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Las Vegas Society News  

Note: This is a past article from May 13, 2013
You can find the current Las Vegas Society News article HERE


Showgirl greeting guests Robert and Debbie Holgate

Former Showgirls with Randy Soard

Mingling and Music at cocktail reception

This year’s Nevada Opera Theatre Guild’s International Friendship Luncheon was extra special as they presented the First Annual “Vintage Vegas” at Piero’s Italian Cuisine. Guests dressed in fashion wear of Vintage Vegas were delighted to experience highlights of Vegas history by well known Las Vegas Celebrities and Personalities.

NV Opera Theatre President Denny Weddle and LouAnn Harrison Chessik

NV Opera Theatre Founder Eileen Hayes

Mayor Carolyn Goodman (Tony Sacca on left)

Dr. Morton Hyson, Mayor Carolyn Goodman, NOT Pres. Denny Weddle

L to R Sam Berkley (son), Shelley Berkley, Dr. Larry Lehrner (husband) and, friend with owner of Piero’s, Fred Glusman

Bruce and Barbara Lee Woolen, Dana Werner and husband and Dr. Hyson

Champagne with strawberries were offered to guests as they entered Piero’s and they enjoyed mingling with friends and shopping at the silent auction.

A delicious lunch was served with a menu of:
Caesars Salad
Chicken Vesunio –Fried Eggplant, Mozzarella Cheese, Tomato sauce
Fresh Vegetables
Assorted (yum yum) Pastries coffee/tea

The Program Vintage Vegas Memories was hosted by Master of Ceremonies, Tony Sacca. Tony introduced Nevada Opera Founder, Eileen Hayes and Ellie Smith, Miss Teen Nevada who sang beautifully. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman then spoke about Las Vegas’ past and about her renowned opera composer great grand-uncle Karl Goldmark.

Ellie Smith, Miss Teen Nevada singing

Cindy Doumani introducing former Showgirls and Vintage speakers

Tony Sacca M.C. on left showing vintage Thunderbird Hotel/Casino Show

Nostalgic stories were revealed by many former showgirl attendees who were introduced by Las Vegas community leader and former headliner showgirl/dancer, Cindy Doumani who had performed at The Thunderbird Casino/Hotel. Showgirl LouAnn Harrison Chessik showed pictures of Cindy and The Thunderbird Showroom. Society of Seven founder Tony Ruviera sang and told about his 4 year stint at The Thunderbird with his group called The Fabulous Echoes. Showgirl Elaine C. McNamara (wrote a book ‘In The Midst of Cowboys, Crooners and Gangsters’) and Bernie Sindler, owner of the Silver Slipper and Circus Circus gave an intriguing insight into Vintage Vegas. Jonathan Ullman spoke about the Mob Museum and former Judge Bill Jansen told of his being with the Las Vegas FBI and stories about the Las Vegas Mafia and organized crime.

Jonathan Gorst (accompianist), Singers: Duchess Sylzcia, Dr. Morton Hyson

Speakers: Barbara Lee and Bruce Woolen – Denny Weddle in back

(Center) Toni Hart and son Grammy Winner Larry Hart

Others who spoke were: former Congresswoman, Shelley Berkley, Bruce and Barbara Lee Woolen, who told about the American Humane Association Lights of Compassion Weekend May 17-18 (info: 866 242 1877), Peggy King, (widow of Sonny King, who was originally with Jimmy Durante), Grace Robbins (widow of author Harold Robbins), Will Berberich (Phil Foster’s stepson) and Toni Hart (singer and owner of Hart Mansion). So many other personalities in the audience had stories to tell and came to the podium and spoke of their vintage experiences. In between stories, there was entertainment. Musical program was singing by Tony Sacca, Carme Petrillo (who also yodeled), Grammy Award Winner, Larry Hart, Dr. Morton I. Hyson, Duchess Sylzia and Tony Ruivivar. Jonathan Gorst (Las Vegas Phantom) was the accompanist.

Karen and Tony Ruivivar (Society of Seven)


Guests - Thalia Dondaro, Harriet Trudell, Pat Cleary

Grace Robbins and Carme Petrillo (center)

(L to Center) - Susan Stafford, Gloria White, Mafalda

Certificates of Recognition were given to Nevada Opera Theatre Founder, Eileen Hayes, Nevada Opera Theatre President Denny Weddle and Dr. Morton Hyson.


Guests - Chief of Diplomatic Protocol on left - Gayle Anderson

Although the event lasted quite long, no one wanted to leave as there was so much fun and excitement going on. Kudos to the Nevada Opera Theatre Guild for a great event.

The Nevada Opera Theatre Guild with Karen Scherer, Chairwoman, is a major sponsor for the Nevada Opera Theatre main stage productions and the scholarship that is presented each year to a UNLV Vocal Major student in the Music Department. Each year The Nevada Opera Theatre Guild hosts several events that have become a tradition. They are: Opera Gala, International Friendship Luncheon, Patron Receptions, Holiday High Teas and the Holiday Celebration Luncheon.


Former Showgirl Liz Elliot, Showgirl, Robert Nash (DiNero impressionist)

Guest Speakers - 3 former Showgirls

Future Nevada Opera events:
June 15 – “Meet The Artists reception at Las Vegas Natural History Museum 7 p.m.
June 22- AIDA at Artemus Ham Concert Hall 8 p.m.
7 p.m. pre-opera lecture by Maestro Frank Fetta

[ List of Past Las Vegas Society News Articles ]
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