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Local jazz educator and mentor George Allen, radio personality David Dye, rapper Eve, jazz guitar legend Pat Martino, and rap artist and producer Jeff "DJ Jazzy Jeff" Townes were honored at the Philadelphia Chapter's 2nd Annual Heroes Awards on April 22nd for their contributions to the local music community. Soul singer Patti LaBelle was also presented with the first MusiCares Heart Award for her contributions in the fields of health and human services. Over 250 members of the creative community attended the event at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, which featured several tribute performances. After thePhiladelphia All-Star High School Jazz Band opened the program with their upbeat jams, artists performed some of LaBelle's biggest hits.
 
The American Heart Association held one of Phildelphia's largest charity balls at the Convention Center Marriott on Saturday, March 9th. More than one thousand people attended, and along with generous corporate sponsors, managed to raise more than $500,000 for the AHA. Enchantment Under the Sea was the theme, as evidenced by the sighting of mermaids weaving in and out of the crowd. The live auction featured hot-and-heavy bidding and the auctioneer's spotters had a hard time keeping their eyes on all bidders. One item, a luxury cruise aboard a Silverseas ship contributed a sizable amount to the AHA's fund.
 
Over one thousand young Philadelphia area professionals stormed the annual Red Cross Red Ball, one of the year's best Young Friends parties, on March 2nd at the Union League. This fete is done on a grand scale – from the 30 or so restaurants that provide the food, to the band, CTO, an eleven member sound system. There was the usual dancing and cavorting, but with an especially keyed up level of interesting tension since about three-quarters of the guests were attractive, single and had been enjoying the open bars and Lucy's Hatshop shots.
 
The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia hosted a Black-tie, 75th Birthday Celebration on March 30th at the Rittenhouse Hotel to honor one of the towering musical figures of our time cellist, Mstislav "Slava" Rostropovich. After cocktails in the Cassatt Lounge guests sauntered upstairs for dinner and dancing in the ballroom. Chef Jean-Marie Lacroix prepared an authentic Russian feast, including caviar for all. Then, on April 2nd, Rostropovich, his fingers flying deftly over the cello strings, performed with the Chamber Orchestra at the Kimmel Center to a nearly full house. Ignat Solzhenitsyn, the Chamber Orchestra's principal conductor as well as an accomplished pianist in his own right, and Slava have had a very close friendship all of Solzhenitsyn's life, so the concert was ended with a special song that the two played, unaccompanied.
 
This year's Book and The Cook, now in it's 18th year, started with an advance preview party on February 20th at the Ballroom in Loew's Hotel, where the participating restaurants came together to prepare enticing dishes. The week officially started March 15th and ran until the 24th with around 100 different dinners, luncheons, brunches and cooking demonstrations from area restaurants such as, the Sansom St. Oyster House, Jake's, Dilworthtown Inn, Django, Zocalo, Avenue B, and Philadelphia Fish and Co. Here are some highlights from a couple dinners we attended at Davio's and Opus 251.
 
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