Fundraising as only SF knows how: An auction, jazz and a feast

SANTA FE, NM – God bless the symphony!

Who else consistently gives you the opportunity to get dolled up in your black tie regalia? Really? Symphony people have an intrinsic appreciation for formal evening clothes and accoutrements, and the parties that accommodate them. Saturday night’s gala auction in the Pink Palace was a vision that would have made Oscar de la Renta tres heureux.

This great event celebrated the anniversary of the Santa Fe Symphony – 30 years!

“We would have started the symphony in our garage, but we didn’t have a garage,” reminisced the exuberant Elaine Heltman. So she and husband Greg started it in their Bellamah living room. That was 1984.

Today they’re headliners at the Lensic. And they’re good! The Borodin two weeks ago was world class. Lucky Santa Fe!

About 250 enthusiastic supporters of beautiful music raised funds for various pursuits, including surpassing the $20,000 goal to fund the mentor program, which matches dedicated symphony members with interested and talented youth who burn to master their chosen instruments. One on one instruction – made possible by evenings like this, or contributions from friends like you. Go to

Relaxing for the garden

The next day, another kind of fundraiser and reminiscence: a Sunday afternoon happening at Vanessie.

Casual and easy, leaning back in a comfy chair with maybe the onion loaf and a glass of wine, around 119 jolly folks were tapping their feet to two hours of show tunes sung with panache by David Jenessa and Patty Stephens, with a dandy jazz combo comprised of John Rangle, Andy Zadrosny and Cal Haines playing along.

This is the ninth year Tom Maguire has chaired the event, whose beneficiary will be the beautiful Santa Fe Botanical Garden. A bargain at $25 a ticket, they raised around $2,500, which will go towards various needs at the gardens, where it is fun and prudent to go see what plants are happy here in Santa Fe. (If you’re from Texas, don’t try gardenias, for example.) Go up and look, and beautify your garden! Go to

Cooking for culture

SWAIA: It stands for Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, and it is they who put on Indian Market, the Native American contemporary cultural event truly unique to Santa Fe and one of our big claims to fame around the world.

As an organization, SWAIA always seems to have some drama going on, like directors coming and going, but everything was rosy at Saturday night’s Inaugural Celebrity Chef Dinner and Wine Event featuring four noteworthy Native American chefs trying to out-do each other with one fabulous course after another and paired wines.

The chefs were Jack Strong of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz; Nephi Craig, White Mountain Apache; Lois Ellen Frank, Kiowa; and Walter Whitewater, Navajo. Sponsored by SWAIA member Hotel Santa Fe, all $10,000 raised will go to the organization and hopes for happy trails in the future. Go to

Ashley Margetson has a B.A. in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has her finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. Tell us about an upcoming event, email


Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Ewell look swell at the SWAIA feast.


Maestro Greg Heltman and wife Elaine started the Santa Fe Symphony 30 years ago.


Events committee ladies Caroline King, Judy Donahue and Cindi Parker decorate the ballroom for the Symphony soiree.


Picuris Pueblo elder Richard Mermejo and wife Christi relax at the Hotel Santa Fe before the SWAIA dinner.


Dr. Penelope Penald took Armand Ortega for a spin on the dancefloor at the Symphony fundraiser.


Leslie Weinstein, Mignons Tusk, John Greenspan, Will Gunter and Julianne Bodner toast the Symphony.


Signe Bergman and Jerry Marshak at the silent auction for the Symphony.


Fran Cole of the Botanical Garden was jiving at the Vanessie bar.


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