Saratoga Hospital Gala: Health, History, Community and Continuity

On the Cover: (L) Congressman Paul Tonko, along with (R) Sonny and (Gala Committee Member) Julie Bonacio salute outgoing Saratoga Hospital CEO Angelo Calbone, Wife Kate, and their family for many years of service. Photo: Jessica Troisi
30 seconds before “Showtime”: Auctioneer Chris Ward (L) and Saratoga Hospital Foundation Executive Director Mary Solomons (R) are all smiles. With 14 dynamite Live Auction items like “Christmas in Maui,” you’d be smiling too! Photo: Arthur Gonick
Attendees gave a warm welcome to incoming CEO Jill Johnson VanKuren (R).

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Fueled by a ‘Great Gatsby”  theme (it IS The Roaring 20s, you know) on Wednesday, August 3, The Saratoga Hospital Gala once again defended their title as the best-attended benefit on 2022’s summer social calendar. It is expected that this evening’s proceeds will once again be spectacular, and this post will be updated when the final total is available.

The ‘buy in’ to this year’s theme was in evidence everywhere, as many attendees summoned up their inner flappers and zoot suited swells for their evening attire. This was punctuated and reinforced by Vegas-style showgirls on stilts, and similarly-clad acrobats on the ceiling of the massive tent which adjoined The Lodge on the grounds of Saratoga Casino Hotel.  

(Big Kudos for this shot to my good friend Geriann Eddy of Fine Affairs, who said: “Arthur, you might want to look up…”)

The attention to detail, including adherence to a schedule, is uniformly superior at this event year after year. But the Hospital Gala has two categories in which they shine brightest – head-and-shoulders above any other. The first are the live auction items (totals forthcoming). When ‘Christmas in Maui’ is just one of 14 offerings, you know you’ve got a powerhouse!

The second area is the food presentation and quality. The Saratoga Hospital Gala was catered by Saratoga Casino Hotel and led by Executive Chef Shawn Nash. People were giving big raves to the scallops (above) the desserts, the Teddy Foster-sized piles of lobster, the everything. A+++!

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It was a night of tradition, but also of transition – as the attendees honored their long-time CEO (Angelo Calbone) who is retiring next month, by establishing a fund in his son’s honor; and heartily welcomed a new CEO (Jill Johnson VanKuren) as she prepared to take the reins. Whatever changes may come in the future, as a result of this transition, tonight’s attendance assures that one tradition will not:

It is the unwavering continuity of this community; and of this community’s support for its hospital.

Enjoy the gallery – and many thanks to Jessica Troisi for her contributions.

Arthur Gonick – August 8, 2022  

Gallery – The Saratoga Hospital Gala

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