Galas for a Cure


by Bri Kilroy

October presents an invite to the Van Andel Institute’s (VAI) most anticipated, savoring and always astonishing galas where 100 percent of the proceeds go to improving health and enhancing lives through biomedical disease research and science education.

Save the dates for the 10th anniversary of Couture for a Cure and the 15th annual Hope on the Hill Gala: Phantom of the Opera.

Dan Sharp’s Luxury Outerwear 2016 collection graces the runway at Couture for a Cure.

Couture for a Cure

(October 8, 6 p.m. at Van Andel Institute)

Those who attended this Purple Community event in previous years know they can expect to see enviable styles over cocktails and delicious bites, and those who are attending for the first time can expect an energetic runway experience that places them along the catwalk’s edge. Both new and repeated attendees are in for a new treat that will warm up their wardrobes just in time for the approaching Michigan winter.

Leigh’s opens the fashion runway to their latest fall trends followed by an exclusive glimpse of designer Dan Sharp’s Luxury Outerwear 2016 collection. Models are draped in Sharp’s extraordinary, modern European coats and wraps and iced with designer vintage jewelry showcasing his expertise in detail.

Fashion isn’t the only exuberant piece featured at Couture for a Cure. A pre-runway show cocktail hour satisfies guests with an assortment of drink options, elegant hors d’oeuvres catered by local restaurants and a dessert arrangement so breathtaking it should be an ArtPrize entry.

Now is the time to show off that outfit you’ve been waiting to expose on a special occasion. Glam up and treat yourself to an evening of food, fashion and fun in support of VAI’s mission to triumph over rare pediatric diseases and discover a better future.

  • Tickets: $100-$150
  • Attire: Cocktail

For tickets and more details visit

Masks are encouraged at this year’s Hope on the Hill Gala: Phantom of the Opera

Hope on the Hill Gala: Phantom of the Opera

(October 29, 6 p.m. at Van Andel Institute)

Last year’s gala turned the inside of VAI into a magical circus tent where champagne was poured upside down by an Aerial silk performer suspended as high as the ceiling, wine served by decorated riders on three-wheeled bicycles and acts around every corner from balloon art to juggling to snake dancing. Guests can only imagine the magnificence in decoration and entertainment at this year’s Phantom of the Opera themed Hope on the Hill Gala.

Masks are encouraged to add a façade of mystery to the black tie attire, but make sure yours doesn’t keep you from sampling the exquisite cuisine from Grand Rapids’ finest restaurants and catering companies as they tempt your appetite throughout the evening.

Martini’s are mixed and served on a bar constructed from chiseled ice as guests socialize with others over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, enjoy live entertainment by operatic pop sensation Forte tenors and dance to content in Club Hope all while helping VAI unmask the mysteries of disease through research and education.

Unleash your inner phantom, bring mystery to the forefront and be dazzled at the unexpected events of Hope on the Hill’s Phantom of the Opera Gala.

  • Tickets: $200
  • Attire: Black tie suggested/masks encouraged

For tickets and more details visit

ForteHopeonHillForte is a classical crossover-operatic pop sensation, and arguably the most successful group to launched off of America’s Got Talent. Josh Page, Sean Panikkar and Hana Ryu, solo artists in their own right, combine their individual talents to create one incredible, multicultural vocal force. Their debut album rose to number two on the Amazon Best Sellers list, and their new album, The Future Classics, includes the hit single Game of Thrones, which has gone viral on YouTube. With their ability to bring classical power to modern music, Forte is poised to remain as the top tenor group in the United States.


Bri Kilroy is a Grand Valley and AmeriCorps alumna who learned to type through vigorous Mavis Beacon trainings. She also passes as an artist, illustrator and author of this bio.




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