THE ROLAND PARK Second Presbyterian Church looked absolutely stunning last Saturday for the wedding of Natalia Pia Melanie Sommer and Richard Matthew Dohler. Thousands of wildflowers, miles of lace ribbons and tulle, and window sills decorated with Singapore orchids set the stage for the nuptials of the daughter of pop music star Donna Summer and her first husband, Helmut Sommer,and the son of Dick and Bonna Dohler, he's an Ellicott City builder.
The church was filled with the music of German trumpeteer Langston Fitzgerald and selections of Bach, Beethoven and Vivaldi, played by the church's music director Margaret Budd on the organ. The bride's father, who flew in from his home in Austria, walked her halfway up the aisle, where composer/arranger Bruce Sudano, who raised her, continued with her. Sudano also read from the Scriptures during the ceremony, while Donna sat with tears in her eyes as she watched the first of her three daughters wed.
I am told there were oohs and aahs when a flock of white doves were released as the bride and groom and 20 attendants walked out of the church. The wedding party got into four white superstretch limos, led by Alex Karas' 1956 mother of Pearl Rolls Silver Cloud, for the trip to the Stouffer Renaissance Harborplace Hotel, where the reception was held. The 200 or so guests followed in trollies. A close friend of Donna's, singer Barry White, who had performed at the Baltimore Arena the night before, was at the wedding.
Just like the church, the Sheraton ballroom had been transformed a la the wizardry of local wedding/party planner Michael Anthony of the Design Center in Fells Point. Summer, who had a 17-city South American tour scheduled prior to the wedding, hired Anthony, whom she called "Fronc," a name taken from the "Father of the Bride" film, to take care of things for her. And, according to Anthony, the results were spectacular.
The ballroom was filled with tens of thousands of flowers on silver candelabra and pedestals or cascading from tall pillars. There were ice sculptures, damask- and silk-covered serpentine tables and a seven-foot wedding cake, adorned with 500 fresh stephanotis and dozens of gardenias.
Filet mignon, lobster and Maryland crab cakes were accompanied by lots of toasting and dancing. The showstopper, so to speak, came when Mimi (the bride's nickname) sang "Welcome to the Family" to her groom. That performance, I'm told, proved her mother is not the only member of the family with a great voice.
The only time Donna got into the act was after the wedding reception, when she and her husband, Bruce, joined Mimi and Rick; Bonna and Dick; Mary Cantos, musical arranger for Broadway star Michael Crawford and pop star Amy Grant; and a dozen of so others, around a grand piano for a little four-part harmony of "Going to the Chapel."
The couple is honeymooning in the Caribbean.
The 16th floor of the Center Club was filled with people who came for breakfast to witness Vincent Quayle receive a $1 million challenge grant from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. Quayle is the founder and director of St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, a non-profit organization that has helped 4,000 low- and moderate-income families buy their first home.
Some of the movers and shakers at the breakfast were Bob Embry, the Abell Foundation; Clarisse Mechanic, the Morris Mechanic Foundation; Bernard Siegel, the Weinberg Foundation; John Moran, Household Bank; Jim Piper, O'Conor, Piper & Flynn; Dan Henson, housing commissioner; Jim Ryan, Ryland Homes founder; Vic Rieger, Signet Bank; and Congressman Ben Cardin.
Celebrity lawyer, Mayor Schmoke sidekick and chair of the breakfast Ron Shapiro, did the emceeing honors, which included a slide presentation featuring several people who have been helped by the center. One of those people is Haywood Nichols, who fell on hard times and was about to lose his home when the St. Ambrose Center came to his rescue. He's back on his feet now and was introduced by Shapiro as Maryland State Archery Champ, who recently placed second in the mid-Atlantic finals.
The University of Maryland Cancer Center opened a new, state-of-the-art NationsBank Bone Marrow Stem Cell Transplantation Unit and Intensive Care Unit in the nine story Homer Gudelsky Building. On hand for a tour of the new cancer floor were Martha Gudelsky, whose family is a big supporter of the medical center, Dr. Morton Rapoport, president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System; Dr. Ernest C. Borden, director of the University of Maryland Cancer Center; Gene Taylor, president of NationsBank; and Dr. Stephen Schimpff, executive vice president of the University of Maryland Medical System.