Category Archives: PONCHO

Celebrating PONCHO 1963-2013

Cathi Hatch and Kay Baxter
Cathi Hatch and Kay Baxter

Earlier this week, I was delighted to attend the 50 year anniversary of PONCHO.  Though as you may know, PONCHO ceased to exist as a separate 501C-3 organization this year, many of us played a role in its success in raising over $35 million for the Arts during the past 50 years. As the evening’s program proclaimed:

Thousands of Volunteer Hours
Hundreds of Life-Long Friendships
40 Gala Auctions, 21 Wine Auctions, 8 Art Auctions
Countless fund memories and the laugh lines to prove it

The party was a visual delight with giant oversize pink and pale gold balloons floating at the ceiling in the blue ballroom at The Ruins, gorgeous peony floral arrangements, The Event Chairs were PONCHO Pat Presidents Pat Fearey (1993 “Come Fly With Me”) and Llew Pritchard (1973 “Tivoli”) and Party Chair was Kay Baxter (2005 “Ooh La La”).  In addition to Pat, Llew and Kay, many other past presidents were in attendance at the party including Herman Sarkowsky (1968), Faye Sarkowsky (1985 “Out of the World”), C. David Hughbanks (1980 “Coloring Book”), Dorothy Fluke (1990 “Crystal Ball for the Arts”), Carl Behnke (1991, Viva el Arte”), Ron Elgin (1996 “Italian Carnival), Gary Gayton (1997 “35th Anniversary”), Chap Alvord (1999 “Celebrate the Century”), Craig Hopkins (2001 “Imagique”), John & Polly DeFeo (2004 “American Razzle Dazzle”), Michael Alhadeff (2006 “Derby Dreams”), Jeffrey Atkin (2007-2008), Janet True (2009), Evelyn Zabo (2010-2011), Stephen Kutz (2012-2013) and me, Cathi Hatch (1998 “Passion for the Arts”).

Llew Pritchard, Dorothy Fluke, Carl Behnke
Llew Pritchard, Dorothy Fluke, Carl Behnke

A number of the past Wine Auction chairs were also in attendance including Founder Carl Behnke, Robert Lucurell, Ron Elgin, Mel Sturman, Greg Lill, Stacy Lill, Renee Behnke, Doug True, Bob Parks, Steve Kutz and Courtney Womack.

PONCHO Past Wine Auction Chairs
PONCHO Past Wine Auction Chairs

The evening began with 10 wickedly difficult PONCHO trivia questions written by Pat and Llew.  You had to have lived through the early PONCHO years to be able to answer them.  Here is just a sampling.  Can you answer any of them?

  1. Who were the three Founders of PONCHO
  2. What does the PONCHO acronym stand for?
  3. Which two PONCHO Presidents in addition to chairing the PONCHO Gala also chaired the PONCHO Wine Auction?
  4. Which PONCHO President accidentally locked himself outside his Sheraton Hotel room in the nude the morning after PONCHO?
  5. Which two fathers and sons were both PONCHO presidents?

It was so much fun to see and catch up with all of these folks plus other active board members Annette Parks, Judith Kindler, Chloe Mueller, Duell Fisher, Patti Payne, Marc Sherman, Rose Dennis, Paul Birkeland, Scott Swerland, Carol Wright, Janet True and dozens of others.

Annette Parks, Cathi Hatch, Chloe Mueller, Judith Kindler
Annette Parks, Cathi Hatch, Chloe Mueller, Judith Kindler

PONCHO does live on through the PONCHO Legacy Fund at the Seattle Foundation.  This designated Fund serves to continue to help secure the future of six of our community’s greatest arts and cultural treasures including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Opera, Seattle Repertory Theatre and Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

PONCHO Wine Auction at 20

Ken Hatch, Mark & Nancy Pellegrino, Cathi Hatch

Last night, the Sheraton Seattle was the site of the PONCHO 20th International Wine Auction for the Arts.  Almost every past Wine Auction Chairman was in attendance to celebrate the anniversary and to be introduced on stage in a similar parade as PONCHO past Presidents have been introduced in the past.  The parade of past Wine Auction Chairmen included Carl Behnke, founding Wine Auction Chairman, as well as Chris Kosmos, Bob Stevens, Bill Schallert, Ron Elgin, Bob Lucurell, Greg Lill, Jack Sowle, Jay Schiering, Mel Sturman, Dan Heidt, Tom Captain, Doug True, Bob Parks, Renee Behnke, Laurie Corliss, Stacy Lill, Kathleen Shoup and current chair, Tamara Wilson.

