Press

 

nytimes

Puttin’ on the Ritz

His company, Alex Donner Productions, books combos ranging from classical duos and trios to funk and R&B bands, but it specializes in the old-style, elegant society dance bands in the mold of the legendary bandleader Lester Lanin, for whom Mr. Donner used to work.

The Alex Donner Orchestra is well known at the prominent suburban wedding meccas and catering temples, including the Hilton Short Hills, the Hyatt in Greenwich, Conn., and the Westchester Country Club.

Read the full article here.


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Yo-Yo Ma’s daughter didn’t want him to play at her wedding

By EMILY SMITH October 4th, 2014, on “Page Six” of the New York Post.

Legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s daughter Emily Hornor Ma was recently married in the Berkshires, but asked her father not to play at her wedding because she wanted him to “just be a dad that night.”She married RBC investment banker John Mistovich at Trinity Episcopal Church in Lenox, Mass., in front of 300 guests.

Instead of Yo-Yo, the Alex Donner Orchestra performed at the reception at a private home, and they played the “Blue Danube Waltz” for the newlyweds’ first dance, then the father and bride danced to “My Girl.”

Read the full article here.


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First Wedding Albums, Then Videos, Now Soundtracks 05/03/2013 03:24 pm ET | Updated Jul 02, 2013

So I began to offer a new type of wedding album, a soundtrack that includes the personalized tunes, toasts and speeches, the all-important first dance and other songs performed by the Alex Donner Orchestra on CD or MP3. I have had wonderful feedback from couples that on their anniversary turn the lights down low, put our CD on, close their eyes and dance together or simply hold hands and listen to the music. They tell me it takes them back to that special day better than a video!

Read the full article here.


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The Hamptons’ Biggest Event Benefits All August 6, 2012

By all accounts, the biggest event in the Hamptons—at least when it comes to sheer numbers—and one of the longest-running ones, too, is the annual Southampton Hospital Summer Party…

For the last 10 years, the Alex Donner Orchestra has performed at the party. To rev up the evening a little bit the chairwoman of the party this year helped choose a theme inspired by the Grand Prix Monaco.

Read the full article here.


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The Wedding Singer by Georgette Gouveia November 5, 2012

Former divorce lawyer says it with music

ALEX DONNER has seen them coming and going. Or should that be going and coming?

“In the entertainment business, I see people at their very best,” he says. “And I saw them at their worst as a divorce lawyer.”

That’s because Donner – a part-time Garrison resident who practiced matrimonial law in a firm in which Roy Cohn was a lead partner – has been a successful singer and bandleader for 25 years, performing for everyone from Frank Sinatra to Tom Cruise, everywhere from San Francisco to Jaipur.

At times, it was a bit confusing.

“I had one (business) card in one pocket and the other in another pocket. Once, I handed my divorce lawyer’s card to a woman who was getting married. That didn’t go over too big.”

Read the full article here.


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Alex Donner and His Soundtrack for Happiness

by Holly Oliphant  August 2017

“Growing up, bandleader Alex Donner’s diplomat parents scripted a predictable plan for their son: elite schools, summers in the Hamptons, and a career in law. A perfect plan. But all plans sometimes have detours.

“As a kid, I dreamt of being an NFL star running back,” he said.

“That wasn’t the detour. Instead, he followed the traditional road that his parents had hoped for, with occasional pit stops to explore his lifelong passion for music.

The sophisticated rhythm of Manhattan was always a backdrop in his life, drawing him to clubs all over the city. While young Alex followed his parents’ prescribed plan, he spent free time playing in teenage bands, eventually gaining a following that led to him crooning Frank Sinatra style at some of the tony boîtes of Gotham.”

Read the full article here.


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Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival Sets Date for Summer Gala, Reveals Reading Series Lineup

by BWW News Desk  May 17, 2017

“OBIE Award-winning singer-songwriter Heather Christian, who composes music for the Festival and lives in nearby Beacon, will provide live entertainment and introduce the 2017 Acting Company. A live auction will be conducted by Sotheby’s Executive Vice President C. Hugh Hildesley, with an elegant dinner and dancing with the Alex Donner Orchestra to follow. The evening’s festivities begin at 5:00pm.”

