It was quite an evening for The Windy Hill Foundation’s Gatsby Gala, held on the 17th of November at Salamander Resort and Spa. One of the highlights of the evening was the raising $162,000, for the Windy Hill Education Fund. The fund will directly benefit children in the Windy Hill family. Yet another way the Windy Hill Foundation supports the local community.
Entertaining guests after a charity dinner and live auction is the best way to thank supporters and volunteers for the personal and financial contributions given to continue the good works of any group.
As guests entered Salamander’s Ballroom turned jazz club, Doc Scantlin, bandleader of the Imperial Palms Orchestra, “The Best Band in America” according to Forbes magazine, was at the microphone welcoming everyone to come in and get ready for a “whoopee!”
Sporting a wicked pencil mustache never seen today on any American male, looking smashing in white tie and tails, a top hat, spats and cane, Doc Scantlin and his 15-member orchestra’s lead singer and wife, chanteuse Chou Chou (pronounced “shoo-shoo”), and an ensemble of four singing dancers affectionately referred to as “The Girlfriends”, rocked the night away to a sold-out crowd.
What’s more fun than to dress up in a rhinestone tiara, feathers, sequins and bugle beads? One after another, bejeweled and bedecked jazz babies and “hotsy-totsies” and their dapper gents in white or black jackets “hoofed” away to the foxtrot, swing, and jitterbug, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Feathers were flying and many never returned. Lots of selfies taken while “ironing one’s shoelaces”, no place for a “bluenose” or “canceled stamp.”
Part of the band’s entourage included a “cameraman” taking photographs with a vintage era camera (and a flash that nearly blinded you), and movies of the prettiest girls in his sights. He sometimes was seen hiding around huge rhinestone encrusted collared panthers (but not a drop of “panther piss” could be found even in a flask) to sneak a photo. On small leopard printed covered tables with white feathered centerpieces, flappers of all ages and their “jelly beans” imbibed in “jag juice” and bubbly. It didn’t take long for the joint to start jumpin.
Into vintage, polished chrome microphones, slightly bawdy, but never too cheeky, Chou Chou mesmerized us as she swished her tulle skirts to sing her ballads in a sweet, girlish voice. In between her ballads, Doc and the Girlfriends sang great standards such as “Night and Day”, “Minnie the Moocher” and Cab Calloway’s “Happy Feet”. As the evening got hotter, a few slightly “spifflicated” “tomatoes” ventured onto the floor, obviously enjoying the “Giggle water”, but as it is 2017, not a “half-seas over” could be found.
Throughout the show, The Girlfriends sashayed to the floor to kick up a few heels and show their “gams”, and right out of Xavier Cugat’s show, a Carmen Mirandazed Zed fruit bunch chapeau’ed, belly bare, dancer led a conga line as “Drum Boogie” boogied away. But Chou Chou’s very shapely silhouette and gorgeous big eyes and ruby lips stole the show as she lovingly flirted with dancing guests, pulling two very obliging gents to the stage to blow bubbles out into the audience as she sang “Paper Moon.” Doc Scantlin’s theatrics went far beyond the “cat’s meow” of any feline’s expectations, and after six hours in heels, the “dogs” were howling.
All frivolity aside, after a dinner of yummy beef, a very enthusiastic group of guests bid on a choice group of live auction items, helping the foundation raise a Queen Mary load of “mazuma”, a lot of “clams” more than a few heads of “lettuce.”
This year, funds will be focused on the educational aspirations of many of the children in the Windy Hill community. Kudos to Windy Hill and all its supporters and staff who made it all a “darb” of an evening.
To quote Doc Scantlin again, “Even angels need a hot time now and then, especially for a good cause.”
It was the bee’s knees!