Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Special—And Artistic!—Events

Last week was a busy one for local arts supporters, with fundraising events for two venerable Madison groups taking place on opposite ends of the city.

Monday brought the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s fifteenth annual Concert on the Green. Hosted by the Madison Symphony Orchestra League, the event raises money for the MSO’s in-school music programs, youth concerts, concerto competitions and outreach programs in the community.

And it’s a beautiful event! Concert on the Green begins with a cocktail party on the lawn in front of Bishops Bay Country Club clubhouse in Middleton. After about an hour of mingling, guests move toward the lake and into an enormous white tent with gold chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.

Inside the tent, we ate dinner and took in a concert featuring works by Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Neilsen and Strauss performed by members of the MSO and conducted by James Smith, director of orchestras at the UW School of Music. Throughout the program, Smith stressed how fortunate the city of Madison is to have such a talented symphony orchestra.

A highlight of the concert was a guest performance by Benjamin Seeger, a Madison Memorial senior who was one of the winners of the 2009 Bolz Young Artist Competition. It was a pleasure to watch this young musician and wonder where his talent and passion might lead him.

Later in the week, Thursday marked Tandem Press’ sixteenth annual Wine Auction & Dinner, an event that funds graduate student fellowships at Tandem.

Director Paula Panczenko says the event has been held at various locations throughout Madison over the years, but decided to make a repeat visit to the Promega campus in Fitchburg.

The event had a decidedly fun, creative feel—which started from the moment guests stepped onto the campus and were greeted by brightly costumed, stilt-wearing members of Cycropia, the local aerial dance troupe.

Inside, auction-goers perused wine and items up for bid, checked out recent artwork made at Tandem, and enjoyed a gourmet buffet from Lombardino’s and excellent wine, particularly a Ramey chardonnay.

Then the auction action started. It was entertaining to watch auctioneer Daniel Donahoe of Teira Wines in California lead the crowd through items ranging from magnums of wine to concert tickets to a trip to California’s wine country. And it was exciting when someone near my table participated in a bidding war.

I would happily attend Tandem’s Wine Auction and the MSO’s Concert on the Green next year. And you should consider doing the same next June! For more information on these events, visit the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Tandem Press.

Photos of Concert on the Green are by Amy Lynn Schereck and photos of the Wine Auction & Dinner are by Anette Hansen.

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