Tag Archives: AEP

A Musical Tribute to Atlanta’s Public Safety Officials, ASO Style

We recently covered a very special Spring concert from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra honoring our city’s much-deserving public safety officials. The Orchestra performed Mark Grey’s “Fire Angels,” which was originally written for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.


Atlanta’s public safety heroes were well represented at a pre-concert reception at the Galleria at the Woodruff Arts Center. It was moving to see so many being honored and celebrating together!

Just about every vehicle imaginable was on-hand from motorcycle to SWAT van. Even mounted police were there with indisputably the most charming and lively mode of transport ever!

We were treated to a truly moving, expanded version of Fire Angels, led by ASO Musical Director Robert Spano. The Orchestra was joined by Soprano Jessica Rivera--who premiered Fire Angels at Carnegie Hall in 2011–and acclaimed Tenor Stuart Skelton.




Composer Mark Grey was also in the house to enjoy the performance along with noteworthy Atlantans such as Stanley Romanstein, President of the ASO, and Mayor Kasim Reed.

Thank you, Kimberly Nogi, for allowing AEP to be part of this beautiful event.


There’s Nothing Common about the Commons at Imperial Hotel

We love photographing fresh faces nearly as much as historical gems, and had the pleasure of both at the Grand Opening of the newly refurbished Imperial Hotel on Peachtree Street. Jason Hales led the AEP team in getting to know the Hotel, renamed “The Commons at Imperial Hotel,” which now provides permanent housing units for residents who have special needs or are working to overcome homelessness.

Mayor Reed and other community leaders and were on hand to laud the developers who made this possible: Atlanta-based Columbia Residential and National Church Residences of Ohio. A huge benefit of preserving the building for apartment homes is its downtown location, which gives residents access to public transportation, community services and jobs.

More than 200 guests enjoyed tours of the building. We all saw first-hand how supportive housing can function well–and look great!

I was amazed that a building first designed in 1911 as mid-priced lodging for business travelers could be reborn as LEED Gold-certified housing with up-to-date floor plans to suit modern life. We were especially impressed by the common and specialized areas, like a dedicated suite for case managers, a job training office and fitness facilities for residents. The remodel also prioritized energy efficiency to ensure affordable energy bills for residents and long-term sustainability.

The celebration recognized the value of the Imperial’s history and its important purpose going forward, which led to a night of toasts, good food and meaningful conversation. Talk of the Town Catering personalized their presentation with adorable cookies inspired by the building’s former life as a hotel. The pretzels were so good they were nearly half gone by the time we got to them! Peachtree Tents and Events provided much-needed cover on a rainy night.

Kudos to Nikki Graham at FDG Creative for coordinating a successful grand opening event!

A Magical Journey to the Big Top

It was a special night at the circus for special needs kids. Gas South teamed up with local mayors, government officials and Feld Entertainment–producer of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circusto provide free admission and a unique, kid-centered pre-show.

The fun began with a Magical Journey, a private pre-show designed just for the kids, with hands-on activities and the lights and sounds of the circus, plus sign language interpreters and wheelchair accessibility.

The kids and their families got to spend one-on-one time with Ringling Bros. circus clowns, jugglers and other amazing performers. The wardrobe station gave the kids a real feel for what it’s like to don a clown costume, nose and all.

For the animal lovers in the crowd, the amazing performers didn’t disappoint. This show had it all: Beautiful horses in the ring, a fabulous tiger and some very playful elephants.

The elephant’s game of choice was kick ball; to the kids’ delight, the ball quickly soared into the the crowd! 

If they hadn’t already stolen the show, the elephants were determined to make a lasting impression with artistry. One elephant-turned-Picasso grabbed a brush and began painting a real picture! I can’t imagine that anyone in that audience–including me–will ever see elephants the same again. Amazing!

The AEP team and I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to Gas South for including us, and to their community partners–the Metropolitan Atlanta Mayors Association, the Georgia Municipal Association and Feld Entertainment–for creating such a magical experience for the kids.

Learning, Networking & Fraternal Festivities at TKE’s Regional Leadership Conference

AEP found plenty to shoot, from formal ceremony to enthusiastic male bonding, at the recent fraternity event we covered: Tau Kappa Epsilon’s Regional Leadership Conference, held at the Sheraton Atlanta hotel downtown. At the start of every Spring semester, TKE members (a.k.a. Tekes) gather across North America to attend educational sessions and network. Atlanta was selected for 2014, along with San Francisco, Oklahoma City, NYC and Chicago.

It was all business–most of the time–during the educational workshops. The sessions gave attendees the opportunity to gain skills and learn from other members’ successes.

The highlight of Saturday night was an awards banquet where multiple winners proudly took the stage.

Bob Barr, TKE’s Grand Prytanis, was the keynote speaker. Bob hails from the Beta-Sigma chapter at the University of South Carolina and has been a member of the Grand Council since 2008.

The banquet was catered by the Sheraton Atlanta hotel–a chocolate-lovers’ delight!

In addition to meeting Grand Council members, Board Members and other TKE VIPs, attendees enjoyed the chance to meet the winner of the 2013 TKE International Sweetheart Scholarship, Miss Maria Willett. Maria is a representative from the Upsilon-Xi chapter at Oakland University and a member of Gamma Phi Beta.

We were literally surrounded by TKE members reconnecting, as nearly 300 attendees filled the Sheraton. Amazingly, this regional group was just a fraction of the overall organization, which has initiated more than 257,000 men since its founding in 1899 at Illinois Wesleyan University. Today there are more than 291 chapters and colonies across North America.

The TKE gang was really a lot of fun. Thanks to Alex Baker and Donnie Aldrich for working with the AEP team on this event! We hope to join you again for the 2015 festivities.