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September 23, 2009 > Be a Part of Tri-City Area History

Be a Part of Tri-City Area History

Top Hat Gala Celebrates Nearly a Quarter Century of Charity, Elegance

For almost a quarter of a century the Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation has hosted one of the premiere social events in the Tri-City area.

Since its debut 23 years ago, the Top Hat gala has combined an evening of entertainment and glamour with the fundamental purpose of supporting critical facility upgrades and equipment purchases for Washington Hospital.

Top Hat XXIII will be held on Saturday, Oct. 10, on the grounds of Washington West, located across the street from the main hospital. The gala will feature a beautiful reception, live auction, entertainment, dancing and elegant dinner.

Thanks to last year's success, McCall Associates will cater the gala again this year. With more than two decades of experience, Dan McCall and his company McCall Associates have catered everything from private banquets to royal events.

Guests will also enjoy top-notch entertainment of BEATLEMAJESTY. BEATLEMAJESTY features members of the Broadway cast of the original smash-hit production BEATLEMANIA, a show that has obtained legendary status in the annals of Broadway and the world of entertainment at large.

The ensemble will faithfully re-create the look and sound of the Beatles' fantastic career, including note for note renditions of the songs that have become the soundtrack of the'60s, as well as beautiful period costumes.

A spectacular event

With the support of local community members, this year's Top Hat gala promises to be one of the best ever, according to co-chairs Marlene Weibel and Don Amsbaugh.
"It's going to be a fun event - very colorful," Ms. Weibel says. "This year's Top Hat is really going to grab people's attention. I've been chair of the event before, and it was an honor to be asked to be co-chair again. This is a terrific way for the community to get involved. Top Hat is celebrating its 24th year, and I've been involved in every one of them.

"The reason why I got involved in the Foundation was because my husband, who has passed away, and I always wanted to give back to the hospital that was so good to us. I hope lots of people come out to enjoy Top Hat. It will be a great evening, and I'm looking forward to it."

Her co-chair, Don Amsbaugh, enthusiastically agrees.

"This year's event has a fantastic menu," he says. "McCall Associates is a great catering service, and I was really impressed and overwhelmed by the menu. It's always a great start if you have good food."

Mr. Amsbaugh, who was affectionately referred to as the unofficial sixth member of the Washington Township Health Care District Board of Directors when he started attending meetings in 1959, has watched Top Hat grow from the very beginning.

"This event started 23 years ago at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, then it moved to the Palace Hotel and then the Marriott in Fremont," he remembers. "Last year, the event moved to Washington West, and I have to say, that was the most beautifully decorated event I've ever seen with all the lights on the trees - it was spectacular. I think we're all looking forward to a great evening."

Mr. Amsbaugh gives the lion's share of credit to the event's committee, his co-chair and the leadership team that has made Top Hat what it is today.

"I think the people they've had in charge have done a great job steering it into the premier event in the Tri-City area," he says. "Last year's event had 600 guests - the biggest attendance ever."

Supporting critical operating room upgrades

The proceeds from this year's Top Hat will support the purchase of a state-of-the-art computerized surgical microscope, which will aid neurosurgeons and other medical staff in Washington Hospital's Operating Room.

The microscope, called the OPMI Pentero, enables surgeons to operate on the brain in a tiny surgical field by offering almost seven-times magnification and an integrated light source. Looking through the microscope as he or she operates, the surgeon can also incorporate imaging studies and pre-operative data into his view.

For the patient, the increase in surgical precision minimizes the chance of collateral tissue damage and complications following surgery.

Elegance and charity

To become a Top Hat sponsor or to learn more about purchasing tickets to Top Hat XXIII, call the Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation at (510) 791-3428. For more information about the Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation, visit, click on the heart-shaped icon titled "Giving & Volunteering."

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