Read the full article here.


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Dodie Kazanjian and Calvin Tomkins to be Honored at Newport Art Museum’s Summer Gala

Written by Ryan Belmore, June 14, 2017

“Guests will dance the night away to the live music of Alex Donner & His Orchestra. Donner has built a reputation for elegant music that “makes the party swing.” New York Magazine has called him, simply “the best!” The Orchestra has entertained a long list of luminaries over the years, from President George H.W. Bush and the Rockefeller family to Kevin Klein and Queen Noor of Jordan. His recordings have received several Grammy nominations.”

Read the full article here.


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Nightlife

by Joe Alexander with photographs by Patrick McMullan  May 29, 2017

Nicole Noonan and Alex Donner featured in the Memorial Day edition of Social Life Magazine!

View the picture here.


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The Sound of Giving: Alex Donner

by Ava Roosevelt  Spring 2017

“Seldom does philanthropy sound so exhilarating. The dapper Alex Donner has mixed a career in music with a serious commitment to philanthropy for more than a quarter of a century and inspired many not only to dance but also to give.

Alex Donner has been dubbed “the best entertainment provider in the east… if not in the country” by The New York Times and other esteemed critics. His music and voice, reminiscent of Frank Sinatra days, have become a permanent fixture among discerning socialites and demanding young brides. His company, Alex Donner Entertainment, has built a reputation for elegant music that “makes the party swing” while being able to converse with your partner without losing your voice.”

Read the full article here and here.


palmbeachdailynews

Beth Stern, Katharine McPhee salute hero dogs at Mar-a-Lago luncheon

by Shannon Donnelly  Thursday, March 23, 2017

“The afternoon included reception, luncheon, remarks by animal advocate Beth Stern, a performance by American Idol’s Katharine McPhee and music by the Alex Donner Orchestra.

Read the full article here.


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New York City Mission Society’s Annual Champions for Children Gala Kick Off Party

by Yvonna Russell  March 2, 2017

“The evening’s entertainment will feature Kathy Sledge, the legendary voice of Sister Sledge, acclaimed singer Alex Donner and his Orchestra, and students enrolled in the Mission Society’s free afterschool music education program, GRIOT. ”

Read the full article here.


hamptons-com

Jean Shafiroff And Katrina Peebles Co-Chair New York City Mission Society’s Champion For Children Gala

by Lee Fryd

“Cicely Tyson, Gayle King, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and designer B Michael added star power to the gala. WABC News Anchor Bill Ritter, a longtime supporter of the Mission Society, emceed. Legendary Sister Sledge singer, Kathy Sledge, rocked the room. Alex Donner and his Orchestra added their signature touch of class. ”

Read the full article here.


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America’s Top Military Heroes Honored

News provided by American Humane         Feb 13, 2017, 11:10 ET

“American Idol sensation Stefano Langone and the world-renowned Alex Donner Orchestra provided first-class entertainment.”

Read the full article here.


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SEEN & HEARD
Conductor Alex Donner providing music for the New York Mission Society Gala’ tribute to singer Diahann Carroll at the Mandarin Oriental…

Read the full article here.


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International Society of Palm Beach holds holiday gala

By PBDN  Posted: 12:00 a.m. Sunday, December 25, 2016

“Opera singer Francesco Valpa entertained as did the Alex Donner Orchestra.”

Read the full article here.


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Chic Masked Ball Gala Draws Top New York Names and Francophiles

 

Guests dined in the Plaza’s Grand Ballroom and danced to the music of Alex Donner and his orchestra, while celebrity auctioneer Nicholas Lowry led the live auction. This exceptionally festive event was a run-up to the the French Heritage Society’s 35th anniversary in 2017, which will be highlighted by a gala at the historic Chateau de Compiegne in France.. Proceeds from the event will support the restoration of French architectural heritage.

Read the full article here.


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Annual Ball – Mayflower

In the years since, 250 debutantes from many different state Societies have been presented and the event remains a highlight of the social season in New York. Guests are treated to a gourmet dinner and the music of the Alex Donner Orchestra. Although the highlight of the evening is the presentation of debutantes, former debutantes are also recognized. Plymouth Awards are often presented to individuals..etc.

