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Big night, big party

The Neville Brothers played at the Big Brothers Big Sisters gala, and ex-Olympic skater Michelle Kwan was a guest. The Neville Brothers played at the Big Brothers Big Sisters gala, and ex-Olympic skater Michelle Kwan was a guest. (Photos By Bill Brett for The Boston Globe)
By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
January 24, 2011

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As it is every year, the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay’s “Big Night’’ party was, indeed, big. The fund-raising gala at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center featured performances by Michael Franti and Spearhead and the Neville Brothers, with both acts playing their hits. (At one point, Sweet cupcakes owner Courtney Forrester — dressed as a New Orleans Saints cheerleader — jumped on stage and danced with Aaron Neville.) The menu was handled by star chefs Michael Schlow, Seth and Angela Raynor, Chris Schlesinger, and Joanne Chang. More than 1,000 people attended the event, which raised nearly $1.7 million. The crowd included Sox owner John Henry and wife Linda, former soccer player Kristine Lilly, ex-Olympic skater Michelle Kwan, Ray Allen’s wife, Shannon Allen, Harrah’s CEO Gary Loveman, Phill Gross of Adage Capital, Leerink Swan’s Jeff Leerink, Tim Dibble of Alta Communications, and Paul Margolis of Longworth Venture Partners. Joe Ayoub of Robinson & Cole presented Summit Partners’s Marty Mannion with the James Pallotta Award, given to an individual whose efforts have had significant impact on children in need.

Chang on ‘Today’

Speaking of Chang, the omnipresent pastry chef will be promoting her cookbook, “Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Café,’’ with an appearance Wednesday on NBC’s “Today.’’ (She’ll be making everyone’s favorite: Homemade Pop-Tarts.) Chang will also tape an episode of Martha Stewart’s show while in New York.