Around Aspen: Les Dames |

Around Aspen: Les Dames

Mary Eshbaugh Hayes
The Aspen Times
Enjoying the cocktail hour before the Les Dames dinner-dance are, left to right, Jennine Hough, Joe Myers and Charlotte Jones. (MEH)

It was a glamorous evening in late August when Les Dames d’Aspen held their annual Summer Gala at the Doerr-Hosier Center at the Meadows. It was black tie so everyone was dressed to the nines and enjoyed the cocktail hour, silent auction, dinner and dancing.

The upcoming season will mark the 25th anniversary of the organization, which was founded in 1983 by Christine Aubale Gerschel, who is currently the president. Since its founding, Les Dames has raised approximately $2.4 million for the arts in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. In the early years, the group put on summer extravaganzas and a New Year’s Eve Gala in order to raise funds. Les Dames was reorganized a few years ago to make it a more social organization and events are held weekly during the high seasons of winter and summer. It is a good way for newcomers to get to know Aspenites. Events include hikes, skiing days, cross-country skiing, bicycling, golfing, luncheons, cooking demonstrations, dinners, wine and cheese tastings, art gallery lectures and concerts. Also there are two parties a year ” a luncheon in January and the gala dinner-dance in August. Dues are $1,200 a year, and the dues now provide the funding.

Les Dames usually raises more than $100,000 each year. Of the first $100,000, 80 percent goes to Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (30 percent supports Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s professional company and school and 50 percent supports the Aspen Dance Festival, which is presented by Aspen Santa Fe Ballet during the winter and summer seasons). The group contributes four scholarships of about $2,000 each to art students in the Aspen/Basalt schools. The remaining funds are distributed between the Aspen Writers’ Foundation and Theatre Aspen. For funds raised in excess of $100,000, a maximum of $5,000 each will be donated to Aspen Music Festival and School and to Jazz Aspen Snowmass. Any funds in excess of $111,000 will be divided as 80 percent to Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, 10 percent each to the Aspen Writers’ Foundation and Theatre Aspen. For further information, call Christine Aubale Gerschel at (970) 925-9028.

Guests at the gala were the members of the ballet company and they visited with members of Les Dames and other guests, getting to know members of the community. The ballet dancers not only are busy with rehearsals and performances, they also serve as models, with their lean bodies, at style shows. One such event was late in the summer when Prada held its preview of autumn fashions.

The Aspen Chapter of the 99’s will host its 25th annual Pilots’ Christmas Party on Monday, Dec. 10, at the Hotel Lenado at 200 S. Aspen St. from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Appetizers and desserts will be provided and there will be a cash bar. The party is free and open to the public and all aviation enthusiasts are encouraged to attend. Attend and talk flying with old friends and make new ones while enjoying some holiday cheer. For more information, call Cindy at 927-9690 or Polly at 925-5510.

Local musician Tom Paxton has just won the the 2007 Children’s Music Web award for his children’s CD, “S’More Songs.” Accompanying Tom on the Cd are voice students of Julie Paxton. CDs are available locally at Great Divide Music or at Paxton “just in time for Christmas!

The February 2008 issue of Backpacker magazine includes a photograph of Martha Moran of the U.S. Forest Service Aspen District, showing her removing a memorial plaque in Colorado’s Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area. It is illegal to place crosses, wind chimes, cairns and other permanent makers inside national parks and forests. However, many people do place them there. For years, park officials ignored the memorials, but a recent surge in the number of displays in Colorado has forced rangers to begin removing them.

Undercurrent … Holiday parties all over town!

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