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Gala la Bamba Raises Record $32K+ for Newport Opera House

Date: Thursday, August 10, 2017

Newport Polo is pleased to announce that Gala la Bamba raised over $32,000 for the Opera House Theater, a new record in fundraising from the Newport Polo Club’s annual black tie charity gala.  Gala la Bamba received over 400 guests in glamorous culturally-inspired black tie & evening gowns for a night of exquisite gourmet cuisine, dancing, and heart-warming philanthropy to welcome international guests of honor, the Mexican Polo Team, at Rosecliff, one of Newport’s famed Bellevue Avenue mansions.

“When we first supported the Opera House in 2009, they were just starting this lengthy project, and it looked like an insurmountable task. But after years of dedication, the team at the Opera House is in the homestretch of the extensive renovation. Our hope is to help push them over the hump this year, because supporting this project will enhance the year-round cultural fabric of Newport County and reap benefits indefinitely into the future, for generations to come.  We are fortunate to have this group of individuals in our community, who have made the Newport Opera House Theater & Performing Arts Center a reality for all of us, “ stated Dan Keating, President & Founder of Newport Polo.

Funds from Gala la Bamba, and other donations this year are doubling their impact through an awarded matching grant program. With its sights set on a 2018 grand re-opening, the Opera House Theater renovation team is continuing its capital campaign.  All donations are tax deductible. A long-lasting contribution can be made when you “Take Your Seat in Newport History” by dedicating one of the plush new theater seats in honor of your family, special friend or a loved one, with an inscription on a permanent brass name plate affixed to the new theaters seats. Call the Opera House Theater at 1-401-619-4599 for information or to reserve your seat or visit their website to purchase your seat naming opportunity.

The sold-out black tie affair began with a pre-gala 'Meet & Greet' cocktail party with the Mexican Team on the decks of the newly opened Regent Cocktail Club at Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina, where the team was headquartered.  Then on to Rosecliff for a reception on the terrace with Gala Ambassadors Dorienne & Mohamad Farzan, Project Architects from Opera House Theater, and Polo Ambassadors Mary Marwick & Peter Jenkins from the Newport Polo Club, where an enchanting panorama of gardens and twilight ocean views drew guests out onto the lawn in costume.  Details ranged from fancy sombreros, bolos, linen wedding shirts and serape tapestries accenting gentlemen’s tuxedos, and red was the color of the night for evening gowns.  Popular accents included bold embroidery, lace, floral headdresses, and ornate hand fans.  Enticing hors d'oeuvres were passed and specialty cocktails from Patrón Spirits and the Cocktail Guru enhanced the mood for a highly anticipated Silent Auction of unique and carefully-curated items and exclusive opportunities offered over the course of the evening.  

As the colors of dusk faded, guests adjourned for a seated gourmet dinner in the gilded ballroom adorned in the colors of the Mexican tri-color.  Live musical entertainment from Decades by Dezyne added to the magic, and a whirlwind Live Auction was wizarded by Emlen Drayton, who offered up the night's crown jewels.  Blackstone Catering's chef created the Mexican-inspired hors d’oeuvres, 3-course dinner and dessert station.  Après dinner guests joined the party to heighten the competition in Silent Auction bidding and enjoy refreshments and dancing under the spell of the 10-piece orchestra until the stroke of midnight.  The odyssey's finale ascended to the Skybar, atop Clarke Cooke House for a last dance.

MC'ing the program, Keating’s introductions included: 

  • Mexican Polo Team: Miguel Gomez de Parada, Jorge Habib, Victor Setien, Ricardo Astudillo
  • Opera House Theater:  Brenda Nienhouse, Executive Director and Elizabeth Drayton, Gala Auction Chair
  • Sponsors: Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina; Patrón Spirits; The Cocktail Guru
  • Patrons:  Christon Gibson; Jennifer MacIver; Caroline Reavey; Thomas Roos; Stacie Mills; Ceasar Anquillare; Laurel Howe; Patrick Quigley; William OMalley; Gina Manoni; and  Alexander Forostenko
  • Auction Committee:  Hayden Bates; Elizabeth Brooks; Margaux Buchanan; James DeAngelis; Liz Drayton; Liz Hebb; Agnes Keating; Brianna Lederman; Stacie Mills; Heather Souto; Ann Sweeney

17 years and counting, the International Polo Charity Ball is the social highlight of the summer, when polo players, enthusiasts and supporters come together for a lively celebration while supporting worthy charitable organizations. Festivities carried on through the weekend as the international guests of honor took to the polo field on the following day to challenge USA.  An annual New England Lobsterbake brought a brilliant conclusion to an extraordinary weekend.  

View the Facebook Album of photo memories from the 17th annual International Polo Charity Ball or our website album of images, with Images by Michelle Oeil PhotographyKatrine Philippides, and others,   

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About Newport Polo:

Newport Polo is the host of the Newport International Polo Series, and home of America's first polo club, offering exhibition polo and club member services and instruction for outdoor & arena polo.  Est. in 1876; founding member of the United States Polo Association.  Celebrating its 26th season, Newport Polo has raised over $1,285,500 for civic and charitable organizations. Initiatives include the International Polo Charity Ball, special benefit matches, and countless ticket donations for the Newport International Polo Series.

 We thank all the generous donors for fabulous auction exclusives:

Alex & Ani

Art on Spring

Bodhi Spa

Belgravia Imports

Clint Clemens

Custom Canvas

David Thalmann

Designs by Katrina

Elizabeth Tiedeman

Embrace Home Loans

Farmington Polo Club

Firehouse Theater


Grace Hotels

Grenon's of Newport

Jim Zynsky

John Cratin

Kramer Portraits, New York

LAKUNA Designs

Lemon & Line

Lou Lou's Decor & Venetucci Interiors

Lucas & Loralee Swanson

Marc Allen Fine Clothiers

Molly Sexton



Newport Folk Festival

Newport Food & Wine Festival

Newport International Polo Series

Newport Jazz Festival

Opera House Theater

Patrón Tequila

Peter de Savary

Peter Jenkins & Mary Marwick

Provencal Bakery


Roca Patron

Rockstar Limo

Roy Caram

Sail Newport

Saltzman's Watches

Stoneacre Pantry

Sharon Cameron Lawn Interiors

South Shore Equine Clinic

Styled by Jenna

Stacie Mills and Vanderbilt International Properties Ltd.

Thames Glass

The Chanler

Vanderbilt Grace Spa

Vanderbilt International Properties

Virgin Aged

William Heydt

Willie St. James

Wrigley Studios