McCallum President and CEO Mitch Gershenfeld and Chairman Harold Matzner Are Presented With a Check for the McCallum Theatre Institute by McCallum Muses

Cynthia Cottrell

Picture a grand Rancho Mirage Mediterranean estate with a walk- way bridge over moat to the main entrance….this was the site of the Muses and Patroness Circle of McCallum Theatre Membership Tea held at the home of Carol and Tim Rochford.

The 240 guests were as elegant as the setting at this gracious tea-and- champagne party created by membership and event chair Nancy Cunningham. Her hardworking committee members were Bobbie Howell, Marge Dodge, Mary Latta, Paula Bassiantee, Ratna Williams, Dominique Shaw, Judy Whitmyre and Shirley Farris.

The program included a review of last year’s successes, fundraising plans for the coming season and the presentation of a check for the McCallum Theatre Institute, whose programs touch 40,000 Coachella Valley students annually.

President Linda Weakley praised the members, saying, “your efforts give these students an opportunity to visit the Theatre and enjoy age-appropriate live performances. You are exposing the arts to our next generation of theater attendees.”

Muses president emeritus Sandy Hill, along with 2014-2015 fundraising chairs Nancy Stone, Marge Berry and Geri Dardi, presented a check for $372, 175 to McCallum Theatre president & CEO Mitch Gershenfeld and board chairman Harold Matzner. Gershenfeld responded that “the McCallum administration is always grateful for all that the Muses do to support the Theatre and its community out-reach programs.”

Weakley announced that this season’s fundraiser will be a Brazilian themed “RIO” dinner event Thursday, January 18, at Toscana Country which will be chaired by Sandy Woodson.

Education chair Barbara Klein encouraged members to join the Muses Education Ambassadors program so they can work more closely with the students. Weakley then surprised hostess Carol Rochford with the special Shining Star statuette.

Former Tea hostesses Karen Miles, Sally St. John and Mary Silver were present, along with Muses past presidents Wanda Martin, Nancy Crandall, Fran Muir and Eileen Hall and board members Jean Viereck, Allyson Keller, Donna Jean Darby, Terri Neuman, Linda Rider, Nancy Shuma, Fran Suydam,

Peggi Berk, Susan Gelman and Karen Lampert.

Background piano music was provided by Paul Cracchiolo while Carousel Catering kept the women happily fed.

For information about Muses and Patroness Circle membership, events and fundraising, contact June Benson (760) 776-6193 or e-mail

As posted in the The Desert Sun, December 15, 2015