Scene & Heard: Maryland Science Center Gala
( Photo by Colby Ware, Special to The Baltimore Sun / June 18, 2011 )
The name "The Science of Soul" covered a variety of areas for this year's Solstice gala, Maryland Science Center's annual fundraising party. Jared Spahn, Old Town Construction president, may have turned the evening's theme into a pun by sporting "sole" with his bright orange loafers. But his wife, event chair Francie Spahn, pointed to the party's main attraction: the 10-piece pop group Sound Connection.
"We have a phenomenal, dance-able band. It's Motown," she said.
Confirming that dance-ability was Ed St. John, Maryland Science Center board chair, who was shaking it up on the dance floor with his fiancee, Rose Carpenter, retired attorney.
"I wonder if this band does weddings. They're awesome," said Lydia Hu, Semmes Bowen & Semmes attorney, as she and fiance Craig Haughton, Tydings Rosenberg attorney, moved to the beat with friends Andrew Brouwer, Carroll County judicial law clerk, and Merrilyn Ratliff, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston attorney.
Soul as in conscience could also be found at the food stations scattered inside the museum, as well as outside under a tent, all of which featured locally sourced sustainable ingredients.
"The passed hors d'oeuvres were great," said Ayanna Dookie, BGE engineer, with Andre Wood, BGE senior business analyst both of whom were munching on mini-crabcakes.
For Claudia Nemphos, committee member, there with her husband, George Nemphos, Duane Morris Baltimore Office managing partner, the evening was more about feeding the soul.
"I volunteer at a city elementary school twice a week. These kids don't get established science programs. So this helps them get a little science in their lives. It's important," she said.
On this particular evening, many of the guests got a little science, too, as they experimented with some of the center's hands-on exhibits.
"That's my favorite part," said Steve Manekin, Ellin & Tucker partner, who had brought his son, Jordan Manekin, Chadbourne & Parke associate, to the party.
For Nancy Grasmick, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools and her husband, Lou Grasmick, Grasmick Lumber CEO, the evening was enjoyed by settling into a few couches under the tent and watching the scene with friends like: Ted Winslow, Cadmus Communications senior vice president, and his wife, Jennifer Winslow, Morgan Stanley SmithBarney financial advisor; Darla Strouse, Maryland Department of Education executive director, and husband James Strouse, Strouse & Associates managing partner; Suzan Garabedian, SunTrust Bank senior vice president; Becky Swanston, Swanston Associates Architects president, with husband Andrew Swanston, retired financial consultant; Laura Neuman, Howard County economic development authority CEO; and Deborah Kielty, World Trade Institute president/executive director.
For another group of friends, it was all about those great party dresses. Emily Cornette, Connections compliance specialist, Katie Leishear, Loyola University graduate student, Kristen Sloan and Sarah Jacobs, Aumen Asner Inc. interior designers, hammed it up as they took pictures of themselves in full glam mode.
"We love it. We come every year," said Sloan.
-- Sloane Brown