitor Center, which was transformed into a sophisticated dining room complete with stun- ning flower arrangements and table settings. The sumptuous meal equaled the exquisite surround- ings, and anticipation grew palpable as show time grew near. After a decadent dessert course, the diners moved to the Gray


Copey Hanes & Scotty Cramer Ed Pleasants, Betsy & Jim Bethune, Nancy Pleasants


Auditorium, where Tony Award-winning actor and singer Brian Stokes Mitchell took the stage. Dubbed “The Last Leading Man” by The New York Times, Mr. Mitchell has been noted for his performances in Broadway productions such as Man of La Mancha, Kiss Me Kate, and South Pacific. He enthralled the audience with his crooning of jazz standards, beloved show tunes, and an engaging rendition of the bossa nova classic “Waters of March.” Ever the showman, Mr. Mitchell spoke eloquently from the stage throughout the performance about the importance of museums such as Old Salem and his personal connections to many of the songs he performed. The Founders Gala is Old Salem Museums & Gardens’ celebration of the


Tony & Jackie Montag with Robert Leath 8


men and women whose determination, work, and insight preserved the Moravian town of Salem. The presenting sponsor of this year’s gala was Wells Fargo The Private Bank. We thank Wells Fargo and all of the Friends of Old Salem who attended the gala and made the evening a “super” evening of world-class exhibits, dining, and entertainment. m


Old Salem Museums & Gardens


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