By Brittany Peitsmeyer Posted October 7, 2008, 1:11 PM EDT
With the bar set high (last year's inaugural event at Ice Palace Film Studios raked in more than $1 million for the charity), the Miami Children's Hospital Foundation pulled out all the stops for Saturday's dinner and private concert at American Airlines Arena. The ball's glitzy name and diamond theme stem from the charity's belief that children are the world's most valuable resource, explained Lucy Morillo, president of the Miami Children's Hospital Foundation.
Grammy and Country Music Association awards supervising producer Tzvi Small and BET Awards producer Ron Weisner helped the charity execute the concert portion of the evening.
“Miami Children's Hospital and its foundation are committed to helping children around the world and their families, and we can't think of a more worthy cause than that,” said Weisner.
From logistics and sound quality to overall executive production of the event, the duo-dubbed Howard Small Productions-incorporated elements of the major award shows that they have produced in the past into the Saturday's event.
“This event was really a team effort; it was all about collaboration, and everyone worked very well together, ” said Debi Vitaglian, creative producer for Sutka Productions International, who was recruited to coordinate the design and decor of the event.
In addition to suspended chandeliers and unique centerpieces incorporating both diamonds and floral arrangements, Vitaglian's team left no area undecorated as they also overhauled the arena's locker rooms to create V.I.P lounges. The team darkened the lighting in rooms, added jewel-tone accents and stars projected onto the ceiling, filled the lockers with battery-operated candles, and added cushions to wooden benches for luxe seating arrangements.
Exclusive to the arena, Levy Restaurants served a four-course meal to nearly 800 guests. Given the high-ticket dinner price-$1,000 per person-after dinner, 5,000 additional foundation sponsors were invited to witness guest of honor Beyoncé Knowles receive her induction into the Miami Children's Hospital International Pediatric Hall of Fame, as well as musical performances by Smokey Robinson, Gloria Gaynor, and seven-year-old piano prodigy Ethan Bortnick, from the arena seats in exchange for a $50 donation.