SPIRIT OF GIVING GALA 2015: Black and White Ball a success


Ironstone Farm’s Spirit of Giving Gala not only recreated the “Party of the Century” as planned, but turned out to be the best party yet for the Andover nonprofit.

The November event netted an Ironstone record of more than $212,000, providing much needed support for Ironstone Farm’s programs for children with special needs, combat veterans and others.

Better still for Ironstone Farm, the night’s honoree, singer Tony Orlando, told the crowd he wants to return next year with his band and perform his Vegas show to benefit the nonprofit because he feels so close to its cause.

The Spirit of Giving event for Ironstone Farm is organized by Andover’s Lauren Hajjar, owner of the event planning and concierge business Errands and Events by Lauren, and a committee of volunteers, led by co-chairwoman Nancy Greeley, also of Andover.

Orlando grew up singing to sooth a sister who had cerebral palsy. He visited Ironstone for the first time in 2010, and called that visit, “one of the most inspiring days of my life.” He said at the gala that when he sees children riding horses at Ironstone as part of their therapy he thinks that any one of them could be his sister.

He received the Spirit of Giving Award at the gala for his decades of work on behalf of veterans, and on behalf of children with special needs, including 33 years teaming with Jerry Lewis on the Labor Day telethon to overcome muscular dystrophy. The Spirit of Giving Award is a painting of a child on horseback at Ironstone Farm.

“That is my sister,” said Orlando as he looked at the award. “I’ve been privileged to receive lots of wonderful gifts in my life because of the business I’ve been in. This is one of the great ones I’ve ever received in 54 years.”

One of the main efforts of the night is to raise money for Ironstone Farm’s Sponsor a Child Program that provides money for children whose families might otherwise not be able to continue their therapy. Nine-year-old Christian Yianopoulos addressed the crowd, serving as a spokesman for the riders at Ironstone. This was the first time a rider has spoken at the 13-year-old event.

“I can feel myself getting stronger. For example, it’s easier for me to get up and down the stairs. I’m also able to balance better on my feet. My therapy at Ironstone is fun and allows me to get stronger,” said Christian. “I hope any child who can benefit from Ironstone Farm, like me, will be able to take the horse therapy so that they can have fun and get better, too.”

NECN meteorologist Matt Noyes served as master of ceremonies and auctioneer, and Kiss 108’s Rich DiMare and his players played music for the sold-out crowd. All the money raised will support Ironstone Farm’s nonprofit programs. Ironstone Farm, on Route 133 in Andover, provides therapy for children and adults with special needs, people diagnosed with cancer, combat veterans returning with stress, teens at risk, elders with memory issues and others.

The annual gala for Ironstone Farm carries a different theme each year. This year, Ironstone recreated the spirit of the so-called Party of the Century, Truman Capote’s exclusive 1966 Black and White Ball held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. People wore either black or white gala attire, and many came with a black or white mask, just as guests did in 1966. Orlando told the Ironstone crowd that as a young singer he attended the original Capote ball.



Tony Orlando, one of America’s most enduring and endearing entertainers and a superstar humanitarian, received Ironstone Farm’s 2015 Spirit of Giving Award. Tony has been a fan of Ironstone since he first visited the farm in 2010 calling the visit “one of the most inspiring days I’ve ever had.”He is so moved by the work done at Ironstone that he said he wants to perform his Vegas show for Ironstone in 2016.
Throughout his life, Tony has been a champion for the populations that Ironstone Farm serves, especially people with special needs. From singing to his sister with cerebral palsy as a boy, to teaming for 33 years with Jerry Lewis in the fight for children with muscular dystrophy, Tony has inspired and improved the lives of countless people. His electric stage presence is matched by a giving spirit evident at events throughout the year, including the Tony Orlando Yellow Ribbon Salute to Veterans event offered each Veterans Day.



[caption id="attachment_3179" align="alignleft" width="125"]bullrider_0228 Bull riding at the 2014 gala, which had a Dallas theme.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1579" align="alignright" width="300"]People hopped in the tub for photos at the "Gin Joint" bar during our 1930s inspired gala in 2013. People hopped in the tub for photos at the “gin joint” style bar during our 1920s-inspired Spirit of Giving Gala in 2013.[/caption]


Want a feel for what to expect from the 2016 gala?

Take a look at some recent affairs:

The 2014 Dallas-themed gala turned the Andover Country Club into a slice of the Lone Star state, complete with mechanical bull, high-end chuck-wagon eating stations, and a rustic wooden floor for line dancing. Check out the Spirit of Giving 2014 album on our Facebook page.

The 2013 Spirit of Giving Gala turned the Andover Country Club into a 1920s speakeasy, complete with a gin joint and casino. As usual, guests got into the spirit, dressing in the style of flappers and gangsters from the era.

Our Affiliates

assignment writing serviceassignment writing service