Wolf Trap Ball 2016: Greenery and Glamour!

A Glittering Evening:  The 2016 Wolf Trap Ball celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service.

by Patrick D. McCoy

Former First Lady Laura Bush shared her personal love for our nation's National Park Service. Mrs. Bush was the Honorary Co-Chair for the 2016 Wolf Trap Ball. (Photo: Courtesy of Wolf Trap)

Former First Lady Laura Bush delivers remarks at the 2016 Wolf Trap Ball (Photo Credit:  Courtesy of Wolf Trap)

There are many galas to choose from in Washington on any given night. But one thing is for certain, the annual Wolf Trap Ball is definitely at the top of the list. While most of the arts organizations are gearing up for new seasons, the Wolf Trap Ball marked the end of its season of diverse offerings with one of the most glamorous evenings of the year. This was not just a regular gala. It was an evening of special surprises that celebrated the Centennial of the National Park Service. After a gracious words of welcome from President and CEO Arvind Manocha and honorary chair the Honorable Sally Jewell, Wolf Trap Alumna, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves and pianist Kim Pensinger Witman took the stage for a memorable performance, delighting the invited 800 guests. Ms. Graves performed a beautiful ‘Americana’ medley which included Gene Scheer’s melodious “American Anthem” and the traditional “America the Beautiful” to a rousing standing ovation!

Wolf Trap is the nation’s only national park dedicated to the performing arts, so it was most appropriate to include a very special guest on the program who was not only a national figure, but also an advocate of the our nation’s parks. It was known fact that former First Lady Laura Bush was the honorary chair and guest speaker at the ball, but the audience went into a frenzy of euphoric applause when it was announced that the 43rd President of the United States George W. Bush would be making the introduction for his wife prior to her remarks. Mrs. Bush shared her passion for the National Park Service and reminisced about her many hikes and times of enjoyment in its beauty of splendor. Those experiences led to her, along with her daughter Jenna Bush Hager resulted in the writing of a beautiful children’s book entitled “Our Great Big Backyard” which chronicles those experiences. Through the generosity Microsoft and Wolf Trap Board Member and Ball Co-chair Fred Humphries, each attendee received a copy of the beautifully illustrated book. Tim and Ann Keating were co-chairs of the ball alongside Humphries and his wife Kim Humphries. A special moment during Mrs. Bush’s remarks was when she acknowledged the immense talent of Denyce Graves and how moved she was when Ms. Graves sang at the memorial service at Washington National Cathedral at the service that was held almost immediately after the attacks of 9/11.

The magnificent evening raised a whopping $1.58 million dollars to support the arts education and programming initiatives at Wolf Trap. Lead sponsors for the 2016 were Dan and Gayle D’Aniello, with The Boeing Company and Microsoft as Presenting sponsors. Margaret and Shashi Gupta and Suzy and Bob Pence served as Host sponsors. Other sponsors included diamond level sponsors Hillary and Tom Baltimore, Christina and Gary Mather, KPMG, MicroStrategy, PWC, SunTrust, and USAA.

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