Facebook, the “Twitter-verse” and all of social media were abuzz Saturday night with images and descriptions of the GRACE Gala. This year’s edition—the 11th annual—took on a decidedly high-tech atmosphere with Mobile Bidding, post-industrial décor, linked message boards in the front and back of the hall and a spontaneous real-time gauge of the guests’ generosity.
But it all began with the lilting sound of a lone saxophone slowly playing “Amazing Grace” and dancers swirling about the Grand Ballroom at the Irving Convention Center. Evan Knight, the saxophonist from the evening’s dance band Limelight, and dancers from The Living Art Dance Company combined for the beautiful welcome to guests as they entered the Ballroom.
The Grand Ballroom was bedecked in the colors of Tiffany Blue and White—a theme that harkened to the gifts members of the community give to provide the GRACE Mission to those in need.
Creations by Alford Media Services, including a massive white ribbon forming the stage backdrop and a GRACE Angel suspended above the stage and overseeing the night’s activities, served to further drive the theme.
Stacey and Chris Archer, 2014 Gala Chairs, presided over the evening’s festivities that included gourmet offerings, fine wines, an entertaining live auction, and dancing. NBC 5’s Meredith Land emceed the proceeding; Rev. Todd Renner from White’s Chapel United Methodist Church offered a stirring invocation; Mike Jones banged the Live Auction gavel; and GRACE Executive Director Shonda Schaefer kept the night moving in a joyful direction.
Steve Alford and Alford Media Services received the annual “Angel of GRACE” award for years of service to GRACE that dates back to the very first GRACE Gala in 2004. GRACE Board President John Elieson praised Steve and the folks at Alford Media Services for setting the high standards for the Gala.
“Our friends at Alford,” said John, “have made this event their own—and GRACE, their cause.”
Ken Thompson from the Thompson Group at Classic Chevrolet took the GRACE Gala stage for the seventh year in a row to award the winner of the Gala Raffle.
The highlight of the evening was a call for gifts to the GRACE Mission by Stacey and Kevin Chase, chairs of next year’s GRACE Gala. The couple offered several inspirational examples of GRACE’s work in the community and asked Gala guests to open their hearts and their pocketbooks. A gauge was projected onto all four screens in the Ballroom and slowly it began to climb towards its goal.
As testimonials were offered and encouraging words provided from the podium, the gauge well-eclipsed the goal and climbed to a record-setting level. It was the true culmination to an evening centered on gifts and gift-giving.
Meredith Land characterized the evening in this way: “The room is filled with the colors and shapes of meaningful gifts. Each of your gifts to GRACE is special, meaningful and so needed to support our mission.”
GRACE wishes to thanks everyone who worked so hard and gave so generously to made the 2014 GRACE Gala a magical and beneficial night! Many blessings!
By: Mark Woolverton