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South Tampa News

Elegant Evenings open doors to homes, fight abuse


Published:   |   Updated: October 15, 2013 at 04:15 PM

CULBREATH ISLES — Some of Tampa’s finest homes will open their doors for music, food and wine while raising money to combat domestic violence.

A new series of Elegant Evenings, open to the public and featuring Broadway tunes, opera, classical sounds and more, starts Oct. 29 with events continuing into February.

“The homes are lovely — and the music is fabulous,” said Stephanie Hobson, a Carrollwood resident who is chairwoman for the events.

Events are sponsored by Brighter Tomorrows, a nonprofit that raises funds targeted for organizations with programs to prevent domestic violence or to assist victims of such violence.

The first event, featuring smooth jazz, will be at the waterfront home of Carl and Lyda Lindell.

Lyda Lindell, an ophthalmologist, said she has seen too many women with black eyes and optic damage from abuse.

“The whole issue is very prevalent and we are thrilled we can help,” Lindell said.

“Throughout the years, I have seen so many who have needed help and didn’t know where to turn.”

She said their home is well suited for such an event with an open-air design looking out onto a pool area and the bay. A dining room and kitchen connect to the living room.

“We have had over a 100 people,” for various groups, she said.

In addition to preparing for this year’s concerts, Brighter Tomorrows recently awarded funds raised during 2012-13 season to five local nonprofits.

Checks totaling $30,000 were presented at a luncheon to the Mary Martha House, Champions for Children (formerly Child Abuse Council), Mary Lee’s House, Voices for Children and The Spring.

The money will be used for training, child advocate staff and assorted programs for children.

“We had five organizations apply and were able to fund all five — just not with all they requested,” said Laura Erstad, grant committee chairwoman who made the presentations.

She said the amount awarded has grown in two years from $21,000, which was awarded following the initial year of Elegant Evenings.

“It’s really all the hard work of our members of raising the money,” Erstad said.

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