Written by Dagmar Fors Karppi Friday, 30 December 2011 00:00
The Life Enrichment Center of Oyster Bay’s Board of Directors Fundraising Committee coordinated a Holiday Art Exhibit and Sale on Dec. 4. The event was held at the picturesque Sewanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club on Centre Island and featured the artwork of their in-Center artists as well as local noted artists.
At the Sewanhaka event, Gail Speranza, LEC executive director thanked the fundraising committee, including Beth Polner Abrahams, Patricia Azmitia, Edward Mohlenhoff, Susan Peterson Neuhaus and Lillian Soricillo. She presented a bouquet of flowers to Ms. Soricillo, chair of the group.
They named the fundraiser “A New Vision for Seniors” as they celebrated the center’s transition from Doubleday Babcock Senior Center to The Life Enrichment Center at Oyster Bay.
The afternoon included music by John Schwartzberg plus cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Sheila Gaeckler, the first director of the DBSC attended the event, and sat down with Mr. Schwartzberg to sing a few impromptu songs.
Ms. Gaeckler said when she first accepted the position she had one child, when her second child was born, she left the position that she loved. Today, her son Adrian works at the Nassau Coliseum and her daughter Nicole is a hair colorist. Today, Ms. Gaeckler is self-employed as a performing artist.
She fondly remembered working with DBSC secretary, Fran Raymond at the center. “She was a blessing and did all the clerical chores. I was good at programming and getting people together.
“We held a fundraiser at the Oyster Bay High School. It was of a show I had done at Hofstra University. I got people to fill in the gaps in the cast. The board members and high school students and some people from Christ Church were all in it. We pulled everyone together and did it. I did a solo from Carousel – If I Loved You. We made money,” she said.
“I love my connections with this place and was proud to be associated with Barbara Hadel [the second executive director] – she did all the finances. I did the press releases for the press,” said Ms. Gaeckler.
Later Gina Maisano, a new member of Christ Church and an Oyster Bay Rotarian sang with Mr. Schwartzburg to everyone’s delight. Most of the art on exhibit was bought by the guests who all went home with a bit of beauty to share with their families.
Ms. Speranza said, “I would like to thank all of the artists who donated their work to the show. We have an independent artist group that has rented our conference room for the last 10 years. The class is not affiliated with the center. They just come here to use the room and have been friends of each other for years. They each donated one or two pieces to the benefit.
“Our sculptures, three of them in the show – were from the center’s sculpture class. They have weekly lessons here.
“And many thanks to Lillian Soricillo who chaired the art event. She was able to go to different galleries and get art to sell to benefit the center.”
Ms. Speranza added, “The art put a new spin on the fundraising because it introduced the talent we have in our own building. Those independent artists are all members of the center – and meet without instruction. They are a great group of ladies.
“And thanks go to Jerelyn Hanrahan who called and donated her pieces to the center, for which I am so grateful,” said Ms. Speranza, “And to Mort Kunstler for donating a wonderful print.”
All of the proceeds will help to support the center’s day, evening and adult day care programs. For more information, call the center at 922-1770.