Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fundraising For Two - Two - Groups at Once!


High Desert Chamber Music held a fund-raising gala event last night. I loves me some classical music so I just had to attend to support this organization. This was their first such event, and they hope to hold them annually. HDCM was founded in 2008 by violinist Isabelle Senger, with the mission to provide world class chamber music performances year round to Central Oregon.

The event was held at the North Rim clubhouse -- a fairly tony structure in a private neighborhood. We got there after dark so I have no idea what the homes look like. I reckon there were about 40 couples. This was the first time I put on a tie since we arrived here in Bend. Actually Mrs Elliott put it on me: I like to wear bow ties but cannot for the life of me figure out how to tie one despite having studied all the "how to" guides and watched the videos. There's this one step that I just don't get. 

Anyway, there was beer and wine -- reason enough to attend any event, in my mind, even if it is called "gala," and requires a tie. Before dinner the Crown City String Quartet (Isabelle is first violin) performed Dvořák's Quartet in F, Op.96 (the "American"). 

Now, you gotta picture this: after everyone had had a chance to mingle and chat and eyeball the silent auction items, we were invited to be seated at our tables which were in a large clear vinyl tentlike structure erected on the patio. Heating was provided. There were 8 tables under this 30-foot by 30-foot structure, and the quartet performed in one corner. They played beautifully. There were a few people between me and the group, so all I could clearly see were first and second violin, but the sound was excellent and I had no trouble hearing the viola and cello. Nature provided some added sound effects, too: high, gusty winds on the tent caused its metal joints to creak like timbers on a sailing ship. 

The weather here does have its effect on musical performances, I must say. During September's performance of the Highland Trio at the Tower, one of the tuning pegs on the cello shrank so much due to the low humidity here that it just came loose in its hole and the string completely detuned. The performance had to halt until she could get the darn thing to stay in place.  I believe I saw a mallet and some chewing gum applied.

I don't know if Dvořák's trip to America in 1892 was aboard a sailing vessel but I pictured him aboard one anyway when listening last night to this lovely piece of music. [Addition: Dvořák came to America aboard the SS Saale, a steam powered single-screw ship. I'll stick with my image of him aboard the sea-tossed ship.]

The lovely and talented Mrs Elliott was gracious enough to accompany me, looking as pretty as ever. She figured that while she was there she could chat up a few folk to see if she could get sponsorships for a fundraiser she is doing for the Boys and Girls Club of Central Oregon which has been in the news lately because they've run out of money and have had to close their doors, at least temporarily. 

A few days ago she met with Derek Beauvais, program director for the club and he said that the news of their financial situation had resulted in several donations, enough to re-open the club for at least a month. But they clearly need more money to continue operation.

So Mrs Elliott, who has been fundraising for charities for years and years, is ginning up an event to be held downtown for kids. She has already signed up a few businesses to donate gifts and snacks and will shoot all the proceeds to the Boys and Girls Club. 

Chamber music, sports coats and ties, good food and wine, great music with the sound of creaking timbers and hawsers, and a chance to help not only the HDCM, but the Boys and Girls Club as well. That's a pretty nice evening out. 

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