The enchanting evening of dining & entertainment took off in the ballroom foyer with a cocktail party serving welcome Champagne Bellini & Hors dâ€™oeuvres.
As the doors of the Grand Caribbean Ballroom opened â€“ it was elegantly decorated by artist Maria Teresa Martinez â€“ partygoers were seated around formally set banquet tables and the fantastic entertainment program began.
Maestro Eduardo Maya created an all-star Caribbean Big Band in honor of the occasion featuring the islandâ€™s best musical talents in a classic ensemble of saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a rhythm section featuring drums, guitar, bass and piano.
With their last performance more than a decade ago, party-goers enjoyed this unique gathering of Arubaâ€™s top jazz musicians brought together for the Gala evening.
The big band also featured a number of different vocalists, all personally linked to the historical resort property. Performing the opening act, Sashiko da Camara, a diminutive jazz vocalist who came to the then Aruba Caribbean Hotel in 1963 as a member of the Ralph Flanegin Big Band. Sashiko sang nightly at the legendary Bali Club for three months, and having fallen in love with the late George da Camara, the resortâ€™s food & beverage manager, she stayed on the island, and has been a local resident since then. Sashiko brought back memories with her delightful rendition of Paper Moon. Other guest performers included crooner Placido Hazel whose late father also performed at the hotel as a piano player, heartthrob singer turned politician Edwin Abath and Survivor Bandâ€™s one and only Amy Mendez, who also returned with her own Last Minute band, for a much-enjoyed set of evergreens.
Guests were delighted with the tremendous music taking them back to the 60â€™s, as they dined on a retro menu prepared by the resortâ€™s culinary team. Rory Arends one of the islandâ€™s tourism pioneers even celebrated his birthday during the gala.
Following dessert, the room started moving and grooving to the sounds of the 70â€™s and 80â€™s. Once warmed up, Claudius Philips and OREO continued with many of Billboardâ€™s Top 40 hits from the 80â€™s, 90â€™s, and up to today.
It was a golden moment in time, as the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa celebrated memories and promoted the worthy cause of the Aruba Scholarship Foundation.
The resort wishes to thank its sponsors: Interprint, Heineken, Romar Trading, Aruba Trading Company, Tropical Bottling Company, Island Temptations and Marketing Plus NV, and its many ticket buyers who contributed generously to the excellent celebration.