Michael Franti & Spearhead wow the NightShine crowd
May 1, 2014
From The Denver Post: When women attend a haute couture fashion show, they often show their respect by wearing an outfit from one of the designer's current or vintage collections.
So when Les Shapiro helped Lauren Whitney emcee the Denver Health Foundation's NightShine Gala, the veteran sportscaster took a cue from the women and saluted headliner Michael Franti by delivering his welcoming remarks in his bare feet. (Franti never wears shoes when he performs).
But after Whitney, weather anchor for the CBS4 morning news team, ribbed Shapiro for not having had a pedicure, he assured the 1,500-plus guests that he'd finish out the evening with his tootsies inside a pair of shoes.
Chaired by Steve Demby, a member of the executive committee at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, and Dish Network executive vice president and general counsel Stanton Dodge, NightShine will net in excess of $1 million for programs and services that Denver Health provides through its hospital, school-based health clinics, community health centers and Denver's 911 emergency system.
NightShine also was an occasion to honor David McReynolds, founder and president of Columbine Health Plan and immediate past chair of the Denver Health Foundation board, and to recognize Dr. Philip Mehler, who is retiring as Denver Health's chief medical officer.
“David McReynolds is Denver Health's super hero,” said foundation chief Paula Herzmark. “His head follows his heart.”
Franti and his band, Spearhead, didn't disappoint. They sang all their hits, including “Say Hey (I Love You),” “The Sound of Sunshine” and “I'm Alive.” Even better: Franti left the stage several times to wend his way through the audience — even up into the bleachers where several hundred concert-only guests were seated — to pose for selfies and never miss a beat of whatever song he was singing.
Michael Franti & Spearhead weren't the only ones to provide music at NightShine. The Denver Health Band, featuring CEO Art Gonzalez on guitar, kicked cocktail hour up a notch with tunes that ranged from classic rock to country.
BJ Dyer and his staff at Bouquets brought an intimate feel to the cavernous National Western Events Center with the help of soft lights, balloons and exquisite floral displays. The beef tenderloin dinner, by Epicurean, was served at tables for 10 that alternated in shape: round, square and rectangular. And, as departing guests waited for Jay's Valetto fetch their cars, they could step up to Epicurean's food truck for a sample of hot-from-the-fryer churros served with spicy chocolate dipping sauce.
Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock were at NightShine, along with former Gov. Bill Owens, U.S. Reps. Cory Gardner, Ed Perlmutter and Mike Coffman; former Mayor Federico Peña and his wife, Cindy; and congressional hopeful Andrew Romanoff. U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and wife Maggie Fox joined former Colorado first lady Jeannie Ritter, Dr. Dennis Bensard and Jerilyn Bensard at a table hosted by foundation board member Kathy Klugman and her husband, Rob.
Other revelers were foundation board chair Michael Pollak and his wife, Shereen; Denver Scholarship Foundation founders Tim and Bernadette Marquez; Hubert Farbes, chair of the Denver Health and Hospital Authority board; CBS4 general manager Walt DeHaven; Vectra Bank president Bruce Alexander; Delta Dental president Kate Paul and husband Mike Passmore; Paulene and Dr. Toby Cole;and Sage Hospitality'sWalter and Christie Isenberg, in whose backyard Michael Franti & Spearhead did an intimate fundraiser last summer for Denver Kids.