Friends and Neighbors

Friends & Neighbors: Teens raise money for music education


Special to The Miami Herald

A 15-foot black Eiffel Tower completed the look at the Junior Opera Guild’s “Springtime in Paris” benefit fashion show held recently at Riviera Country Club in Coral Gables. The volunteer group of high school girls raised money for music education programs at the event.

Fundraising was just one of the day’s objectives. The students also recognized the hard work of some of their own members. Honored were JOG President Julie Salzinger, a senior at Ransom Everglades School in Coconut Grove, who will be attending Harvard in the fall; Sara Tillett, a senior at Palmer Trinity School in Palmetto Bay, who plans to major in classical voice performance and international relations; Stephanie Pinon, a senior in the International Baccalaureate program at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Coconut Grove, who plans to major in journalism; Leah Schwartz, a high school senior at the School for Advanced Studies; and Katherine Flinn, a senior at Coral Reef Senior High School in West Kendall, who will major in agriculture.

These active students also usher for Florida Grand Opera performances and raise money for Girl Scout music workshops and scholarships for the Young Patronesses of the Opera National Voice Competition.


The Centro Mater Foundation marked 45 years of helping economically disadvantaged youth through care and education at the recent “A Night of Heaven on Earth” event at The Temple House in Miami Beach.

Community leaders and longtime supporters attended and celebrated the South Florida institution’s efforts through its Centro Mater Child Care Services Inc., founded in 1968 by Mother Margarita Miranda Otero after her immigration to Miami from Cuba.

Funds raised through the event will help Centro Mater’s summer programs and supports the maintenance of all five centers. Members of the host committee include Chair Brenda M. Moreira, Antonio Ardila and Luz Angela Sarmiento de Ardila, Ana L. and Ernest Bachrach, Olga and Alberto Beeck, Miriam and Marcio Cabrera, Zady and Eugenio Cosculluela, Maria Elena and Tony Costa, Remedios and Fausto Diaz-Oliver, Mariana and Mario Fernandez, Helen and Jose Luis Ferre, Aurora and Jose Antonio Garrido, Lillian and Gus Machado, Brenda and Domingo Moreira, Claudia Puig Amundsen and Richard Amundsen, Monica Rabassa, Gustavo Leon, Frances and Eugenio Sevilla Sacasa, Vivian and James Williams, and Jania and Dean Ziff. For more, visit


Novelist and psychologist Dr. Holly Schwartztol will speak about her latest book, What We Tell to members and guests of the South Florida Writers Association starting at 10:30 a.m., April 6 at the Pinecrest Library, 5835 SW 111th St. The event cost is $10 for members and $12 for guests and includes brunch. Reply to if you would like to attend. For more about the group check out

Schwartztol’s latest is about the complicated experiences of friendship and its accompanying joys and sorrows. The three characters are accomplished women psychologists facing the challenges of midlife. The book is available online. It has a five-star rating from reviewers on Amazon. Schwartztol has a Ph.D. from the University of Miami and has practiced psychology for 30 years.


The community is invited to hear a free program of romantic Russian masterpieces when the Alhambra Orchestra performs at 7 p.m., April 7 at Ransom Everglades School, 3575 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove. Zoe Zeniodi will conduct the concert featuring pianist Mia Vassilev in the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto no. 2, together with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.

Alhambra Orchestra is now celebrating its 23rd season of making great music accessible to all. Vassilev is professor of piano at Barry University and director of the Miami Piano Circle. Conductor Zeniodi was recently selected as assistant conductor of the Florida Grand Opera. She also conducts the Broward Symphony.

No reservations are needed, except large groups should call in advance. Parking is also free with donations requested. For information, contact 305-668-9260, or visit


In the 1940s volunteer members of the South Dade Welcome Wagon greeted many new residents to our community. The group’s name changed to The New Neighbors Club of South Dade in the 1980s and the volunteers are still dedicated to welcoming newcomers through monthly meetings and outings that include book clubs, game days, and organized lunches and dinners. The 180-plus members are from varied backgrounds and all are open to making new friends and learning about interesting activities.

The group will meet at a special program starting with social hour at 11 a.m., April 10, at the Coral Gables Country Club, 997 N. Greenway Dr. At the luncheon, past president Thelma Tucker will install new officers including: executive committee members Barbara Tracy, president; Barbara Savoy, first vice president (programs); Christine Wagner, second vice president (membership); Elaine de Leonardis, recording secretary; Judy Spratt, treasurer; and Phyllis Webber, parliamentarian.

Ecuadorian classical guitarist Fabian Carrera will entertain during the luncheon. Carrera, who lives in Miami, has degrees in guitar performance and music education. He performs, teaches, and volunteers in the community. The luncheon cost is $25 and reservations are required by 6 p.m. April 4. Contact Rita Casagrande at 305-595-0213 or


With a mission to honor the finest student-athletes to wear the orange, green and white, the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame will recognize standout alumni at the 45th annual induction banquet starting at 6 p.m., April 11 at Jungle Island.

Tickets are still available to see 2001 National Champion Quarterback Ken Dorsey, Center Brett Romberg, and Coach Don Soldinger, Baseball All-American Jay Tessmer, 1950’s slugger Ed Contreras, All-American Diver Bryan Gillooly, and National Champion Golf Coach Norm Parsons enter the Class of 2013. The cost is $100 per person. For more call 305-284-2775, or go to

A visit to the Sports Hall of Fame, located next to the Hecht Athletic Center on campus at 5821 San Amaro Dr., is a treat for any sports enthusiast. You’ll find memorabilia and artifacts from over 85 years of Hurricanes athletics. It is open and free to the public weekdays, noon to 5 p.m.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at

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