Two Private Soirées in Elegant, Historic Newport Homes

Allison Vareika extols Brenda Nienhouse

Two private cocktail parties, one to say “good-bye”, and another to say “hello”, were held in private homes in Newport, both on famed Bellevue Avenue.


Rod O'Hanley, Jennifer Booth & Dominique Alfandre listen to the encomium for the retiring director

The first, given by the Newport Opera House and held in historic Sherwood, said farewell and thank you to Newport Opera House Director Brenda Nienhouse, who has overseen the renovation of The Opera House through its first critical stages of reconstruction, fund raising and events, and welcomed the entire Board of Directors, the Opera House, staff and its architect and construction manager to the lovely home of Ellen Barnes.  Chairman Allison Vareika led a toast to Ms. Nienhouse, welcomed interim Director Andrea Rounds, and presented a coffee cup from Dunkin’ Donuts to Ms. Neinhouse, to great laughter.  Seen were Richard Crisson, Architect Mohamad Farzan, Cynthia Sinclair, and the hostess..  It was a nostalgic tribute and a forward look at The Newport Opera House’ s future.


Holding out the dunkin Donuts cup


Ms. Nienhouse listens to her praises




Departng Director Brenda Nienhouse & Allison Vareika


Elizabeth Brooks & hostess Ellen Barnes




A flower arrangement graced a table



Mohamad Farzan, JIm Farrar & Donald Christ


Mike & Barbara Caldwell


Karen Rawson, Richard Crisson, Jennifer Booth & Donald Christ


   The Newport Festival Foundation Invitation Event


Captain Nicolas Brown & host Bill Vareika

At the Victorian home of Allison and Bill Vareika, invited guests were treated to hors d’oeuvres by Russell Morin and delicious wines poured by John Callaghan (of Bellevue Wine & Spirits,) and personally invited to the Festival Gala on August 4th by Bill Vareika. 


Richard Crisson & Tom Eberhardt

Mr. Vareika cited the long history of Newport’s two favored music extravaganzas, The Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Folk Festival, both supported by George Wein and Festival Foundation, which now brings music into area schools in an outreach to students.  Mr. Vareika cited Newport Jazz Assembly Band – begun in 2016, this 6-7 piece jazz band has performed for over 13,000 students at almost 50 schools  in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.   The Foundation also offers discounted tickets to high school and college students to the Newport Jazz Festival.  Since 2013, almost 20,000 student tickets have been sold.

As well, the Newport Festivals Foundation has provided instruments and funding for instrument repairs to schools in need.  Recent donations have been made at the Pell School in Newport, and schools in Cranston and Pawtucket.


Mary Joan & Steve Seiter

The Boys & Girls Club of Newport County serves 1,900 members and affects over 5,000 kids from the Newport community through various programs.  Since 2012, Newport Festivals Foundation has provided the funding for its on-site music program.  In addition, Newport Folk Festival musicians have performed at the BGC Camp Grosvenor for campers and counselors.

Captain Brown, Marty Wallace & Ed Kane

Student Bands also are invited to present at  festivals . The Newport Folk Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival have welcomed student ensembles to perform since 2012. Mr. Vareika cordially urged guests to come to the Festival Gala to support the youth outreach programs.

Listening with interest  (and many Seen coming from the Newport Symposium) were Captain Nicolas Brown, David Ford, John Cratin III (who spoke on the importance of early musical education in his life), Bob and Jane Moore, John Grosvenor, Ed Wallace, Mary Joan and Steve Seiter,Tom Eberhardt. Laurie Bains, and Rod O'Hanley.




John Cratin III with hostess Allison Vareika


Speaker fom Newport Symposium Ed Beard with David Ford


Tim & Laurie Bains with host Bill Vareika



John Grosvenor & Jim Moore


John Callaghan pours fine wine



Mr. Vareika speaks from his staircase


 For information about the Opera House, go to

 For information on the Festivals, go to




















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