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6th Annual Dorothy Awards Celebrate Community

Published May 1, 2009

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Connecticut Gay Men's Chorus

Photo by Chris Bosch/Metroline

The Connecticut Gay Men’s Chorus performed after accepting their Dorothy Award.

Pride was the order of the night on Saturday, February 28th as the newly-christened New Haven Pride Center celebrated its Annual Dorothy Awards. Over 150 attendees enjoyed music, dinner, dancing and a silent auction at Fantasia of North Haven, raising an incredible $10,000 for the Pride Center.

Honorees for the sixth annual gala included:

Documentary filmmakers Fran Rzeznik and Zinka Benton, creators of the “Marriage Makes a Word of Difference” film. The two released the film in conjunction with Connecticut- based Love Makes a Family. “Marriage” focuses on the disparity between civil unions and marriages.

Rev. John MacIver Gage

photo by Chris Bosch/Metroline

The Rev. John MacIver Gage, above, talks after receiving his Dorothy Award.

Senior minister at United Church on the Green, the Rev. John MacIver Gage. An associate minister at the church until August 2006, when he was named senior minister, Gage was born and raised in Austin, TX and holds degrees from both Yale University and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The UCC is specifically welcoming of its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons.

The Connecticut Gay Men’s Chorus, now in its 23rd season. The Chorus entertains nearly 10,000 people every season, and includes significant community outreach as
part of its mission.

The awards were hosted by Frank DeMayo, who treated the audience to a night filled with more costume changes than the Oscars. Diana Ross, Glinda the Good Witch, and other divas made appearances throughout the night. DeMayo charmed attendees with his vocals, and even got audience members to dig a little deeper and fill Dorothy’s “basket” with more donations.

Fran Rzeznik and Zinka Benton

photo by Chris Bosch/Metroline

Fran Rzeznik and Zinka Benton, below, were very excited to receive theirs.

Additional entertainment was provided by award recipients The Connecticut Gay Men’s Chorus. Members sported 60’s garb — tie-dyed shirts and sunglasses — and showered attendees with a rousing version of “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In”. Lucky audience members also received flowers directly from the chorus. The number is pulled directly from the Chorus’ recent show, “’69 (Still Divine!)”

Songstress Deborah Wang, along with the Fullsound Band, supplied the remainder of the evening’s entertainment, and had a good portion of the audience up on its feet for quite some time.

The audience also rose to its feet as a very special “thank you” was given during the event. Volunteers have always formed the core of the Pride Center’s community, and a special pair of volunteers received the “Volunteers of the Year” award: Kathryn Thomas and Dennis Titley. The pair are longtime Pride Center volunteers and have helped to plan and organize nearly every Dorothy Awards over the past six years. Both Kathryn and Dennis were surprised by the award, which was given by board member Joshua O’Connell.

John Allen and Dorian Harding-Morick

photo by Chris Bosch/Metroline

John Allen and Dorian Harding-Morick, center co-presidents, were on hand for the gala.

Throughout the night, volunteers, award recipients and other supporters got a chance to do a little “shopping” via a silent auction. Items such as beauty services, posters, pictures and jewelry were on display around the perimeter of the room, giving all a chance to quietly make their bids. By the end of the night, nearly all items had been snapped up.

Center Co-President John Allen cites this year’s awards as the Pride Center’s biggest ever. “You could feel the momentum in the room, and you could feel the sense of community. It was the Dorothy Awards’ biggest turnout ever, as well as our most successful fundraising event ever, and we can’t thank everyone enough.”

If you missed this year’s event, fear not. Plans are already underway for the seventh annual gala. You won’t want to miss it.

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