Alliance Galas in Retrospect

            Dazzling Biennial  Evenings


Alliance Française de Chicago’s Woman’s Board Founder Catharine Hamilton





By MeganMcKinney


Many of Chicago’s most effective fundraisers of the past several decades have been hosted by Alliance Française de Chicago. For several years before Catharine Hamilton founded the elegant Alliance Woman’s Board in 1996, the gala was produced every two years by a benefit committee assembled for that purpose. Although the committee was reorganized biennially, a group of core members continued to be active from gala to gala, with many graduating to the new Woman’s Board.

Woman’s Board Founding President Libby Horn, with her husband, David.  

The 2020 gala, Un Air de Provence, originally planned for May 9 was rescheduled and is expected to go on as planned November 13 at the Ritz Carlton under the guidance of co-chairs Camille Grand-Dewyse and Julianne Migely. The evening’s honoree will be Founding Woman’s Board President Libby Horn. The upheavals of 2020 have been devastating for some of the city’s great annual benefits but with Un Air de Provence, it has given Classic Chicago a marvelous excuse to look back at a few of the previous events this superb organization has held every two years for as long as anyone can remember.

Cynthia Pacholick and Lenore Macdonald were co-chairs of Le Bal des Ballons in 2006.

Suzette and Allan Bulley were among those who gathered for a grand evening of dinner and dancing at Le Bal des Ballons in Union Station’s Great Hall.  

They were joined by Noren and Richard Ungaretti…

…Alyce Sigler with Stephen Kaplan…

…And Mary Ellen and Kevin Connellen.

In 2002, April Schink, left, co-chaired La Nuit des Fleurs with Bonnie Deutsch at The Drake Hotel. The gala honored David Hamilton, right, and his wife, Catharine, for their many contributions to the Alliance and the cultural exchange between France and America.

Harriet Gulis and Tony Rossi at La Nuit des Fleurs.

Although elegant, an Alliance gala can also be fun and relaxed.

Libby and David Horn with Mary Ellen Connellen at the Les Années de Folles at the Four Seasons in 2016.

Liz Stiffel and Michael McGuinnis in 2016.

Also in 2016, banker Norman Bobins, with his wife, Virginia.

And Myriam Bransfield with Nancy and Glen Traylor.

Janis and John Notz at Versailles en Scène at the Civic Opera House in 2018.

The Art Institute’s Gloria Groom applauding during Versailles en Scène at the Civic Opera House onstage dinner.  


Photo Credit:  Russ Berkman, Robert F.Carl

Edited by Amanda K. O’Brien