How Sweet It Is Event Committee members Maureen Shapiro, DeAnn Mix, Rosalind Hack, June Benson, Diane Dykema and Kim Peterson.

How sweet it was when nearly 300 people gathered for “How Sweet It Is: Celebrating 35 Years of Heart, Soul and Muses,” the annual fundraiser by The Muses & Patroness Circle at the McCallum Theatre, at The Vintage Club in Indian Wells in late February.

Guests arrived on the pink carpet, had their photos taken in front of the step and repeat, and immediately got down to the business of having fun. Cocktails and a spirited silent auction got the evening off to a lively start, after which attendees moved into the main party space for a sumptuous dinner, informative program, special guest performance and rollicking silent auction—before dancing the night away.

Event co-chairs Diane Dykema and Rosalind Hack welcomed everyone and thanked their event committee: June Benson, Sabine Jones, DeAnn Mix, Kim Peterson and Maureen Shapiro. The co-chairs noted that the committee worked so hard to make the evening a resounding success with their tireless pursuit of sponsorships and auction prizes. Through their efforts, the co-chairs proclaimed, the organization had the best silent and live auction the desert has seen in a long time.

Gratitude was expressed to all who sponsored the evening, with an extra bow to sponsors at the Pink Diamond Level: Diane Dykema, Lisa Hofmann, Donna J. MacMillan, Barbara Rogers and Gary Geske, Harold Matzner (the only honorary male Muse), and the evening’s hostess and honorary chair, Jan Salta. Salta was invited up to the stage to receive a small gift of gratitude from The Muses & Patroness Circle.

Although final numbers are still being crunched, “How Sweet It Is!” netted more than $500,000 to support McCallum Theatre Education, the largest amount in the organization’s 35 year history!

Muses president June Benson had a big surprise announcement during the celebration—reporting that since its inception, The Muses & Patroness Circle has raised more than $11 million for the programs and activities of McCallum Theatre Education. It was noted that this extraordinary achievement would have made the Muses’ Founding Members—including Leonore Annenberg, Betty Ford and Dolores Hope—pleased and proud to see how far the organization has come in its first 35 years.

Benson also recognized seven original members who are still active today with the Muses. Two of them, Barbara Platt and Sally St. John, were able to join in the festivities. Gratitude was also extended for the loyalty and leadership of five other original members not in attendance: Cyma Cohen, Barbara Fremont, Lori Hill, Edith McCorkle Toor and Marjorie Victor.

A highlight among many highlights at the event was a performance by the Washington Charter School’s Fifth Grade Honor Choir. This outstanding group of young talented artists delighted the audience with renditions of “Seasons of Love” from Rent and “For Good” from Wicked. Three of the singers shared their gratitude for the programs of McCallum Theatre Education and explained how being at one of the theater’s partnership schools means they have been participating in arts programs with the McCallum since they were in kindergarten! The youngsters talked about how the arts help them look at the world differently and stimulate curiosity and creativity. It was truly touching.

A vibrant and competitive live auction followed with amazing prize packages, and then the evening concluded with everyone taking to the dance floor to groove to the beat of the L.A. Party Dolls. You know it’s a great party when the dance floor is full and no one wants to leave!

Membership in The Muses & Patroness Circle helps support the programs and activities of McCallum Theatre Education. For more information on the Muses & Patroness Circle of McCallum Theatre or McCallum Theatre Education, go to

This was submitted on behalf of the McCallum Theatre by Jeffrey Norman.