Hard Rock Café Miami, located in Bayside Marketplace was the place to be as hundreds of guests from the Aventura Marketing Council (AMC), Argentine American Chamber of Commerce (AACC), Downtown Miami & Brickell Chamber of Commerce (DMBC), Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce (MBCC), Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce (M-DCC), Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MDGLCC) and Viernes Culturales joined together for a jumbo networker that featured great food and drink, amazing singers and unbeatable networking.
Gonzalo del Rio, sales manager for Hard Rock Café Miami, said, “This was the third year that we hosted this fabulous event… and each year surpasses the one before! This year, we’ve asked guests to donate ‘from the heart’ to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of So. Florida, my chosen charity.” Using a “Christmas in October” theme, del Rio and his talented team served up a full holiday dinner with all the trimmings in their private dining room, as well as wonderful passed hors d’oeuvres and gracious hospitality throughout the evening.
There was no doubt that Hard Rock Café Miami is a perfect place for upcoming meetings and social events.
Blue Bell Ice Cream was back for the third time, and the line of guests waiting to enjoy their delicious ice cream was testament to the tremendous success the company has had since entering the Florida market.
Emcee “showman extraordinaire,” George Neary from the Gr. Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, was just that- a ‘showman extraordinaire’! Everyone knew they were in for a treat when he donned his ‘sparkle’ jacket to take the stage. Ad-libbing off his 36-page agenda, Neary had the audience eagerly awaiting his next joke.
Celebrity Judges included community leader and philanthropist Aventura Comm. Billy Joel; multi-Carbonell Award- winning actor and director Dan Kelley, now starring at the Miami Beach Stage Theatre; Super DJ Angel Rodriguez who is also agent for the legendary salsa duo “Hansel y Raul”; Nicole Gates, Promotions Director of WLYF-101.5 FM Radio; and Heather Davis, noted model and actress.
Henry Menendez of HNO Productions provided all the audiovisual and photographer Juan Saco Miranoff was taking photos throughout the evening.
Each singer took the stage, representing one of the participating organizations: 11-year old Samuel Alexander, representing the GMCVB, sang “It Feels Like Tonight; 17 yearold opera singer Nicole Bequer sang “Think of Me”; Daniel Bouchet, who sang “Mack The Knife” representing the AACC; Octavia Cummings – the winner of the contest – representing the M-DCC, blew the roof off with her version of “A Fool in Love”; Lourdes the Voice, representing the DMBC, sang her original song, “Bajo la Luna”; Magda Ortiz, representing the MDGLCC, sang “Animal” and Rona Rose Witek, representing the MBCC, won runner-up with “Before He Cheats.”
It was a difficult decision for the five celebrity judges to select a winner and runner-up…their scores were combined with the audience votes to reach the final decision. CPAs Steven Price and Derby Norvilus from the firm of Goldstein Schechter Koch, served as Official Scorekeepers, and tallied the votes.
Just before the results were announced, 14-year old Ashley Briggs, a singer/songwriter, who is a volunteer for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, entertained the audience with “There’s Your Trouble.”
The winning singer, Octavia Cummings, won two round-trip tickets on Continental Airlines to go anywhere in the U.S., Mexico or Canada, thanks to friends from the GMCVB and Continental Airlines. In addition, the M-DCC’s selected charity ‘Voices for Children,’ received a $500 donation.
Runner-up Rona Rose Witek won two tickets to all the 2011- 2012 shows at the Miami Beach Stage Door Theatre, thanks to the MBCC and Sharon Kersten PR.
For more information on Hard Rock Café Miami, call 305- 377-3110 or visit hardrock.com.