By Susana Zaragoza, Social Media and Marketing Manager at Academia Sánchez-Casal, Florida
It’s 7:30pm in Naples, Florida. The sun has set, little bright lights twinkle all around the concert venue. As the first notes of Daniela Denmark play, people stand up from their seats and sway to the rhythm of the song. Just arrived from icy Vancouver, Jonathan Roy and his band are performing and their live sound is spectacular.
You may be picturing this scene in a typical concert venue with a dance floor and stands, or even in a restaurant or bar. Not even close. We are standing on a tennis court at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Florida. But you wouldn’t know it – the Academy’s tennis facilities have undergone a complete transformation to host the Arthur Allen Fall Charity Dinner and Concert. People have gathered together for a good cause: to raise money for Help a Diabetic Child Foundation and the Greater Naples YMC.
If you’d been there early in the morning, you would have seen the ASC staff moving tables from the Club’s lounge to the court, placing tennis balls on every chair and table (yes, you heard right: tennis balls), setting the tables and constructing the stage. Just a while later, they welcomed two iconic musicians: Jonathan Roy, son of the Canadian ice-hockey legend Patrick Roy who left his father’s passion behind to follow his own, music, and rock legend Corey Hart, the Canadian singer songwriter who has sold over 16 million records worldwide and reached no.9 on the US Top 40 Charts. The father of four is now working on his own music label, Sienna Records, and is dedicated to guiding young musical talent such as Roy.
As the concert continues, people get into the music. They have come from every corner of the Naples scene: snow birds who have recently arrived for the season, local residents, members of the club, the ASC staff who had been involved since the beginning of the project, and even kids, helping to sell tickets and allocate people to their seats. Everyone wants to make this event as memorable as possible, all for a good cause.
Now, you’re probably thinking, how did anyone come up with the idea of turning a tennis court into a music stage and dinner venue? The answer is: why not? Having worked in event management for Publicis in Paris and for ESADE in Barcelona, I have always thought that the beauty of event management is to create a space that makes people to step out from their comfort zone. To encourage this atmosphere, you need to create the ‘wow’ effect. When people have a unique experience, they escape from the day-to-day and feel more free to enjoy themselves and develop relationships with others.
As the performance comes to an end, the full ‘wow’ effect kicks in. Corey Hart takes to the stage and delights the audience with a cover of The Eagles’ famous hit Hotel California. He dedicates the song to his friend Emilio Sanchez, Founder of the Academia Sanchez-Casal, who hosted the event and is enjoying the concert with his family. The two men have a lot in common: they were both successful in the 80’s, they have large families, and they met in Barcelona when Hart and his wife Julie Masse enrolled their eldest daughter India in the Sanchez-Casal Academy, to play tennis and prepare for college. Their two younger daughters followed, and this year the youngest one, River, will graduate and start at Minnesota University and as part of the tennis team.
If Hart’s first number was a special rendition of The Eagles’ Hotel California, his second showed off his musical range as he sang a song by the Spanish songwriter Alejandro Sanz. People were holding hands, putting their arms around each other’s shoulders, enjoying the magic of the night.
None of this would have been possible without the will of the ASC team. From CEO and Founder Emilio Sanchez, events manager Simona Bronzetti, tournaments director Rogelio del Haro and CFO Johanne Medina to photographer Xavi Garcia. Also big thanks to the coaching staff, the admissions and marketing department and the kitchen and maintenance staff. We all came together for a great cause, and took the event to the next level. With 10% of the US population suffering from diabetes and an estimated 8 million US citizens undiagnosed, all efforts to fight the disease are invaluable.
The biggest success was the attendees felt the magic too. The line that formed to have a picture taken with Jonathan Roy was endless. You could see countless happy faces leaving the venue, and hear comments such as ‘That was a really great night’, or questions like ‘When is the next concert going to be?’. Well, the answers to those questions may well be revealed very soon. Stay tuned for some big news coming up in March 2017. I am certain you will be positively surprised!
What people said on social media:
What a treat for the Naples Community! A GREAT time was had by all who had the privilege of attending!
This was an amazing show and great cause. Thanks Emilio!
This night was spectacular!!! Thank you!!!!!
First class act!
It was awesome, great job!
Vamos !! the Spanish tennis way works…
GRANDES!! Enhorabuena!! Congrats
Susana Zaragoza, Social Media and Marketing Manager
Sánchez-Casal Academy, Florida