Wednesday, August 31, 2005

NAD Announces National Gala Entertainment

Michelle Banks and Jonathan Kovacs and the Four Jacks to Perform

Silver Spring, MD - The National Association of the Deaf will celebrate 125 Years of Advocacy at a National Gala to be held on Saturday evening September 17, 2005 at the Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, MD.

Headlining the evening's entertainment will be Michelle Banks, award winning actress, writer, director and producer and Jonathan Kovacs, of Rathskellar fame, whose new performing group, The Four Jacks, will make its debut. Lauren Teruel, former NAD Miss Deaf America and Darren Fudenske, educator and actor, will serve as co-emcees of the evening that will also include an appearance by Erin Casler, NAD Miss Deaf America 2004-2006.

Gala Sponsors

The 125th NAD Anniversary National Gala would not be possible without the generous support of Gala Sponsors. The lead, Constitutional Sponsor, is CSD. At the Judiciary Sponsor, the next level, is Sorenson Communications. Congressional Sponsors are: BellSouth Corporation, Birnbaum Interpreting Services, Cingular, Communication Access Center/CACVRS, Gallaudet University, Hamilton Relay, IBM,, Macfadden and Associates, Inc., Microsoft, RIM, Sprint, Ultratec, Inc./Captel, Inc., US Telecomm Association, Verizon Communications, and Visual Language Interpreting. At the Executive Level are: Amtrak, California State University at Northridge, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, PEPNet, Pfizer Inc., and Sign Language Associates. Supporting sponsors are: DeafVision, Inc., DTS, Inc., Modern Litho, National University and Schwarz Financial Services LLC.

Gala Performers

Michelle A. Banks is an award winning actress, writer, director and producer. Coming from a strong theatre background, Michelle appeared in Deaf West Theatre's production of the critically acclaimed musical, Big River at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, CA and the Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC. Before moving to Los Angeles in 2001, Banks was the founder and artistic director of Onyx Theatre Company in New York City, the first deaf theater company in the United States for people of color. A native of Washington, D.C., Ms. Banks holds a BA Degree in Drama Studies from the State University of New York at Purchase. Ms. Banks' one-woman performance is entitled, Reflections of a Black Deaf Woman.

The Four Jacks, produced by Jonathan Kovacs creator of the Rathskellar, will provide a superb blend of ASL song, dance, music, and percussion during the Gala. The group's name is taken from the first initials of its four dynamic performers: Jonathan Hall Kovacs, Jessica von Garrel, Jesse Jones III, and JoAnn Benfield. The Four Jacks will take you on a pirate treasure-hunt filled with blazing action, humor, and all sorts of trouble!

The evening includes a cocktail hour, elegant dinner with wine, slide shows commemorating NAD history, and entertainment. Dancing follows the stage performances, with music provided by Mark "DJ Kojo" Amissah.

Gala Hotel

The Gala will take place at the Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. 101 West Fayette Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201. The NAD has reserved a block of rooms at a rate of $99/night plus tax. For hotel and reservation information, please visit:

How to Make a NAD Gala Reservation

All are invited to attend this very special evening commemorating 125 years of NAD advocacy. Tickets to the 125th NAD Anniversary National Gala are $125.00 per person and seating is limited. According to IRS regulations, a portion of your Individual Gala Ticket is tax-deductible as a donation - $50.00. The Gala reservation deadline has been extended to Monday, September 12, 2005.

You may register online for the 125th NAD Anniversary National Gala at:

If you cannot attend, please consider making a donation in honor of the NAD 125th Anniversary at: or you may send a check, payable to the National Association of the Deaf to: 814 Thayer Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Donations in lieu of attendance at the Gala are fully tax-deductible, according to IRS regulations.

Don't miss this once-in-a- lifetime event! Make your reservations now!

About the NAD

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) has safeguarded the civil rights of deaf and hard of hearing Americans since 1880. As a national federation of state association, organizational and corporate affiliates, the advocacy work of the NAD encompasses a broad spectrum of areas including, but not limited to, accessibility, education, employment, healthcare, mental health, rehabilitation, technology, telecommunications, and transportation.

The NAD website ( has a wealth of advocacy information and resources.