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MSO Guild fundraiser a Royale affair

November 04, 2007|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

HAGERSTOWN ? Life-size James Bond cutouts and a trail of sparkling jewels awaited guests Saturday night as they entered Fountain Head Country Club at the Maryland Symphony Orchestra Guild 2007 Symphony Ball and Auction.

"Casino Royale 007" began at 5 p.m. with a "top secret" champagne silent auction preview. The event program presented the agenda of bidding, dining and dancing as a "mission" for the evening, and actors portraying Bond denizens mingled with the crowd. The décor was a sleek red, white and black palette.

MSO Guild President Barbara Henderson said the group wanted to choose a theme for the ball and auction that was somewhat less traditional than those of recent years. The 007 theme ? a play on the year 2007 ? was an exciting and fun way to do that, she said.

Bunny Fontrier, ball and auction chairwoman, said the theme seemed to fall into place.

"The movie ("Casino Royale") just recently came out, it's 2007, James Bond is 007," she said. "It just ties right in."

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MSO Music Director Elizabeth Schulze expressed her approval.

"This is so much fun," she said. "I just rented 'Casino Royale' the other day. It's wonderful to pick up on that energy and a little glamour."

Schulze commended the guild for the ongoing success of the ball as an annual fundraiser for the MSO.

"This is all due to the dedication of the women who put it together," Schulze said. "They work all year, every single day of the year. A lot of creativity, a lot of time, a lot of energy goes into this. And you can tell. It's complete down to the last detail."

Around 260 people attended the event. Tickets cost $125 per person. Guild member Yvonne Thompson said the ball and auction have raised about $65,000 in past years.

Carolyn Snyder of Martinsburg, W.Va., said she attended the event simply to support the orchestra.

"We are really fortunate in this area to have the symphony," Snyder said. "It's unreal to have them here.

I like to see arts and culture, and this is a very special orchestra. It's important to come out and support it."

Area businesses and individuals contributed nearly 250 auction items. Fontrier said one of the most exciting auction items was an opportunity to be a guest conductor at the MSO's Salute to Independence concert in July at Antietam National Battlefield.

"There are more auction items than ever before and we are going to raise more money than ever before," master of ceremonies James G. Pierné said. "This will be a great success."

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