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Emerald Anniversary raises over $150k for Kennedy Center programs, businesses

Emerald Anniversary raises over $150k for Kennedy Center programs, businesses

Nearly 300 people came together on Nov. 16 to celebrate abilities and new possibilities at The Kennedy Center’s 55th Annual Four Seasons Ball.

The ‘Emerald Anniversary’ — a nod to the 55th year — was held at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield and honored Bigelow Tea and President and CEO Cindi Bigelow.

The event was The Kennedy Center’s largest fundraiser of the year, netting over $150,000 for Kennedy Center social enterprises and programs empowering people with diverse disabilities.

Honored for a nearly twenty-year commitment to The Kennedy Center, Cindi Bigelow thanked Four Seasons Ball Co-Chairs Peter and Anne Foley for inviting her to her first Four Seasons Ball, sparking her deeper involvement at The Kennedy Center, both personally and through Bigelow Tea.

 Ms. Bigelow also shared her passion for Kennedy Center art, which started with a painting she purchased at the Ball. The artist who created that first piece, Todd Carboni, was invited as a guest of honor to the Nov. 16 celebration. During Ms. Bigelow’s acceptance speech, she brought out the painting to thank the artist in person.

“For twenty years I have looked at this painting,” she said. “I just wanted to say, ‘thank you, Todd for painting something I truly love, that means so much to me.’”

Ms. Bigelow encouraged Four Seasons Ball guests to invest in Kennedy Center artwork to help support a vibrant, talented community.

“I promise you, when you buy one of these pieces it is something you will look at and know you are supporting something wonderful,” Ms. Bigelow said.

This year’s Ball featured an exclusive preview sale of the 2020 A Unique Perspective Calendar Artwork. Nearly all the calendar pieces on display sold that evening.

Beyond the artwork, Kennedy Center “ability” was on full display, including guest speaker, Remi Pagan, sharing her journey as a woman with Down syndrome and her connection to The Kennedy Center. Singer Arianna Merigliano, a part of The Autism Project’s music program, also wowed the crowd with a special performance, garnering a standing ovation.

President and CEO Rick Sebastian thanked Cindi Bigelow, Bigelow Tea and guests of the Four Seasons Ball for giving a platform to talents and abilities of those supported by The Kennedy Center.

 “For the last 55 years, this event has brought thousands of people together to change lives and enhance our communities,” Mr. Sebastian said. “We thank Cindi Bigelow and Bigelow Tea for  their valuable part in helping to ensure that The Kennedy Center continues to  build new possibilities, create more opportunities and enhance many more lives.”

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) attended the Four Seasons Ball to deliver special thanks to Cindi Bigelow, Bigelow Tea. 

“The Kennedy Center is a treasure for our community and we are thankful for your commitment to empowering people with disabilities,” Sen. Blumenthal said.

“Congratulations and thank you everyone for being here tonight and I want to especially thank Cindi Bigelow for her contributions,” Sen. Blumenthal said. “Thank you, Cindi for all you do for The Kennedy Center, for our entire state and our community.”

In addition to Co-Chairs Peter and Anne Foley of Fairfield, many residents contributed to making the evening a success. Four Seasons Ball Committee members included:  Fairfield residents Corey Allen, Kate Browning, Kelly Holtz and Brittany Hawker; Trumbull residents Vanessa Fahy, Nancy Fahy and Nancy Dennin, Shelton residents Dottie Kellersman and Bonnie Smith, Adam and Andrea Stevko of Milford, Michele Macauda of Monroe, Clare DeSalvo of Darien, Diane Thompson of Sandy Hook, Deb Kane of Ansonia and Jo Ann McMullan of Wilton.

Generous sponsors of the 55th annual ball include: Bigelow Tea, Bill and Gloria Paul, People’s United Bank, The Bannow-Larson Foundation, The Macauda Family, Bank of America, GE Energy Financial Services, The Daly/Pavlis Family, Fifth Third Bank, The Foley Family, Newtown Savings Bank, Kevin and Sandy Walsh, Pete and Carla Gavey, Fairfield University, USI/United Healthcare, Mary Brown & Family, BlumShapiro, Merit Insurance/A.J. Gallagher Co., Gunn, Godfrey & Allison, Pullman & Comley, LLC, Bob & Karen Waldvogel, R.D. Scinto, Inc. and The Hartford.

To see more photos from the 2019 Four Seasons Ball, CLICK HERE.

Hearst Connecticut Media featured the Ball in a SEEN slideshow. Take a look.