Paul Birkeland, Evelyn Zabo, Diane Birkeland

The Honorary Vintner was Dan Duckhorn and he donated wine and auction packages as well as purchased multiple items at the auction.  He spoke briefly and talked about Duckhorn Wine Company, which he founded in 1976 as being the 40th winery established in Napa Valley and that he was able to purchase an acre of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards for around $450 which today would sell for around $250,000.

We were seated with Ben Smith of Cadence Winery, who provided the barrel tasting and the wine that filled the commemorative magnums.  He shared a bottle of his current 2007 Bel Canto release at our table which was my favorite wine we tasted last evening.

Having served as PONCHO President in 1998-99 and having been on the PONCHO Board for 25 years, it was fun to see so many familiar faces volunteering and working the greeting line as well as many wine aficionados, PONCHO Board members and arts supporters attending as patrons including current PONCHO President, Evelyn Zabo, PONCHO Executive Director, Lorna Kneeland, Diane & Paul Birkeland, Nancy & Mark Pellegrino, Leslie & Dale Chihuly, Mitzi & John Morris, Connie Blumenthal, Joe Whinney, Robin du Brin & Douglas Howe, Janet True, Joan & Bob Hibbs, Annette Parks, Steve Kutz & Courtney Womack, Bonnie Elgin, Stacy & Doug King, Peggy Reddy & Christopher Chan, Jake Kosseff, Sheila Otter, Gary Roshak, plus several hundred others.
Family friend, Eliza Flug-Coburn purchased the Italian Wine Tasting Dinner at our home which was ably marketed by Mistress of Ceremonies Extraordinaire, Patti Payne.  The dinner is a Procurement Partner item for Pacific Northwest BalletKen and I are looking forward to the dinner along with co-donors, Michele & Dan Heidt, Jake Kosseff and Chef Philip Mihalski of Nell’s Restaurant.
Now, on to the ARCS fundraiser tonight . . . Shaking it Up for Science in SoDo

60th Birthday Celebration for Chloe

Patty Barrier, Chloe Mueller, Cathi Hatch

Thursday evening, Patty & Jimmy Barrier picked Ken and me up in one of their sexy Porsche Panameras to take us to the 60th Birthday Celebration for good friend, Chloe Mueller.  The party was at the elegant Georgian-style home overlooking Lake Washington of Steve Walker & Deborah Weasea.  Steve, Deborah and Chloe’s husband, Lance, along with several of Chloe’s other friends including Michael & Denise Nielsen and Annette & Bob Parks co-hosted entertainment, cocktails and dinner to celebrate her big 60. 
When we arrived, there was a fantastic photo display of Chloe at all ages.  Though Chloe has always been absolutely beautiful, I hadn’t realized that she was a lingerie model for department store Frederick & Nelson, in her younger days.  But, with her beautiful face and body, she looked absolutely glowing in her photo montage.
In addition to all the party hosts, it was fun to see so many friends at the party including Dorothy & David Fluke, Tom & Cathy O’Keefe, Anne Marie & Tom Hedges, Kyle Johnson & Judith Kindler, Bill & Sherry Portuese, Chuck Kusak, Sherry Raisbeck, Theresa & Greg Jones and many others.




Kyle Johnson, Anne-Marie & Tom Hedges
We were each asked to bring a memory and/or photo of Chloe.  One of my favorite Chloe memories was around twelve years ago when I served as the President of PONCHO and Chloe served as the Marketing Vice President.  The year was 1998 and our PONCHO board had a fantastic year of very successful fundraising for the arts around the theme, “Passion for the Arts”.  For the big PONCHO Gala which occurred in the spring, people were encouraged to wear red.  For men, it was black tie, red tie optional.  The Gala was a sell-out (which was the result of Chloe’s hard work in marketing), with 1,100 party-goers filling the Sheraton Seattle Grand Ballroom.  The entire room glowed like a red jewel box including walls, tabletops and chairs.  The press was present throughout the evening and the next day in the Seattle Times, there was a huge photo of Chloe and me and our friend, Jeri Rice, all dressed in red evening gowns admiring a bronze George Tsutakawa fountain that was to be auctioned that evening.  Chloe is one of those people that can always be counted on to pitch in and help the cause and was part of helping our board achieve our success that year.  I love Chloe and so appreciate that one of her many personal talents and gifts is her willingness to get involved to create a stronger, better arts community.

Happy, happy birthday Chloe!  You are a beautiful person, both inside and out!  Here’s to celebrating at least 60 more birthdays with you!

Super Tuscan Wine Tasting & Name the Puppy Contest!

Tonight we hosted the PONCHO and PNB Super Tuscan Wine Tasting Party at our home. All day we couldn’t decide whether to set up the party indoors or outside (20% chance of rain and pouring this morning at my house!). Our co-host, Dan Heidt (who organizes this auction party opportunity each year with me), promised sunshine so ultimately we did set up outdoors and it turned out to be a great decision since the sun came out and we had a very pleasant evening.

