“The jewel of the commonwealth is Wolf Trap,” decreed Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe at the Wolf Trap Ball Saturday night. McAuliffe, the first sitting Governor to attend the National Park for the Performing Arts’ annual fundraising gala in “many years” gave a voice to the sentiments of all in attendance on the Filene Center stage as they set a new fundraising record for the organization, raising $1.1 million in funds for Wolf Trap’s arts and education programs.
Co-chaired by Wolf Trap Foundation trustees Mr. Tim Keating and Gen (Ret.) Lester L. Lyles, and boasting His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, and Mrs. Abeer Al Otaiba, as Honorary Hosts, this year’s Ball not only celebrated the arts, but also the culture and cuisine that are unique to the U.A.E.
Said Ambassador Otaiba, “The arts – whether it is music, theater or dance – are a truly universal language that connects different societies and promotes greater cultural understanding.”
Guests — to include Congressmen Jim Moran and Steve Stockman, and Senators Mark Warner and Rand Paul — were greeted to tunes on an oud (a classical Arabic string instrument) upon arrival, enjoyed the simple and sleek decor so popular in the U.A.E. during dinner on one of the largest stages in the nation, and finished the evening with dancing, henna art, and a full sheesha (hookah) lounge.
“As you know, this event represents tradition that’s continued at Wolf Trap from its very beginning, when Ms. Shouse founded this place over 40 years ago,” shared Wolf Trap Foundation President and CEO Arvind Manocha of the evening. “As I look back on this past year, we’ve accomplished a lot… we had 43 debut artists this summer alone!”
“Only at Wolf Trap do you have a ten day period where you have our own Wolf Trap company produced Carmen followed by Lionel Ritchie, Sarah McLachlan, Darius Rucker, Wynton Marcellus, and Yo Yo Ma,” Manocha beamed. “[This year] also gave us the highest attended National Symphony season in over a decade and one of the single most successful nights of opera in our history…”
Seems the evening’s U.A.E. emblem-inspired falcon and script were spot on: “Lifted by the arts, we soar.”
*Images provided courtesy Wolf Trap