Starlight Orchestra pulls in $650000 for Bridge Project

By Joanne DavidsonRich and Sandy Laws chaired the Bridge Project Gala that honored Leslie and Gary Howard. (David Zalubowski, Special to The Denver Post )

The Starlight Orchestra, featuring Valerie Romanoff, seems to play all the hottest parties on the New York society circuit, and the group is establishing a name for itself in Denver, as well.

In 2008, it provided the sounds for a party at which Barack Obama celebrated his nomination for president of the United States, then Peggy and Coach Mike Shanahan engaged them to play when their daughter, Krystal, married Michael Sachs in 2009.

Their appearances were so well- received that when organizers of the 2010 Bridge Project Gala came calling, the response was an immediate “yes.”

And once word spread, reservations came pouring in.

Starlight's Performers at Bridge Project Gala

The event chaired by Rich and Sandy Laws was the most successful in Bridge Project history, raising $650,00 for the mentoring programs that the University of Denver-based Bridge Project conducts in public housing sites throughout the city.



In addition to enjoying the music, guests also paid tribute to Gary and Leslie Howard. The couple (she’s a seven-year member of the Bridge Project board) was honored for having established a scholarship endowment for Bridge Project students and for producing and hosting Miracles on Ice, which brings Bridge Kids to DU’s Ritchie Center every summer for a week of hockey, education and team building.

DU Chancellor Robert Coombe and his wife, Julanna Gilbert, were among those attending the gala emceed by KOSI personality Denise Plante. Others were chairman of the board Alec Wynne and his wife, Sherry; past chair Charles Jordy and partner Brian Fun; Mike Fries, Liberty Global’s chief executive officer, and his wife, Amber; Pam and High Noon Entertainment chief operating officer Duke Hartman; Bill Myers, COO at Starz, and his wife, Dana; and Stanton Dodge, Dish Network’s executive vice president/general counsel, and his wife, Lindsey.

Also, Clara Villarosa; Bob and Judi Newman; Matt Pluss; Jerry and Lorna Gray; Preston Ems; Evan and Evi Makovsky; Steve Brett; Gary and Terri Yourtz; Meyer and Geri Bader Saltzman; Marty and Marie Herzog; Terri and Rich Slivka; JR and Jean Bitzer; sisters Hannah and Jamie Tafoya; Ted and Sue Butterworth; Christina de Barros; and Bridge Project executive director Molly Calhoun.

Correction: The Starlight Orchestra performed for George W. Bush’s Inaugural Ball, not Barack Obama’s.

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