Read full page here.


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Health Advocates for Older People, a Manhattan based service organization, held their 31st annual gala on Monday, October 5th at the Yale Club. They honored community leaders Patricia Butts, Alex Donner and Rev. Brenda Husson along with The Junior League of the City of New York. Supporters recognized these leaders for their outstanding contributions. Read the full article here.


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Hooch wins top title of ‘American Hero Dog’September 13, 2016

The sixth annual Hero Dogs Awards is presented by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc. was broadcast nationally on Hallmark Channel October 28 at 8 pm ET/PT, 7 pm Central Time.

Read the full article here.


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Celebs and Socials Come Out to Support
the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation
BY CATHERINE SABINO   JULY 26, 2016
Master of ceremonies Chuck Scarborough welcomed more than 300 guests, including Southampton Councilman John Bouvier, Anna Throne-Holst, Richard Demato, Kim Renk, Ellen Scarborough, Debra Hearst, Lilianna Cavendish, Sony Schotland, Greg D’Elia, Martin Shafiroff and Rachel Grant, in addition to Junior Committee members Kate McEntee, Scott Stevenson, Elizabeth Shafiroff, Phil Piro,Merritt Piro, Charles McConnell, and Sara Vacchiano. Dinner was provided by Robbins Wolfe Eventeurs and music by the Alex Donner Orchestra. Read the full article here.

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Museum ball to honor ‘Glamorous Graffiti’

Posted: Thursday, June 9, 2016 12:54 pm

Guests will dance to the music of the Alex Donner Orchestra, and will bid for exciting auction prizes including artwork, jewelry, fine dining and unique event experiences. 

Read the full article here.


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Greenwich Native Receives Silvermine’s Inaugural Living Art Award

By Patch Staff (Patch National Staff) May 24, 2016 7:45 pm ET

Over 200 artists and friends of Silvermine were welcomed to the sold-out event by Board Chair Rose-Marie Fox and Living Art Awards Committee Chairs Mindy Green and Emily McDermott. Guests danced to the Alex Donner Orchestra and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and dinner by Marcia Selden Catering.  Silvermine faculty members Rachel Morris and Mark Andreas created the awards, which have a crafted mahogany base and a pewter inset based on a Hilda Krause tree design.

Read the full article here.


palmbeachdailynews

Talents on Display at Dreyfoos School Anniversary Gala at Mar-a-Lago

by Shannon Donnelly  Daily News Society Editor       Posted: 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Robert Bailey and Theodora Aspegren were chairman and chairwoman for the evening, which began with a poolside cocktails accompanied by a string quartet, a jazz combo, sketches by visual arts students and guest interviews by communications majors.

After cocktails, guests moved to the Grand Ballroom, where the school’s namesake, Alex Dreyfoos, was honored by founding principal Edmund Duhy, current principal Susan Atherley and founding School of the Arts Foundation board member George Elmore.

The evening continued with dinner, entertainment by current and former students, a live auction, and dancing to the Alex Donner Orchestra.

Read the full article here.


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American Humane Association and Philanthropist Lois Pope Celebrate Heroes on Both Ends of the Leash at “Hero Dog Awards Gala Luncheon” in Palm Beach

Mar 07, 2016, 11:15 ET from American Humane Association

The luncheon, hosted by the internationally-distinguished Florida philanthropist Lois Pope and American Humane Association, also featured the participation of a number of two-legged stars:  TV personality animal welfare advocate and philanthropist Beth Stern, who serves as co-host of the Hero Dog Awards ceremony on the Hallmark Channel; TV personality, restaurateur, and author Donatella Arpaia, who provided the recipe for the scrumptious dessert served at the event; and Dave Konig, a three-time Emmy Award comedian and TV actor, who gave a hilarious performance. The Alex Donner Orchestra provided a special musical performance.

Read the full article here.


palmbeachdailynews

International Society gala echoes St. Petersburg palaceBy PBDN     Posted: 8:17 a.m. Friday, Dec. 25, 2015

Entertainment included 17 ballerinas and one male dancer from the Dreyfoos School of Dance under the choreography of Jan Hanniford, dean of dance, plus a performance by the New York-based Barynya Ensemble, which featured Russian and Ukranian dances and songs.

