Neighbors4Neighbors hosts 5th annual Singing with the Stars at Margaritaville
Well…not exactly “singers”. Each year, members of the Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce (AMC) participate in a great charity event for Neighbors4Neighbors, connecting those in need with those who can help since 1992. For the past three years, Neighbors4Neighbors has invited AMC Chairman Gary Pyott, Association 1st, to lead his group of singers (and we use that word loosely) to challenge other groups during a fun and fabulous evening reception. Of course, the winner of the competition is not who sings the best, but who raises the most money for the charity. Three years ago, Carl Lender of Hotwire Communications/Fision, sent ten team members to participate and donate, and voila—the name of the group became “Gary Pyott and his Fision Fiber Optics Singers”. Several other AMC members also signed up to sing and donate. So, yes…for the past two years ago the AMC has won the title and had an evening filled with fun and camaraderie… all for a great cause. But this year, their third consecutive year, was the best yet—because Neighbors4Neighbors raised a record $10,558 in two hours during a rollicking evening of really awful karaoke singing and some really great professional singing.
This year, Margaritaville’s Jimmy Buffet Restaurant proved to be the perfect host site. Hundreds of guests from the AMC, North Miami Beach Chamber, hotel guests and listeners of LITE FM 101.5 morning show divas Tamara G and Julie Guy, packed the 400-seat, two-tier restaurant to enjoy the food, drink and entertainment. Tamara and Julie constantly promoted “Singing with the Stars” and Tamara even took the stage to sing. Julie said, “Singing for your supper took on a whole new meaning! We’re honored to have been a part of the festivities to raise a ton of money that’ll stay right here in South Florida.”
Emcee and Resident Diva Cynthia Demos, not only sang, but kept the audience laughing and the program moving along, saying “Our 5th annual Singing with the Stars was the most compelling competition to date. Gary and Austin were hilarious and incredibly generous as they fought for the winning title! Can’t wait for the rematch next year!”
Hotwire/Fision came through again with their ten singers, and there were an additional ten AMC members who donated to sing: Gary Pyott of Association 1st; the Hon. Billy Joel, Anthony Damato of Toyota of North Miami; Kevin Shacter of Northern Trust; Gulcan Unal of Doubletree Resort Hollywood; Diana Dwyer of HealthGAINS; Michael Costa and Charles Miller of Popular Bank, Trish Hyman of Kent Services and Fara Sax of Community News. During their rehearsal, Anthony announced that he would make an additional $500 donation to Neighbors4Nieghbors if Gary would wear red high heels during their first song, “Sweet Caroline” …and how could Gary refuse when it was all for charity? The AMC group also brought in a ringer…. amazing Young Star singer, 19-year-old Cameron Wheeler. Cameron tried to keep the group on key, but they were so enthusiastic and having so much fun…and were so loud……that it was a difficult task. But when Cameron was asked to sing some solos, she blew the audience away with her fabulous voice, personality and stage presence.
But the AMC had a serious challenger this year with luxury real estate guru, Austin Bergman. Austin dressed in full Elton John regalia and entered the room with a flourish, drawing ooh’s and ahh’s from the audience. He played the part perfectly and even had people throwing money at him. But Austin also brought in his ringers, professional singers Johnathan Hawkins and Heather Lundstedt simply incredible voices!
Gary’s and Austin’s groups were in fierce competition with their donations. Anthony jumped up and offered up another $1,000 from Toyota of North Miami, and Austin matched him…. great news for the charity as the audience encouraged them with their cheers. When Gary’s group reached $4,900, they asked Austin to match that amount to call it a tie, and of course he did. And that, my friends, was a perfect end to the competition, although Anthony, a real rocker, didn’t lose the opportunity to jam with the live band afterwards.
Lynne Cameron, Executive Director of Neighbors4Neighbors, said, “We couldn’t do it without our Aventura Marketing Council family. Gary Pyott had the house rocking along with his Fiber Fision Optics Singers, and once again, Elaine Adler brought us the best team of volunteers anyone could ask for. We thank everyone so much for helping us continue to serve our neighbors in need. There is never enough money to help all who reach out, but with your help, we will be able to keep more families and individuals from spiraling down due to an unexpected crisis.”
Added Katy Meagher, Producer and New Media for Neighbors4Neighbors, “This was the best year—all around, and we can’t thank all of our wonderful volunteers enough! Be sure to watch the CBS summer half-hour special of this event on Saturday, July 20th at 1pm or on Sunday, July 21st at 2:30 pm on My33.”