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An enchanted evening

Highland Springs sparkles at eighth annual gala

Created date

November 20th, 2014
residents celebrating at eighth annual gala

Year-round, the Hillcrest Clubhouse at Springs is a warm, inviting place for residents and their guests to gather. But for one night each fall, the clubhouse dazzles as Highland Springs hosts its annual gala benefitting the resident care fund.

This year’s theme, “Some enchanted evening in Paris and Tuscany,” proved to be the most elaborate gala to date.

“As our community grows, so does the gala,” says Community Resource Coordinator Barbara Blachly, who oversaw the gala committee along with Restaurant Manager Joyce Cates. “This year, we created two different settings. Chisholm’s Restaurant and the Hillcrest living room were decorated with Parisian touches, while the ambience in the Cotton Belt Café was reminiscent of Tuscany.”

A projection of the Eiffel Tower onto the backdrop of black curtains set the stage in the Hillcrest living room, where burgundy tablecloths and gold napkins adorned the tables. Paneled mirrors cast an elegant feel in Chisholm’s Restaurant, while sprays of red roses in both areas called to mind the romantic sensibilities of Paris.

In the café, terra cotta pots set against gold curtains evoked the rich, warm atmosphere of Tuscany.

“This is our night to shine,” says Highland Springs’ Executive Director Matt Neville. “The gala represents the best of what Highland Springs has to offer. We are truly a community that uses our gifts to celebrate life.”

Dinner and dancing

As the evening got under way, more than 350 partygoers enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the lobby of the Hillcrest Clubhouse before moving upstairs for dinner and dancing.

Once seated, guests dined on their choice of Maine lobster vol-au-vent with orange cognac sauce or pan-seared filet mignon with peppercorn cream sauce.

Highland Springs resident Jack Melick and his orchestra provided live entertainment in Chisholm’s Restaurant, where they opened with the first strains of “Some Enchanted Evening,” from the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific.

Jack Melick’s orchestra kept the dance floor full late into the evening as they entertained guests with tunes from the big band era.

In the Cotton Belt Café, guests hit the dance floor to the musical stylings of the Bill G Band.

A family affair

For many Highland Springs residents, the gala is a family affair. Walt Zulch, who celebrated his 84th birthday on the day of the gala, fêted the occasion with his wife Mary and three of their four children.

“What a wonderful way to celebrate my birthday,” said Walt. “I can’t think of a better party.”

For Highland Springs resident Vi Tabler, the gala has become an annual event for her children and grandchildren.

“We call this our family prom,” said Vi. “It’s a night for us to get dressed up and celebrate being together.”

Meaningful benefits 

Throughout the evening, guests had the opportunity to bid on silent auction items donated by residents and staff. A few of the offerings included a cocktail party for eight donated by dining services, a limousine Christmas light tour anywhere in the D/FW metroplex donated by the resident life department, and tickets to a Dallas Stars hockey game donated by residents Conley and Linda Cathey.

Proceeds from the silent auction and the gala ticket sales benefitted the resident care fund, which ensures that residents who experience an unforeseen financial situation beyond their control are never asked to leave the community. The Residence and Care Agreement has complete details.

“We raised over $53,000 at this year’s gala,” says Neville. “The generosity of our residents and their support for the resident care fund was overwhelming.”

New residence building

The gala was also meaningful for a select group of guests who will soon be moving to Highland Springs. Willow Ridge, the community’s newest residence building, is under construction and scheduled to open in 2015. The new building is already 75% reserved, and several future residents attended the gala.

Dennis and Edith Hogan have been easing into life at Highland Springs for years. The McKinney, Tex., couple joined the priority list at the North Dallas community in October 2008, a move that secured their spot in line for the apartment home of their choice.

“We’ve been using the medical center at Highland Springs since we joined the priority list,” says Dennis, a retired manufacturer’s representative. “When we heard the community was breaking ground on a new residence building, we decided we were ready to make Highland Springs our home.”

The couple reserved a two-bedroom, Pendleton-style apartment home in Willow Ridge. Currently, they are downsizing and preparing to list their house in McKinney. They are also jumping into the social scene at Highland Springs. When they received an invitation to the gala, they were eager to attend.

“We knew the gala would be a good opportunity to get to know our future neighbors,” says Edith, who works as a teacher of dyslexic students. “We’re thrilled to be moving to such a vibrant community.”