The Alex Donner Orchestra completed the entertainment.

Read the full article here.


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Inside the Southampton Hospital’s 57th Annual Summer Party
by Taylor Neverman    August 5, 2015
Emceed by television journalist, Chuck Scarbourough helped kick off the soiree that was transformed into a timeless black and white masterpiece. Beautifully executed and designed by the imagination and creativity of Tony Urrutia, guests attending the event were in for a haute affair. While taking in the simplistic and elegant design of this year’s party, people enjoyed a charming dinner catered by Robbins Wolfe Eventeurs. During and after their meal, attendees danced to music by the Alex Donner Orchestra that kept everyone on their feet.
Read the full article here.

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Buzz and Boards Bring In Young Crowd
‘Endless Summer’ at the Southampton Hospital Benefit

To entertain the crowd, Ms. Lofaro Freeman asked Alex Donner and his orchestra to rethink the musical set. She helped the band get peppier outfits, too, which included madras-print vests. “I asked for Adele, for the Beach Boys, for Katy Perry,” said Ms. Lofaro Freeman.
Read the full article here.

The Soundtrack of Reunionsby Lauren Wyman ’14    Published in the July 9, 2014 Issue

This year, Alex Donner ’75 did what he had done several times before: play for his father’s class at Reunions. “He loves it,” Donner said of his father, Joseph Donner ’49. “But he sometimes leaves the party early when we get into our more contemporary music.”

Alex Donner leads the Alex Donner Orchestra. While his orchestra plays everything from “Gershwin to Gaga,” Donner said, he most enjoys playing the American standards, such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis.

“We’re a mix of expert musicians in different genres and each one of us inspires the others in the other genres,” he said. “We try to do seamless transitions.”

His favorite Reunions moments? “Every time that I can see three generations out on the dance floor all having a great time,” Donner said.

Read the full article here.


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And the Band Plays On: Alex Donner and 26 Years of Event Entertainment

By Ted Kruckel       Posted August 20, 2014, 7:15 AM EDT

The real secret to any great event like this is getting the people to get up and dance. If people dance, they have a great time, and they want to come back. Right? For that, the Southampton Hospital has turned for 15 years to the Alex Donner Orchestra. I remember learning that Alex Donner recently celebrated his 25th year at the helm of what is now practically the industry standard for full orchestra entertainment.

Inquiring vaguely about upcoming events, I get a list of 20 events booked already between now and Christmas, yielding a dizzying array of upper-crusty-sounding events and locations. Mar-a-Lago (Palm Beach), the Mayflower Ball at Union League Club (New York), the Quadrille Ball (New York), the National Debutante Cotillion and Ball (Washington, D.C.), and my favorite, the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of New York Holiday Ball at the Colony Club (one assumes it is invitation-only).

Read the full article here.


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SEEN & HEARD
Actresses Alysia Reiner and Christiane Seidel and designer Rachel Roy wearing Hearts on Fire diamonds at a party at the Rainbow Room for “Carol”…
Dr. Judith Hellman and bandleader Alex Donner helping philanthropist Jean Shafiroff collect over 200 toys for the NYC Mission Society at her Park Ave. apartment…

NY Post logo

Counsel also sings

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer‘s director of litigation added a night job. After settling $5.9 mil on Eric Garner’s family, Lynell Canagata will sing with Alex Donner and Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin at Southampton Hospital’s party on Saturday. One song will be “Mony Mony”.


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The final stop of the night was a beautiful oceanside home on Gin Lane for the sixth annual Unconditional Love Gala to benefit the Southampton Animal Shelter. Cocktails and a fantastic silent auction, followed up by dinner and dancing, were the order of the evening….Alex Donner and his band were at the top of their form that night. They started off slow, with lovely background music, but then they stepped it up and had the dance floor packed for the rest of the evening.

