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Music and Beauty – Queen for a Day! Review

Another unforgettable experience was offered on the morning of May 4th by the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) who invited all of us to celebrate Mother’s Day with a lovely presentation entitled “Music and Beauty – Queen for a Day”. Because the program was presented virtually, the distinguished guests and the audience could watch and participate from all parts of the country!    

Music, poetry, and song designed to relax the spirit and to engage the heart featured two acclaimed artists. The “Beauty” portion followed this with a highly informative presentation by a distinguished Esthetician who combines her artistry with science to show everyone how to maintain radiant, healthy skin for life.   

The day began with a warm greeting from Sheila Switzer, the AAFSW Program Chair. She, in turn, presented former AAFSW President, Dr. Joanna Owen, who offered gracious introductions for each of the guests. 

Exquisite piano music was played by John Gardecki. John is known in this area as “The Chopin Man” for his superb playing in the European romantic tradition. John won 7 superior performance” ratings sponsored by the National Federation of Music for seven consecutive years– unsurpassed today! 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…”. He has performed in Poland, Japan, France, and in the United States– most recently at The State Department and at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 

For his first musical selection, John favored us with Intermezzo Op. 117, No. 2 by Johannes Brahms. He followed that with Fantasie-Impromptu, Op. XX by Fryderyk Chopin. 

Francesca Huemer Kelly then offered us an enchanting mix of song and poetry. Specializing in concert, sacred, and chamber music, she has sung in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and overseas in Brussels and Rome. Francesca sang selections from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado (The Sun Whose Rays Are All Ablaze) and George and Ira Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Summertime). She then read masterfully two poems: Lord Byron’s She Walks in Beauty and Leslie Adrienne Miller’s Cherries

By now, all of us were glowing on the inside! It was up to distinguished Esthetician, Portia Davidson, to help us all begin to glow on the outside– by sharing recent groundbreaking technology and scientific improvements in the Aesthetics industry. As a licensed skin care professional, Portia presented a comprehensive overview of many important topics such as: the human skin’s uniqueness, the causes of skin aging, steps for a daily skin care routine, new at-home skin care tools, and the best antioxidants for your skin. She emphasized that healthy and radiant skin was possible for everyone without spending a fortune! After answering a number of excellent questions, Portia brought her invaluable presentation to a close.  

It was up to Sheila and Joanna to thank our guests for their delightful contributions and to wish everyone present a safe and Happy Mother’s Day. We are grateful to Barbara Reioux, the AAFSW Office Manager, for arranging a very smooth-running Zoom meeting! All of us will look forward to the AAFSW’s next event on Thursday June 3rd, when former diplomatic spouse, foreign correspondent, and author Gina Wilkinson discusses her new book: When the Apricots Bloom

Article written by Edgar Farr Russell, III