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AAFSW Program: “Music and Beauty – Queen for a Day!”


“Music and Beauty – Queen for a Day!”

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

11:00 am Eastern standard time

RSVP to office@aafsw.org to get the Zoom Link. 


AAFSW cordially invites you to celebrate Mother’s Day with a special program entitled “Music and Beauty — Queen for a Day” via Zoom on Tuesday, May 4th, at 11:00 am Eastern Time.   

This wonderful event showcases acclaimed entertainers with performances of music, poetry and song, and you will hear from an Esthetician who will present the most advanced science-supported best skin care practices, to help you get glowing, radiant skin for life! 

We look forward to seeing you at this exciting and memorable event! Featuring:  John Gardecki, Pianist, an award-winning artist known as “the Chopin Man”;   Portia Davison, Esthetician, introducing ground-breaking technology and science improvements in the industry; and Francesca Huemer Kelly, who will sing The Sun Whose Rays are all Ablaze from The Mikado (Gilbert and Sullivan) and Summertime from Porgy and Bess (George and Ira Gershwin) and read the Poems:  She Walks in Beauty (Lord Byron) and Cherries (Leslie Adrienne Miller). 

We look forward to seeing you. 

Sheila Switzer
AAFSW Program Chair



John Gardecki, Pianist known as “the Chopin man,” Mr. Gardecki plays the piano in the European romantic tradition. The Dallas Times press described him at the Van Cliburn Competition as … “a Chopin pianist in the manner born, with Old World generosity of expression…” Like Chopin, he prefers the salon setting for performances.

A second generation Polish AmericanJohn was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and studied piano privately with Dorothea Ortmann Seletzky, a magna cum laude graduate of Peabody. John also worked with Dorothea’s father, Prof. Otto Ortmann, director of the Peabody Conservatory (1928-41) studying harmony and music theory during which time, John won 7 superior performance” ratings sponsored by the National Federation of Music for seven consecutive years, unsurpassed today! He performed with the Baltimore and Gettysburg Symphony Orchestras and at the Governor’s Mansion in Annapolis whilst earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics. He has performed in Poland, Japan, France, and USA and holds a Master’s Degree from the Columbia School of Music. In May 2014, he performed an all Chopin program at the State Department and last September he was invited by General Motors Corporation to perform at the Kennedy Center in celebration of Poland. 



Portia Boggia Davidson retired from the federal government in 2013 after serving 36 years in numerous executive assignments in the European, Pacific and American regions. After retirement, Portia pursued her desire to work in the Aesthetics Industry and become a professional State Board Licensed Esthetician. She graduated from the Spectrum Beauty Academy in VA and received her Esthetician License in 2015.  Portia is a member of the Association for Skin Care Professionals, National Coalition of Estheticians and Aesthetics International Association. Portia presents lectures in the field of Aesthetics introducing ground-breaking technology and science improvements in the industry. She owns a private spa at her home on the Occoquan River in VA. 

Portia is the President of the Washington International Piano Arts Council created to promote international friendships among nations presenting year-round programs where classical music can flourish. She is a national leading advocate for creative learning and previously served on the Board and Advisory Committee for the International Child Art Foundation (ICAF) since its inception in 1997. She received the ICAF World Children’s Award in 2007.   

Portia graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas College in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. She was inducted in the St. Thomas Aquinas College (STAC) Hall of Fame in 2007. She served the State Department U.S. Information Agency as Cultural Academic Specialist at Poznan University in Poznan, Poland and was recognized by President Ford for her work on this assignment. She completed post graduate studies in Speech and Drama at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and then served as Director of Music and Theatre for the Army in Germany. She progressively moved into executive leadership positions after completing Certification in City Planning and Plan Implementation Management from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She was Chief, Morale, Welfare and Recreation in Heilbronn, Fulda, and Nuernburg and was the architect establishing commercial industry business practices improving the quality of life for Soldiers and family member. Portia’s leadership capability was recognized when she was among the “first” civilian women in the federal government to serve as Deputy Commander of a U.S. military installation in Germany during the Desert Shield and Desert Storm conflicts, responsible for all military base operations with oversight of 57 agencies with a population of 5,000.  As Special Program Advisor at HQ, Intelligence and Security Command at Fort Belvoir, she led the Army Family Action Plan Program and oversight of base quality of life operations in England and Germany. She was the Army Base Operations Director in Okinawa, Japan and managed the operation of all military facilities and services on the Island. She served eight years as Chief, Community and Family Support at HQ, Army Space and Missile Defense Command and designd all quality of life facilities and programs at Fort Greely, Alaska. She was the Army’s expert Strategic Planner at the Pentagon, and led the process to update a modernized Strategic Plan. She was HQ, Coast Guard’s Workforce Policy Advisor to the Commandant for Diversity Management and developed their global Straegic Plan. Award highlights; numerous meritorious career civilian service medals from the Army, Coast Guard, Intellegence and Secuity Command, Space and Missile Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Personnel Management, DOD, award from President Obama, Govenor of Virgina and many others. Her center of influence boasts networks of accomplished leaders and innovators across multi-cultural global environments. 


Francesca Huemer Kelly

Francesca Huemer Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree in Music/Applied Voice from the Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. Specializing in concert, sacred and chamber music, she has sung in New York (Sine Nomine Singers), Washington, DC (Choir of the National Shrine, the Cathedral Choral Society, St. Alban’s Church and the Washington Bach Consort), and Chicago (Music of the Baroque, St. Alphonsus, Holy Name Cathedral, St. John Cantius, Ascension, and Grace Lutheran Bach Cantata Vespers). While overseas, she also performed as a soloist in the monthly Bach cantata series at l’Eglise des Minimes in Brussels, and as a soloist in several oratorios at St. Paul’s Within the Walls in Rome. In 2018, she sang the national anthem at Wrigley Field for the Chicago Cubs.

Ms. Kelly is also a professional freelance writer and editor, with articles and essays published by Redbook, Family Circle, Writers’ Digest, Salon and other venues, and a stint as the AFSA News Editor for Foreign Service Journal. An active educational consultant who coaches students on their college application essays, Ms. Kelly served as a college counselor at international schools in Brussels and Tbilisi. She is married to retired ambassador Ian Kelly and resides in Highland Park, Illinois.

In today’s program, Ms. Kelly will read two poems and sing two songs: one poem and one song on the theme of beauty and strength in women, and one poem and one song that feature an aspect of motherhood. (Because of the pandemic and the inability to perform live with a pianist, the songs have been pre-recorded. The poems will be read live.)