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We hear…
That Diddy will take over the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach from Oct. 16 to 19 for Revolt TV’s first Music Conference…
That Alex Donner will play Southampton Hospital’s Summer Party on Saturday for guests including Chuck Scarborough…

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‘Positive Movement’ For ALS Nonprofit June, 26 2013

Prize4Life, a nonprofit that seeks to discover treatments and a cure for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, on Monday held its annual gala at Sotheby’s in Manhattan. The event honored board member Cynthia Mazareas and her husband George Mazareas, a former basketball player in Greece who has ALS. The benefit began with a cocktail reception and music from the Alex Donner Orchestra followed by a live auction.

Read the full article here


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Gay Wedding Planning: Venues, florists, cakes, caterers, photogs and more By Kaathrine Herrup June 23, 2013

With wedding season in full swing and the upcoming second anniversary of gay marriage becoming legal in New York, we felt it only appropriate to roll out a wedding guide for same-sex couples. We’ve compiled a list of top wedding planners, favorite venues to host the ceremony and reception, and other top-notch wedding vendors ranging from cake makers to florists and photographers – some of whom are even offering special deals and discounts in celebration of these monumental events.

Music – Alex Donner Entertainment

Since April, Alex Donner has been giving a 25% reduction in his prices for gay weddings. The Alex Donner Orchestra can take any song request, and is always ready to get the party started. He’s a good reader of people’s musical desires and can cater to their fancies at the drop of a beat.

Read the full article here


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The Bandleader Played On

By Lily Hoagland     August 2013

Alex Donner grew up on the east side of Manhattan and, as a young boy, accompanied his father downtown to hear jazz. This ignited a love of music that would follow him through his life. Before forming his first band at Princeton University, he performed to the crowds in the Metro in Paris.Since then, he has had a meteoric rise as a bandleader to the stars, playing receptions, weddings, and events for the boldest of bold-faced names. I had the pleasure of chatting with the musician about his past – and present – success.

Read the full article here and here.


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He’s Fonda History, Stage By Cindy Adams June 26, 2013

Georgina Bloomberg danced with dogs at the Bideawee Ball. Band Leader Alex Donner: “Those hounds moved better than Mick Jagger when I played for him at Studio 54.”

This article appeared in the “Page Six” section of the U.S. edition of The New York Post.

Read the full article here.


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Posted on March 30, 2013

“In London…At Annabelle’s, looking down the guest list, you saw many of those fancy names…von Bismarck, von Furstenberg, Goulandris, Spencer-Churchill. Titles galore. Alex Donner’s band had been flown over from New York…and the crowd couldn’t stop dancing.”


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Alex Donner Celebrates 25 Years

For Alex Donner, one of America’s most popular bandleaders, 2013 marks his 25th anniversary in the business. Throughout his illustrious career as entertainer, Alex has performed for many upscale clients…remarkable talent.

Read the full article here.


hamptons-com

The Alex Donner Orchestra kept the dance floor going. Funds raised by the Summer Party, the longest running annual fundraiser on the East End, enables critical support for the Jenny and John Paulson Emergency Department, a facility that serves emergency care to more than 25,000 patients annually.

new_york_post

A guest at a glittering Southampton Hospital benefit on Saturday night wound up in the hospital instead. The socialite was seen swooning in the heat, and, after hitting the deck, the brave dame initially refused medical attention, spies said. Despite her protests, an ambulance was called, whisking her off to the ER — which was, appropriately, moments from the party’s tony tent. “The benefit raised money for the hospital’s department of emergency medicine, so I guess they put the money to good use,” quipped an attendee at the bash, which brought in nearly $2 million. Guests included Peter Brant and Stephanie Seymour, Chuck Scarborough, Debbie Bancroft, Audrey and Martin Gruss. The Alex Donner Orchestra provided tunes at the shindig.

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This past Saturday in Southampton, the Southampton Hospital held its 54th annual festive evening of cocktails, silent auction, raffle, dinner and dancing to benefit the Hospital’s Emergency room…Alex Donner and his Orchestra provided the music for dancing…Alex Donner’s band revved up the crowd up with an extended version of “Respect,” my absolute #1, favorite song to dance to (followed closely by “It’s Raining Men”).

