The beautiful Cardinal Club in Raleigh, North Carolina, hosted the “Champions of Change Gala.” The purpose of the evening was to celebrate and recognize the achievements of some special people and to support the foundation and its mission of inclusion.
The evening started with an hour of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. If you were a Platinum or Gold sponsor, you had the opportunity to have your picture taken with Clay Aiken. During this time, there was a silent auction taking place in the Cardinal Club lobby
After a delicious dinner, the celebration moved to the North Dining Room for the presentation of the “Champion of Change Awards.” Lynda Loveland, who was with WRAL at the time, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies. In her introductory words, Lynda spoke about the foundation and about the program for the evening.
The audience heard three wonderful speeches. Diane Bubel spoke about inclusion and touched the audience when she spoke of her son, Mike. Clay Aiken spoke with passion as he reminded the audience that everyone can be a Voice of Change. Kristy Barnes spoke about the programs supported by TBAF. She introduced a video that highlighted “Coming Soon” events for TBAF.
An important part of the evening was the presentation of the Champions of Change awards. Jonathan Bunzey, the Youth honoree, Jim Johnson, from State Farm Insurance, and the Voices of Beta Alpha Volunteers were all honored for their work towards opening doors for inclusion.
Next up on the program was the Live Auction. According to the fans in attendance, the auction was amazing. Clay joined the Auctioneer in an effort to raise as much money as possible for TBAF. It was reported that Clay did whatever he could to raise the bid. “Clay was making faces at you and egging you on, which of course was driving the prices higher and higher just for the individual attention it got you,” said one of the fans. A surprise auction was held for Clay’s rings. He took them off his fingers and actually held them in his teeth, kissed them and the bids kept rising. Clay seemed to know just what to do!
At the conclusion of the live auction, Clay and Quiana Parler entertained the audience with some wonderful songs. They were accompanied by Jesse Vargas. Clay sang I Can’t Make You Love Me, Unchained Melody and sang The Prayer as a duet with Quiana.
According to all accounts, it was a wonderful evening. Over $310,000 was raised for TBAF and the summer camps program and everyone remembers that March 31, 2007 was the introduction of the full beard.
Watch this wonderful video of the auction highlights. It will put a smile on your face!!