It was a starry starry night | May 16, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Community - May 16, 2012

It was a starry starry night

Benefit raises $2 million for Alzheimer's research

By Jane Knoerle

More than 300 guests dined, danced and schmoozed with celebrities May 5 at "Part the Cloud," benefiting Alzheimer's Association's research efforts in Northern California.

The star studded-gala at the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park featured "living legend" Tony Bennett, former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and his band, singer/songwriter Joan Baez, and basketball star Bill Walton. Actress Virginia Madsen ("Sideways") added a touch of Hollywood glamour. Terry Moran, co-anchor of ABC News "Nightline," served as master of ceremonies.

The celebrity guest list also included Steve and Barb Young, Ronnie and Karen Lott, and several Silicon Valley titans, including George Marcus, Geoff Yang, Don Dixon, and Doug Mackenzie. Wendy Schmidt, wife of Google CEO Eric Schmidt, was also in attendance.

Michaela "Mikey" Hoag of Atherton chaired of the event. In an article in the Feb. 15 issue of the Almanac, Ms. Hog said she was "hoping for a sellout to raise $300,000 to $400,000." Definitely a sellout, the event raised $2 million.

Ms. Hoag, who lost her father to Alzheimer's disease five years ago, put together a savvy committee of women, many of whom have chaired major charity events. They included: Melissa Badger, Ellen Drew, Sue Foley, Liz King, Lulu Frye, Laurie Jacob, Anne Lawler, Bren Leisure, Betsy Matteson, Debbie Robbins, Paula Robichaud, Sally Robinson and Ellen Rose.

After a VIP reception on the hotel terrace, guests entered a tent through a hallway decorated with masses of white flowers — roses, peonies, tulips and orchids, accented with blue hydrangeas. An ethereal atmosphere was created within the tent with white sheer draping, sky blue backdrop, and white carpeting. Dining tables were glass topped with lighted "cloud" bases. Two alternate centerpieces were used featuring white peonies and blue hydrangeas.

Tony Bennett entertained after dinner and the party continued with a jam session and dancing to the music of Mickey Hart and his band.