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  Friday January 30th, 2015    

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‘The Big Fall Ball’ to feature the colors of Winona (10/06/2013)
By Patrick Marek

Most people know about Jean Jorde’s musical talent. She was a longtime member of the popular local band Union Station, a music teacher at Bluffview Montessori for 19 years, and has taught piano lessons to countless Winona students. However, Jorde also has a flair for design and decorating, and is equally comfortable with either a microphone or a glue gun in her hands. As Decorating Chair for the Winona Health Auxiliary’s October 12 Birthday Ball, Jorde plans to use all her gifts to create a dramatic autumn splash for “The Big Fall Ball.”

“I am definitely a ‘right brain’ kind of person,” Jorde explained. “I actually thought that I was going to be pursuing art in college. I struggled between choosing art and music, and music won. Art got put on the back burner because of the busy life that comes from raising a family, teaching music, being in a band, and giving piano lessons. I always said that when I retired I wanted to get back to doing creative things. When I retired from Bluffview Montessori this year, it was a perfect opportunity to throw myself into the Birthday Ball.”

“‘The Big Fall Ball’ is a great theme to work with when it comes to decorating, especially at this time of year,” Jorde continued. “The leaves and vegetation are just starting to turn color. We’ve been having a blast being crafty and artistic and also gathering some of the natural things that are available during the fall.”

The 2013 Birthday Ball takes place on Saturday, October 12, at Signatures, and features a pre-ball party in the Summer House followed by a gourmet meal and dancing at Visions Event Center. Having two venues to decorate for the event presented unique challenges and opportunities for the decoration committee. Luckily, Jean was aided by a talented team of volunteers who were determined to make this the best ball ever.

“I love the artistic part of decorating for the ball, but when I was asked to actually head up the committee, I was wondering who would be willing to help. Everybody is so busy these days,” said Jorde. “I am amazed at the talented, dedicated people who volunteered to be on the committee. We’ve assembled a team with many people who have never done this thing before…and we’re having a blast. We’ve been meeting every Wednesday night at my house. We’ve been marathoning for about a month, creating things, and we’re ready for the ball on Saturday.”

The decorating committee is made up of Celia Domeyer, Deb Leaf, Julie O’Brien, Joan Sasser, Sabrina Heise, and Jane Bartz. The group has bonded throughout the creative process, while crafting some decorations that are sure to wow those who attend the ball. This is especially impressive considering that many of the members of the committee had no prior decorating or craft experience.

“Sabrina Heise is still in high school,” Jorde said. “She says that she loves to hang around with us ‘old ladies.’ She is tremendously artistic. Jane Bartz is my neighbor and has never done anything like this before, and she is just having a hoot. We’ve all become friends through this experience, and we’re just laughing because we’re having so much fun with this. I have to say that even we are amazed at some of the things we’ve created.”

Jorde and the decorations committee have been able to create impressive decorations with a very limited budget. That’s because of hundreds of volunteer hours and the generosity of Winona businesses. Hy-Vee, Pork & Plants, and Bronks contributed floral arrangements. Home and Community Options, La Boutique, and River City Heating and Air Conditioning either lent or donated items that will help make “The Big Fall Ball” an event that will be talked about for years to come.

For reservations contact Jen Hemker at 507.459.6354 or visit winonahealth.org/birthdayball. Proceeds from this event will go toward the purchase of comfortable recliners for hospital rooms to increase the comfort of patients and their visitors, and healthcare scholarships.



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