In late February, in a duel between two bidders vying for a pair of tickets to Elton's sold out birthday concert in New York (including a backstage visit), Glendale resident Steve Nishibayashi was the ultimate winner at Hillsides annual benefit.
Helping to raise money for Hillsides, a residential and community treatment center that creates safe places for children at risk and their families, guests at A Marvelous Party raised $355,000 (including the $8,000 Steve shelled out for the Rocket Man's gig).
In what was our best ever black-tie gala, Hillsides is extremely grateful to our friends who came out to support this event, said John Hitchcock, the organisation's executive director. Many guests bid generously, donated to our Hillsides Education Center and tutor program, and directly impacted children through our wishing well.
Celebrity auctioneer and NBC4 weatherman, Fritz Coleman smoothly navigated through the live auction, encouraging 315 guests to raise their paddles. So besides Steve, the victors included Sam Cargill of Altadena, who will be singing Barbara Ann on stage with the Beach Boys in San Diego, and Pasadena's Mark Mertens, who will be sailing away on a 12-night Viking River Cruise valued at $9,200.
Other highlights of the L.A. event included the menu of beef tenderloin, vegetable timbale and chocolate bread pudding, and appearance by an Emmy Award winner.
Jean Smart, who volunteers regularly at Hillsides, encouraged guests to give a little bit extra to benefit the students at Hillsides Education Center and youngsters in the tutor/mentor program.
It doesnt take that much to turn a child around and let them know they deserve things.''