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Symphony's gala fundraiser has a distinct Italian flavor

November 06, 2005|By MARIE GILBERT

marieg@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Nature has been generous in its gifts to Tuscany. Its landscape is a form of living art, with terraced vineyards, fields of flowers and cypress trees flanking crumbling villas.

Some of that Old World beauty found its way Saturday night to the ballroom of Fountain Head Country Club, as the Maryland Symphony Orchestra Guild held its annual ball and auction.

With the theme "Under the Tuscan Sun," all things were Italian - from the decor to the food to auction items.

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The event is the guild's largest fundraiser for the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, said Susan Rocco, past guild president and co-chair of this year's invitations committee.

The money is used for various projects, including concert sponsorships, scholarship funds and educational programming, Rocco said.

"The symphony has a wish list, and we hope to fulfill it through endeavors such as tonight's event," Rocco said.

About 270 people attended the fundraiser, entering the ballroom through a Tuscan courtyard, featuring an Italian mural, a fountain and flowers.

The dinner menu also was Italian and included Spinach Florentine in Mini Bouche, Beef Tenderloin Filet wrapped in Pancetta, and Riso ala Custard in Almond Praline Shell with Amaretto Vanilla Sauce.

Auction items included a four-night trip to Tuscany for two, Italian leather items, food baskets, oil paintings and bottles of select Italian wine.

"The event is a lot of fun," Rocco said. "It's a good way for guild members to get together and for people in the community to learn more about what we do. But it's also a lot of hard work - something we work on yearlong. After tonight, we'll take a little respite, then after the holidays, we're off and running for next year's ball."

The event continues to be successful, Rocco said, "because of wonderful community support. People truly appreciate the Maryland Symphony Orchestra and it shows in their generosity of time and donations."

Among those attending this year's ball and auction was Harriet Longly of Frederick, Md.

"This is the first year I've been part of this," she said. "A friend invited me to come along, so here I am. It sounds like a wonderful evening. I love music, I love the MSO and I love Italy. So this should be a whole bunch of fun."

The mission of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra Guild is to support and promote the growth of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra through financial, educational and social endeavors, Rocco said.

"Our hope is that people attending tonight's fundraiser who are not part of the guild will like what they see and want to become a part of our group," Rocco said.

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