Black Ships Festival Gala, 33rd Annual Event, a Delight at Marble House

Officials and dignitaries Mr. & Mrs. Spencer Viner, Mr. & Mrs. Michael Brandmeier, Mayor Jeanne Marie Napolitano, Joseph Paolino Jr., Deputy Consul General Jiro Usui and Rear Admiral and Mrs. Gardner Howe.

With Sake and kimonos, the Japan-America Society and Black Ships Festival of Rhode Island hosted the Annual Black Ships Gala
  at Marble House on Bellevue Ave.   This event, sponsored by Toray Plastics (America), Inc. celebrated the 33rd Annual Black Ships Festival and the Sister City Relationship between Shimoda, Japan  and Newport, originally formed by Commodore Perry.

The experience was a spectacular fusion of Japanese and American culture with the elegance of Newport as the guests wined, dined, and danced the evening away while enjoying the exquisite scenery at Marble House.  The President of the Japan-America Society, Spencer W. Viner, Esq, welcomed guests as they entered Marble House.  As guests stepped onto the veranda, they were greeted with wines by Oyster Bay. They then heard the Koto musician Ms. Sumie Kaneko playing traditional Japanese music on her incredible koto instrument. This enchanting evening also included Signature Drinks by  Cocktail Guru Jonathan Pogash and Gekkeikan Sake.  Guests enjoyed delectable sushi by Haruki and Asian inspired American food by Russell Morin Fine Catering.

State Semator Teresa Paive Week & May Jeanne Napolitano

The breaking of the Ceremonial Sake Drum was one of the many highlights of the evening. This is a tradition in which the Gala host and invited dignitaries use a wooden mallet to crack the cover of the drum, and then all Gala guests are invited to sample the sake from Gekkeikan Sake
.  Rear Admiral Gardner Howe and Deputy Consul General Jiro Usui made special toasts to the country of Japan and the United States of America, respectively.   

The elegant terrace at Marble House

The evening’s honorary Gala chair, The Honorable Joseph R Paolino, Jr, was honored and recognized during the event. Mr Michael Brandmeier, President and CEO of Toray Plastics (America) was also honored. The Gala committee co-chairs were Ms. Barbara Peters of Newport and Dr. Anthony Regine. The Japan-America Society and Black Ships Festival of Rhode Island, Inc. which a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization that offers educational, cultural and business programs to strengthen the American-Japan relations and international goodwill to the general public through awareness projects and special events. The Black Ships Festival Gala is one of its Annual fundraisers. 



For more information visit or call 401-846-2720.

Traditional kimono on display


Maryanne Brandmeier


In the gardens of Marble House


Barbara Peters in a traditional kimono


Tim Silvia & Kathy Lawson


Dr. Tony Regine with friends


From the terrace


Betty Jane Owen of the Board of Driectors of The Japan Society &Melissa Meotti


Dave Dittman & Joyce Horgan


Playing the traditional instrument ?





Dave Dittman, Joyce Hourgan & Sshigeki Sainji, Executive Director of the Japan-America Society



Magnificent ice sculpture



A living statue



Tom Ortolano & Ron Turgeon



Pierre Merle & Joan Merle Preston



Robin Sharp looked sharp!



 Fans of the event!



Susan Brokaw & Karen Donnelly



The ceremonial drum



Dr. Stephen Skoly & Randy Thompson



Getting ready for the ceremony



Gekkeian Sake



Kevin Redmond, Peter Dorsey & Pete Kaczmarek




Deanna Conhenny with Leslie & David Reed



Torre & Patricia Peterson with Yvonne & Stephen Moynahan



Teresa Paiva Weed, Nancy Sullivan, & Deborah Winthrop



David & Karen Rosenberg with Spencer Viner


Marble House












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