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MSO ball is a trip for guests

November 09, 2004|by Alicia Notarianni

alician@herald-mail.com

Guests at the Maryland Symphony Orchestra Ball were taken to faraway lands Saturday, Nov. 6, via the imagination of Maryland Symphony Orchestra Guild members.

Inspired by upcoming MSO performances, including the programs Mediterranean Magic and Springtime in Europe, Dana Wollaston of Greencastle, Pa., treasurer of the MSO Guild's board of directors, said the Guild decided upon the ball's theme, "Around the World in Black and White."

The theme was based on the MSO's having guest artists from around the world this season, Wollaston said.

The 282 guests of the sold-out affair were greeted at the door of the Fountain Head Country Club beginning at 6 p.m. with flags of the nations of the world, while a hot air balloon welcomed them inside the lobby.

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Dining room tables donned eclectic centerpieces, each representing a different spot on the globe.

Decorations committee co-chairwoman Susan Rocco of Hagerstown said she and the members of the decorations committee scoured flea markets, stores and their own collections to create the black and white centerpieces.

"We thought ... let's set up a hot air balloon as if we've just landed from a journey and go visit the world. Get you in the idea of things," Rocco said.

Centerpieces included kangaroos and an opera house depicting Australia, the royal family representing England, wine and the Eiffel Tower as symbols of France, and elephants and the Taj Mahal representing India.

Young girls dressed in ethnic costumes ambled about selling raffle balloons as guests bid on 134 items featured in a silent auction.

Anita Binder of Hagerstown, chairwoman of the auction committee, said, "We really brainstormed and researched to raise funds for the auction. We wanted to do something really different and dynamic."

Most auction items were donated by local businesses and symphony supporters, including an Eastern Caribbean jazz cruise for two featuring Hagerstown native Eugene Grove, tickets to the 2005 U.S. Open Tennis Tournament in New York and a one-week stay at a 12th-century English cottage, as well as art, jewelry and dining and entertainment experiences.

At 7:30 p.m., kilt-clad piper Chris McClain summoned attendees to their tables for a few words from master of ceremonies Phil Kelly and MSO Music Director Elizabeth Schulze before dinner and dancing.

Schulze thanked the Guild for its support and urged attendees, who paid $100 per ticket, to keep on giving generously toward the continuance of MSO events and programs, including performances and educational outreach for children.

"This is a magnificent setting and a thrilling night, one of the most exciting and important events of the season for the orchestra," Schulze said. "It seems to get better every year."

Wollaston said the ball and auction raised about $64,000.

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