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Q&A: Bandleader Alex Donner on 25 Years in the BusinessBandleader Alex Donner has been performing all over the world with his orchestra for nearly 25 years. A native New Yorker, he started out as a divorce lawyer and decided he’d rather work with people on a happier day in their lives: their wedding. After some big gigs as a wedding singer, he broadened his horizons to major events and celebrity clients. Now he heads up Alex Donner Entertainment, a company that focuses on providing entertainment for your special event. On the eve on his milestone anniversary, he spoke to us about his favorite gigs and his upcoming performances.

Read the full article here.


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. . . THAT Southampton Hospital’s gala, chaired by Laura Lofaro Freeman on Aug. 4, will feature a Grand Prix theme with three vintage Formula One cars and music by Alex Donner.

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57th Annual Palm Beach Heart Ball “Gardens for the Heart” a Star-Studded Success
With Donald Trump and Tony Dovolani of Dancing with the Stars & the Alex Donner OrchestraMore than 360 guests joined the American Heart Association for its 57th Annual Palm Beach Heart Ball on February 17, 2012 at The Mar-a-Lago Club. Paula Butler served as Chairman of the Gala, Patrick Park was Honorary Chairman and Burt Reynolds was Honorary Ambassador. More than $600,000 net was raised which will go directly to fighting heart disease and stroke.

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Liz Smith and Gerald L. Storch, C.E.O. of Toys “R” Us to Be Honored at Child Protection Agency’s Gala at the Pierre Hotel October 27, 2010 in New York. Deborah Norville to Emcee. Alex Donner will provide the music.

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Southampton Hospital Summer Party, A Centennial Celebration
Alex Donner took to the stage to lead his sprightly Big Band and immediately the parquet floor was filled with dancers swinging to the strains of In the Mood and other swing era melodies plus some very hot contemporary tunes later on in the evening. No one wanted to leave…

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Where did you get your start? I got my start 20 years ago. I always had a band in college. I became a divorce lawyer, but had a job as the bandleader at El Morocco. I was hired by a divorce client to play their second wedding in India. Town & Country did a story about it and my switchboard started to ring off the hook. I knew then, to go full time with the band.


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More than 300 ready-for-a-party young folks followed the tiki torches to The Mar-a-Lago Beach Club to celebrate the American Red Cross. This annual Young Friends of the Red Cross Beach Bash took place Dec. 30

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On October 3, 2008, one of New York City’s most elegant galas, the Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, Coast Guard and Airmen’s Club (SSMAC) honored the United States Navy at its 12th Annual Military Ball, which is SSMAC’s principal fundraising effort. More than 400 guests attended the black tie event at the Pierre. Alex Donner provided the music.

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…More than 1500 V.I.P guests from all over the world joined him for his birthday celebration. The mandatory costumes reflected the 1940’s era of glamour and swing dance. World-renowned orchestra leader Alex Donner will kick off the night with a major big band. In addition, private jet owners will be able to arrive by air and utilize their planes as their personal V.I.P. rooms

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April 12, 2008 –WE HEAR that Miami nightclub promoter Michael Capponi is dropping a bundle on his 36th-birthday party tonight. Capponi has rented out the main terminal of Miami Executive Aviation for a party that will feature WWII planes & music by Alex Donner

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More from Palm Beach … Dressed in white, more than 350 mostly Junior friends felt the sand beneath their feet and the ocean breeze as they danced the night away at the 8th Annual Barefoot on the Beach, which was held at the Breaker’s Beach Club, benefited the Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County… Alex Donner’s Party Band kept everyone dancing all night long.

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“The best entertainment provider in the east…if not the country!”

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“Southampton Hospital Gala…1000 guests…they’ll be serenaded with songs by the magnificent Alex Donner.”

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“At the Southampton Hospital Party, Alex Donner & his band kept the guests entertained & had them dancing the night away in spite of the heat.”

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Alex Donner named Best New York Band

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Mayor Bloomberg’s officially proclaimed last September 12th Decoration & Design Day to honor the 40th anniversary of the legendary D&D Building at 979 Third Avenue. To mark the occasion, the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House threw a rousing birthday party for the Building. Alex Donner and his band put everyone in the mood for a good time. NYSD 2006