Over two hundred members and guests of the Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York gathered on Friday, November 22nd, at the Society’s 263rd Anniversary Banquet, to honor Billy Kay, a well-known BBC Scotland radio personality who was presented with the “Sammy” Award.
The “Sammy,” otherwise known as the Mark Twain Award, was created to honor leaders in their fields who have had a positive impact on the Scots community around the world.
Mr. Kay’s company, Odyssey Productions, produces documentaries on Scottish cultural history for BBC Radio Scotland, winning five international awards for series like The Complete Caledonian Imbiber. Mr. Kay is a prolific writer of plays, books, poetry and short stories and has been recognized in both Britain and France for his work promoting wine. He is a passionate advocate of the Scots language and is the author of the classic work Scots: The Mither Tongue.
The Mount Kisco Scottish Pipes and Drums escorted guests in to dinner. Presentation of the Haggis followed, with toasts, a live auction, and musical performances.
Founded in 1756, Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York is the oldest charitable organization in New York State. Today the Society embraces its original mission of helping Scots in need through its Almoner Program. In addition, the Society supports graduate students in the USA and in Scotland and provides support to children’s hospitals in both countries.
“In Societe Benefice Docte” in the Society badge means Charity, Fellowship, Scholarship.
Black and White was the theme of this year’s French Heritage Society Ball with almost every guest embracing “noir et blanc” in long ball gowns, black tie, and a few men decked out in “white tie” with medals. Masks were optional, but painted paper or extravagant feather creations disguised a few partygoers. An elaborate facial façade matching the striped gown of Board member Jean Shafiroff was created by Victor de Souza who accompanied her.
Celebrating the FHS mission to protect French architectural legacy, the annual party is always festive, with an extra feature this year, celebration of Board Chairman Elizabeth F. Stribling who would be flying that weekend to Paris for a ceremony upgrading her to Commandeure de la Legion d’Honneur, a distinction rarely bestowed on Americans.
Denis de Kergorlay, the FHS President from Paris, was introduced by emcee FHS Executive Director Jennifer Herlein. During dinner Kathleen Guzman of Heritage Auctions sold two trips to benefit the FHS Student Exchange Program, which was described by former grantee Raphaële Sevrain who recounted her own hands-on internship in preservation and gardening.
Board member and special event chairman Cece Black presented a Lalique trophy to Honoree designer and author Geoffrey Bradfield who quoted Marcel Proust: “If we are to make reality endurable, we must all endure a fantasy or two.”
Honorees Gregory and Margaret Hedberg, “popular and adorable philanthropic Francophiles,” thanked the crowd with merci mille fois. Both Hedbergs possess dance connections — art historian Gregory is an expert on the Degas statue Little Dancer and Margaret is Director of the International Debutante Ball — thus aptly pour danser c’etait necessaire.
And the flurry of black and white costumes on the ballroom floor lasted until the stroke of minuit.
Surgeons of Hope, a non-profit organization that provides heart surgeries to infants and children in Latin America, hosted their annual gala chaired by Jean Shafiroff, who was honored by Surgeons of Hope in 2014.
The nonprofit honored Diego Luna, star of Narcos: Mexico and Star Wars: Rogue One and Surgeons of Hope Heart Ambassador, and Publicis Groupe Supervisory Board Chairman Maurice Lévy. The night kicked off with a special performance by Baila Conmigo – a high-energy Latin dance group which recently toured with Jennifer Lopez. The gala was held at the JW Marriott Essex House in New York City.
The event highlighted Surgeons of Hope’s lifesaving work with babies and children in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Paraguay. Since 2013, the organization has provided over 1,700 infants and children with lifesaving surgery in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Paraguay and held over 30 week-long medical and surgical training missions to build local expertise in pediatric cardiac care.
Notable attendees included President of Surgeons of Hope Eduardo da Cruz, Ingrid Arneberg and Will Marin, New York State Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright, Martin Shafiroff, Pamela O’Connor, Elizabeth Shafiroff and Richard Ballard, Maria and Ken Fishel, Ruth Miller, Ariadna Vera and Ignacio Bustindui, Odile and Michel Longchampt, Jane Scher, and Alexandro and Alejandra Posse.
Jean Publicis Health, Stifel, Full Circle, Soma, Marina B and Acker Wines sponsored the evening.
Artist and designer Lillian Gorbachincky, who has collaborated with AD100 architects and designers including Peter Marino, Stephen Sills, Sandra Nunnerley, Geoffrey Bradfield, Jamie Drake, and Fox-Nahem, celebrated the opening of her “Art, Kitchens and Interiors by LILLIAN GORBACHINCKY” gallery in the A&D Building at 150 E. 58th Street.
In the mix were Peter Marino’s team: Enrique Pincay, Xu Zhue, Eduardo Flefil, as well as Jamie Drake’s team, Christian Lahoude, the former Director of Tiffany Store Design, Wendy Landau, Melissa and Francesca Santiago, Rocky Ommen, Brad Leader, Nicole Perrotta, Roy and Elena Poyiadjis, Khoa Nguyen, Joukie Chehebar, Minda Baez, Gina Fini, Michael Rabatin, Jeff Petersen, and Lillian’s husband Yuly Gorbachincky.
Photographs by Nuala Purcell and Annie Watt (Saint Andrew’s Society); Annie Watt and PMc (French Heritage); Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan (Surgeons of Hope).