Washington Performing Arts Society Reception

Disappointment that mezzo-soprano Susan Graham had a last-minute cancellation of her afternoon Kennedy Center Washington Performing Arts Society concert Feb. 4 was softened when Bonnie McElveen-Hunter informed Daren Thomas, WPAS’s director of leadership and institutional gifts, that the post-performance cocktail reception at her stunning Georgetown residence was “always on.” When Thomas presented her with a bouquet, she quipped, “Am I the entertainer?” As a former ambassador to Finland and chairman of the American Red Cross, she said her humanitarian commitment had led her to realize that “the arts lift us up.” She thanked WPAS president and CEO Neale Perl for his leadership in expressing the “generosity of spirit through music.” He, in turn, said that over his ten years with the WPAS, despite cancellations, “Our track record is very good” and urged everyone to hold onto their tickets because “Susan Graham will be back.” Guests listened raptly to Samantha McElhaney, who sang her signature roles from “Porgy and Bess,” concluding with a cherished spiritual. The hostess invited guests to explore her wonderful home and welcomed Ambassador of Finland Ritva Koukku-Ronde.


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