Hans Miller, Michael & Patti Brustkern
Guests purchased individual spaces for the party at the PONCHO Wine Auction which included Super Tuscan wines for tasting and beautiful small bites from Jonathan Sundstrom of Lark. The food was incredible and included slightly frozen foie gras bon bons with white peach coulis and aged balsamic vinegar; ricotta cheese, heirloom tomato, and mint crostini; lobster mushroom soup with toasted garlic; grilled wild boar sausage with rosemary and olives; marinated octopus with peppers and oregano; eggplant caponata crostini with basil; and Fiore Sardo Wagyu skirt steak crostini with blue cheese, arugula, and sweet onion jam. Dessert was a petite vanilla bean panna cotta with red wine blackberries and lavender shortbread crumbles atop. Every bite was absolutely amazing!
Lisa Rongren, Christopher Chan, Peggy Reddy
Lisa Rongren, from John Howie Steak, was the sommelier this year and did a fantastic job of explaining the individual wines and keeping us on track with the tasting. We tasted nine Super Tuscan wines and my favorite was the Sassicaia, considered one of Italy’s top Bordeaux-style red wines.
Michael & Peggy Swistak
Cathi, Z-Puppy, Dan Heidt
Randy Houtz, Z-Puppy

We are puppy sitting for the week (with an option to purchase!) and the guests took turns passing the puppy around and cuddling her. She seemed to be enjoying the whole party from start to finish. I decided that we should have a “Name the Puppy” contest and several guests suggested potential monikers. The contest rules are that the name should either start with the letter “z” or the sound of the letter “z” (i.e. Czarina would qualify). She will be coming to the ZINO Society office each day and her title will be “Z-Puppy”. If you send in the winning name (I am the primary judge but will include Ken and the Z-Team in the selection decision), you will receive a fabulous prize (yet to be determined!). Please send in your names soon so we can name the currently “nameless Z-Puppy”!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

A Seattle treasure is gone!  Ken and I attended the memorial service for our friend, Dick Friel, last week at the Museum of Flight.  I estimate that there were around 1,000 people in attendance of what was organized as a grand celebration of his life.  He was loved by so many of us who had the opportunity to work with him over his lifetime.  Though we served together on the PONCHO board and had the opportunity to work together for many years, my closest association with Dick was when I served as PONCHO President in 1998 and had the benefit of working with him closely to raise $2 million for the arts that year. 
The memorial celebration began with a Missing Man Formation Fly-Over of four jets organized by Joe Clark, Bruce McCaw and Clay Lacey.  We all moved outside to view the fly-over and as the one jet left the formation and began a slow upward ascent away from the other three, I know I certainly got a lump in my throat and saw many others with shiny eyes too.
Once back inside, Bob Flick, Dick’s long-time friend and usual auction item announcer, emceed the celebration.  It began with a welcome from Kevin Callahan, Chairman and Dr. Bonnie Dunbar, President and CEO of the Museum of Flight.  Pastor Bruce Swanson shared the 23rd Psalm, musical interludes were performed by Melvyn Poll and Dick Foley, a video detailing Dick’s aviation marketing awards was presented and tributes were shared by Joe Clark of Aviation Partners Inc. and Palmer Pettersen.  Others who shared tributes were Carol Munro, Patti Payne and Friel family members, wife Sharon and sons Rick and Chris Friel.
There was a lot of laughter as the speakers fondly reminisced about Dick’s energy and passion for everything he was involved in during his long career in aviation marketing and in his avocation of auctioneering.  Some of his interesting quirks were recalled such as stamping his foot when something sold at an auction, or launching his note cards in flight once he was finished with each one.  An interesting factoid shared was that Dick and Sharon Friel, truly a dynamic duo, have raised more than $300,000,000 for the many charity auctions they have participated in over the years.  Dick’s joke team including Tom Mathers, Don Cohan, Joan Byrne and Brad Goode shared some of Dick’s best jokes over the years and had everyone laughing.
Dick and Sharon’s favorite song, “Moon River” was performed by their daughter-in-law, Kim Virant accompanied by Friel sons Rick and Chris, Mike McCready and Ty Bailey and we concluded the memorial with Dick Foley performing and leading us to participate in the song, “I’ll be Seeing You” .
Following the celebration of Dick’s life was a big reception in the Great Gallery where we had the chance to say hello and visit with hundreds of friends who also cared about honoring the life of Dick Friel.  Though he is gone, he left each of us with special memories and as he often said, I say to him now in hopes he will hear my message,  “Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!”