GPAC celebrates 35 years of entertainment

By Kayloni Wyatt

Photo by Grant Merritt
Mike Brown (center) and Corinne Leatherman (right) in full masquerade costumes, greet Lisa Rust as they arrive in the GPAC lobby to mingle, while enjoying refreshments. The silent auction provided guests a chance to place their bids on several travel packages and gift certificates.

The Givens Performing Arts Center celebrated 35 years of providing quality entertainment and educational programs to the UNCP community by sponsoring their annual GPAC fundraiser. 

The event began at 5 p.m. and lasted throughout the night until 11 p.m. 

The theme this year was "The Jade Masquerade Ball" and guests' attire showed the elegance of the affair. Some 136 guests adorned masquerade masks as they made their way through the GPAC lobby to place their bids on items displayed for the silent auction. 

"As we continue to celebrate our 35th anniversary of bringing world-class entertainment to the region, the Jade Masquerade Ball theme was a perfect addition to our annual silent auction this year. The fundraiser is always a festive celebration, but this year topped all previous. We are thankful for all the sponsors, businesses and friends who helped to make the event a success," Tasha Oxendine, marketing director of GPAC, said. 

Items featured in the auction included hotel stays and a dinner, a visit to Old Salem Museum in Greensboro and tickets to theater shows across the region. 

The fundraiser included a silent auction, a formal dinner in the UC Annex and a live performance by the "Carolina Breakers." The guests gathered on the GPAC stage and were allowed to dance while the band performed. 

Wine, champagne and finger foods were served during the silent auction, while coffee and desserts were served later on that night. 

All items bought during the silent auction will help GPAC continue their programming with educational stage shows and their Professional Artist Series. 

Items such as spa packages, gift certificates, jewelry from local vendors, designer handbags, round trip airline tickets, museum tickets and wine tastings at local vineyards were included in the auction. 

" The event has received rave reviews from the people who attended. Many of the guests attended in costume or with mask in hand with a festive spirit. From the decorations to the variety of silent auction items to the Carolina Breakers' wonderful show, the guests said they thoroughly enjoyed the Jade Masquerade Ball. Almost all of the guests remained until the band finished and continued to mingle and enjoyed themselves on into the evening. 

"We actually expanded the area of our donation request this year and the number of donation responses was very good. We received tickets from as far as Greensboro, Wilmington and even the North Carolina mountains," Oxendine said. 

Oxendine said the items that didn't sell at the auction will be donated to the Mary Livermore Library for their upcoming fundraiser and silent auction on April 8. "That is another measure of success this year. Of the more than 75 items on the silent auction, we have less than six items remaining that didn't sell."