Shelter, Chorale fete with food, music

SANTA FE, NM – The minute I walked in the front door of the Las Campanas Clubhouse, I was passed a steaming mini grilled cheese sandwich of melted Brie and smoked pears, and I was ready, on the spot, to award the Chefscapades blue ribbon to Chef Starson Roy from Shamrock (the frozen food suppliers! Good Lord). Well shock me! I would like a five-year supply please, Chef Roy, for my freezer.

Then it was time to sit down at the dinner tables, and the succulent dishes kept coming, starting with Tony Blankenship of Rio Chama’s fresh watermelon salad to Las Campanas Chef Andy Nichol’s yum yum sea bass gravelax, to a massive and succulent pork chop from Marc Quinones of Luminaria.

Then Santacafe’s Chef Fernando Ruiz served a delectable silky chocolate-almond mousse. Everybody won the Chefscapades! Everybody was full-filled!

The big winners will be the homeless population who partake of the exquisite hospitality offered by the Santa Fe Interfaith Community Shelter, a collaboration of religious and community organizations joining to help. This shelter is legendary for its big heart and wide-open arms.

So excellent, warm, loving and giving is the gracious support of our shelter in Santa Fe that visitors are known to text across the country to homeless friends and extol its virtues: “Come to Santa Fe! If you have to be homeless, this is the best place!”

Support is offered from sleeping accommodations to good meals, clean clothing, health and dental care and legal counseling, help with finding a job, and transportation. A fresh start – a new life, if you want it.

Last season the shelter served 17,570 bed nights and 54,237 meals. Many of the meals are prepared on site, and all are made of fresh, nutritious, often organic ingredients, homemade by church groups and Kitchen Angels, and certainly by loving hands.

Some 150 people came to the event to raise more than $40,000 for more beds, sleeping bags, and to help cover the expenses for next year’s food and operations.

Sadly, so many of the homeless are our selfless and brave veterans who have literally given their lives away for our country, and are today abandoned to the streets of America, with nowhere to go. They sleep at night under bridges, or in places like the Interfaith Community Shelter, and are dependent upon the generosity of patrons like these. God bless them all.

Desert Chorale

Great entertainment marked the 33rd Anniversary Gala of the Desert Chorale at the Inn and Spa at Loretto. These are the talented folks who are blessed with bodies for their instruments. Every one of them can sing with extreme excellence, exuberance and exaltation… I can’t.

I don’t have singing talent. In the shower I am Stevie Nicks, but this group has no Mick Feetwood or Lindsey Buckingham to back them up and bump up the sound – just voices, a capella, stand on your own!

Put a number of them together, and you have an orchestra made up only of different voices, and Santa Fe’s Desert Chorale is a world-class act! They perform throughout the Southwest, and often collaborate with the Santa Fe Opera, Chamber Music, Santa Fe Symphony, Pro Musica and Performance Santa Fe.

Kathlene Ritch and her darling wartime trio performed Andrews Sisters numbers with charm and glee, then the fabulous Richard Stoltzman, brought in from New York, played Benny Goodman and Gershwin on his very smoooooth clarinet, followed by the excellent Bert Dalton Trio for dancing until the early hours. You can’t leave a Desert Chorale performance and not feel absolutely uplifted. You should have been here, singing along!

Funds raised at their event will benefit their youth education and community outreach, which are an important part of their mission and our town’s activity. Here’s a positive thing to direct the youth of Santa Fe towards: singing! The 180 supporters raised about $40,000, the most ever, to continue the chorale’s efforts, and keep on singing!

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


Desert Chorale singers perform wartime favorites at the gala fundraiser.


Nina Hinkle Rasmussen was honored at the Desert Chorale gala.


Maggie Henley bids in the Chorale’s auction — perhaps seeking another stylish hat?


Laurie and Dave Delgado came out for the homeless shelter fundraiser.


Ruthie Koval shows off her ring atop John Phillips’ coat at the homeless shelter fundraiser.


Interfaith Homeless Shelter chairmen Cathy and Guy Gronquist.


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