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Imua Family Services Announces Headliner at Annual Fundraising Gala: The Carnival de Venice



Media Contact:
Jim Therrian

KAHULUI, MAUI, January 3, 2019.  Imua Family Services is proud to announce this year’s annual gala, The Carnival de Venice Mascheranda Grand Ball.  The second installment of the Festivals of the World events series will be held on Saturday, March 30th at the Hyatt Regency Maui in Ka’anapali.  The event raises vital funds for early childhood development programs and services that meet the diverse needs of Maui County’s children with disabilities and developmental delays.

This year’s event will take guests to Venice to experience the extravagant Mascheranda Grand Ball, the most famous Carnival party of Venice.  Historically, Carnival was a celebration of sinful excess prior to observing Lent.  Those sinful excesses included indulgent eating and drinking along with entertainment and dancing.  Venice is known for its ornate masks, parades and many masquerade balls.  Masks were originally worn to conceal the identities of party goers, allowing aristocrats and peasants to mingle together.

On March 30th,  the Hyatt Regency’s Monarchy Ballroom will be transformed into an elegant candlelit palace replicating the magic of Carnival beginning with the Hearts and Dreams Cocktail Reception.   The evening will feature intimate performances by Tony nominated actor and singer Denee Benton with special performances by the Hawaii Opera Theatre.  In addition to dancers and other performers, a grand prize will be given to the best themed masquerade costume.

This year’s gala fundraiser will present three legacy awards to community members and organizations celebrating their commitment to our island community.

The gala will spotlight Down Syndrome, which is a genetic disorder that affects 1 in 700 babies born.

Following the main event is the Casanova’s The After Party of Lovers with dancing until 2am!

Denée Benton is an American actor and singer. Benton is best known for her Tony-nominated performance as Natasha Rostova in the  musical Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway with Josh Groban in 2016.  Ms. Benton is currently performing in Broadway’s Hamilton as Eliza Hamilton. Her first break was being cast as Nabulungi in the West End and U.S. national tour of The Book of Mormon. She is best known on television for her featured role on the second season of the Lifetime series, UnREAL.

Hawaii Opera Theatre is a Honolulu based opera company established in 1960 and is one of the largest performing arts organization in the state.  Their mission is to present a broad spectrum of world-class opera and music-theater as well as a wide range of educational and artistic opportunities to the State of Hawaii. Known for their vibrant productions and artistic excellence, HOT attracts artists from around the globe who come to perform with Hawaii’s best local artists.

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused when abnormal cell division resulting in extra genetic material from chromosome 21. Down syndrome causes a distinct facial appearance, intellectual disability, developmental delays, and may be associated with thyroid or heart disease. Early intervention programs with a team of therapists and special educators who can treat each child’s specific situation are helpful in managing Down syndrome.

For more information about The Carnival de Venice, visit www.muafamilyservices.org/carnival/.