DCA Salute to Excellence dinner will recognize three

James DeSana

James DeSana

Jill Ryan

Jill Ryan

Michael Turgeon

Michael Turgeon

By Evelyn Cairns
Three dedicated individuals — James DeSana, Jill Ryan and Michael Turgeon — will be honored by the Downriver Council for the Arts Friday at its annual Salute to Excellence for their dedication and contribu-tions to enriching the quality of life Downriver.

The event, to be held at the Grosse Ile Golf & Country Club, will begin with a champagne reception at 6:30 p.m. Dinner and an awards ceremony will fol-low.

DeSana, former mayor of Wyandotte for 22 years and a councilman for nine, was instrumental in estab-lishing the Wyandotte Arts Center as the new home of the DCA, the construction of the Benjamin F. Yack Recreation Center and the development of the Wyan-dotte Shores Golf Course and BASF Park.

In addition, he was a state senator, a county commissioner and a member of the Wayne County Board of Supervisors.

Ryan is well known throughout the Downriver area as the executive director and producer of the Grosse Ile Boar’s Head Festival and for raising funds for local and national charities.

She has performed and worked with numerous theater groups, including the Grosse Ile Chorale, the Southern Great Lakes Symphony and the Ballet Americana Regional Company.

The honoree, who has taught theater classes and choreographed musicals, has sung the National an-them at many events, including a fund-raiser for President George W. Bush.

Turgeon, an actor, vocalist and lighting and sound technician for more than 50 years, belongs to several theater groups and donates his time and tal-ents to all who need help. He has been president of the Southgate Community Players and is on the board of the Community Theatre Association of Michigan.

A member of the Grosse Ile Chorale, he sang with the group in Greece this summer.

Tickets for the event, $100, are available by call-ing the DCA at (734) 720-0671.

Cake-a-Palooza set for charity
Four contestants will put the frosting on the cake — literally —when they compete in Cake-a-Palooza, a benefit for the Alzheimer’s Association, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at The Reserve, 325 S. Eaton, in Birming-ham.

The contestants will try to outdo one another as they put the final touches on a 4-foot tiered cake decorated in the theme “Maintain Your Brain.”

The competitors will be Dorey Williams of Sweet Nothings, Lincoln Park; David Carris, Quality Kosher Catering, Southfield; and Bryant Stuckey, Decadent Delights, and Heather Levitt, Sweet Heather Anne, both Ann Arbor.

Judges will be Michelle Bommarito, winner of the Food Network Cake Bake-Off; Chef Joe Decker of Schoolcraft Culinary School; Todd Peplinski, The Henry; and Denetia Lyons, the Art Institute of Michi-gan.

The contest is a pre-event celebration for donors of a minimum $2,500 in support of the association’s annual Chocolate Jubilee, a luncheon and chocolate tasting to be held Nov. 12 at the Henry. For more in-formation, about the events, call (248) 996-1048.

Hopes, Dreams benefit planned
A fashion show by Neiman Marcus, an artisan boutique and dinner by Opus One will be among the attractions at Hopes & Dreams, A Girls’ Night Out, Sept. 30 at the Ford Motor Company Conference and Event Center, 1151 Village Road, Dearborn.

A benefit for the Child Abuse and Neglect Pre-vention Programs in Wayne County, the evening will begin at 5 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and wine.

Tickets ($100 and $175) and additional informa-tion are available by calling (313) 583-6401.

Touring revival to open Oct. 30
The hit revival of “West Side Story,” which broke box-office records in New York last year, will be staged Sept. 30 through Oct. 16 at the Fisher Thea-ter.

The new Broadway cast album of the production, with such favorites as “Tonight” and “I Feel Pretty,” won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album in January.

Tickets, $39 to $89 (including parking), are avail-able at all TicketMaster locations and www.BroadwayinDetroit.com.

For more information, call (313) 872-1000.