Delicate tea sandwiches, smoked salmon, cakes, cookies and people packed the space in the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall's side lobby for the "BEST Fest 2001" reception. But what filled the air was raves about the performance earlier in the concert hall by the Girls Choir of Harlem, with many of the 350 guests declaring the show the best "BEST Fest" ever in its 11 years of raising money for Baltimore Education Scholarship Trust.
"I know that Chick is dancing and smiling today," Lindy Lord, widow of the event founder, Chick Lord, told the gathering.
Certainly adding to the good feelings: the $175,000 raised to aid Baltimore-area academically talented, economically disadvantaged African-American students.
Spotted in the happy gathering: Andy Brooks and Bill Rienhoff, event co-chairs; Nicole Parker, star of Showtime's "Soul Food" and honorary event chair; Gayle Kelly and Blanche Rodgers, event committee members; Theo C. Rodgers, BEST board president; Redmond Finney, Michael C. Ford, Harry S. Johnson and Donna C. Wilson, board members; Karen Bond, BEST executive director; Lorna Myers, the Girls Choir of Harlem director; Charles Johnson, Blaylock & Partners senior managing director; Wilhelm H. Joseph Jr., Legal Aid executive director; Jim Thornton, MBNA executive vice president; Whitney Ransome, National Coalition of Girls' Schools executive director; Dr. Rebecca Fox, head of Bryn Mawr School; Tom Wilcox, Baltimore Community Foundation president; Ellen Kelly, Jemicy School director; Karen Burdnell, Calvert School library media director; Dr. George Simmons, Lucent Technologies vice president; and Herb Brown, Mondawmin Travel Center president.