Hollywood on the Hill: Glam Up For the Capitol Hill Village Gala

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CHV Executive Director Molly Singer (second from left) celebrates with family and friends at the 2016 Gala

The 2017 Capitol Hill Village Gala glistens with the theme of “Lights! Camera! Action!” and offers the chance to experience “Hollywood on the Hill.” This year the event offers a lively sound track for dancing and listening, craft services
of hors d’oeuvre and sweets, and selected short subjects in the form of attractive auction items—all to benefit this prominent Hill organization.

The event takes place on Saturday, March 4, 2017, from 7:00 pm to 10:30 pm, fresh after the awarding of the Academy Awards the Sunday before. Again this year the CHV Gala offers a new venue, this time on the campus of Gallaudet University at its Kellogg Conference Center and Hotel (800 Florida Avenue NE). Parking is free and plentiful at the site.

This year’s gala marks the beginning of the Village’s 10th Anniversary celebration (the Village was launched October 1, 2007). Ten community members will be honored at the event. CHV Executive Director Molly Singer characterizes the gala as “the Hill at its best. It brings together all sorts of people, businesses, and creative types who are invested in supporting seniors and celebrating life.  This year will be no different–and we can expect sightings of John Wayne, Mae West, and other great Hollywood celebrities. We are so grateful for all of the community’s enthusiasm and support!”

The evening’s entertainment will feature a lively DJ spinning music with both a Hollywood flavor as well as an eclectic mix of vibrant dance numbers. Decorations will evoke a movie night premiere, right down to the klieg lights and red carpet. A parade of classic film clips is to be expected. Catering, provided by the Kellogg Center, will feature hearty appetizers, varied buffet stations, and sweet delicacies.

A new aspect this year is that most silent auction items will be offered online
in advance so interested bidders can assess and bid on
a broad selection of items. This will expand the bidder pool and make items available to those who are not able to attend the gala.

“We’re going to have as many auction items as there are stars on Hollywood’s ‘Walk of Fame,’” promises Auction Chair Bruce Brennan. “And we hope to get as many bidders too!” Brennan adds that there will be “gift certificates for restaurants across the Hill, theater tickets from all over town, and musical outings far and near.”   There will also be behind-the-scenes tours of the Smithsonian, the Arboretum, and the Newseum. To cap the offerings, Brennan enthuses about “great getaway vacation homes from Victorian castles to cozy cottages, with additions this year on properties on Fire Island and Cape May.”

The online auction site is expected
to be available in early February and will remain open until just before the March 4 party. The only major silent auction items that will be available during the evening will be the signature “Salon Dinners,” wherein winning bidders can dine and interact with special guests both informed and celebrated, at welcoming Capitol Hill homes.

Among some of the salon dinner guests already confirmed are: Francisco Aragon, director of “Letras Latinas,” an organization cultivating
Latin American poets; opera singer Mandy Brown; a “Yappy Hour” for pet fanciers featuring a prominent veterinarian; Peggy Pridemore, a local film location manager who has worked on films such as “Forrest Gump” and “Argo,” and a panel of prominent women reporters including Kasie Hunt, Susan Page, and Susan Davis.

The gala will again include a live auction extravaganza with six to eight especially enticing offerings, including a spectacular Manhattan getaway and some major gourmet meals.

Besides presenting a fabulous party, the gala serves as the major annual fundraiser for CHV’s expanding programs. A principal part of that fundraising comes from area sponsors and donors. Phil Guire, president of the CHV Board, who is principally responsible for lining up sponsors, hopes to surpass last year’s take. “Moving into a smaller, more intimate venue means we have to have a higher rate of return (from each sponsor). We’d like to raise at least $75,000 in sponsorships, and we are 60 percent of the way there.”

Some of those businesses already committed to supporting the gala are National Capital Bank, contributing at the highest level of “Best Picture Nominee,” and Home Care Assistance, Insight Property Group, Tom Faison Real Estate, and Gary Michael Real Estate, all labeled as “Producers.” Other donors at the “Director” level are Phil and Jeanne Real Estate, Coldwell Banker/Don Denton, Collington Continuing Care, and Schneiders Liquors.

“Lights, Camera, Action” calls for evening wear “suitable for the red carpet,” and the organizers encourage attendees to present wardrobe dazzle in addressing this theme. Black-tie is optional. Individual reservations for the gala will cost $150, and donor and sponsor levels range from $1,250 to $10,000.

Capitol Hill Village supports its members through education, resources and referrals, coordinated by the office staff headed by Executive Director Singer, and by the hundreds of volunteers who serve with tasks like driving, friendly visits, and household tasks–as well as organizing the gala itself. Balancing its service mission, the Village also offers a wide range of social activities to motivate and inform its members, whose number recently passed 500 individuals.