Masquerade 2013

A mid-winter evening of fun, featuring masks, music and merriment, will be held from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Capitol Lounge of the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.

“Masquerade 2013” is the only fundraiser for the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra this year and will replace the previous fundraiser, “Dancing Under the Summer Stars,” which took place the past four years.

The event is organized by the Friends of the WSO and is open to the public.

“[Committee member] Linda Lundy had done a masquerade-themed event in Florida and we wanted to try that this year,” said Christine Kaiser, a committee member and member of the Friends of the WSO.

“We’re moving from the outside to the inside,” committee member Beverly McCauley, who added that all proceeds support the WSO’s music and education programs.

There will be live music and dancing, along with heavy hors d’oeuvres catered by Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Le Jeune Chef, desserts by Mona Lisa Bakery, a live auction, complimentary beverages and “mystery” entertainment, McCauley said.

McCauley said that the auction will take place in the mezzanine with small tables set up throughout and food stations so people can move about.

“It will not be a long auction,” Gorski stressed, adding that they want people to mingle and dance.

“All money stays locally and does not go to any state or national organizations,” Kaiser stressed. “[The WSO] offers programs for all ages, such as the youth orchestra, the Junior Strings and the free Pops in the Park, to enrich the community.”

“The success of this event is key to continuing to offer such wonderful programming in such a small community,” volunteer Jo-Ann Gorski said.

Kaiser agreed. “For a town this size to support the symphony for more than 45 years, that is tremendous.”

The committee – which also includes Dianne Peeling, Cheryl Yoxtheimer, Tania Thomas, Miki Rebeck and Yvonne DiRocco – recently met to package and mail out more than 385 invitations. The committee is hoping to sell at least 200 tickets.

Kaiser said tickets and more information also is available at or on the WSO Facebook page. Those interested in sponsorships or donating items to the live auction may call Hind Jabbour, WSO marketing coordinator, at 322-0227.

Items already donated include a stay at a cabin in Eagles Mere, jewelry, other trips and artwork, Kaiser said.

McCauley added that Dr. Alan Stryker will donate a pencil and ink drawing and Clyde Peeling will offer a one-person trip without airfare to the Galapagos Islands in February 2014.

“Once we have all the live auction items, we will send a letter to the registered guests because some are trips,” Kaiser said.

McCauley said that over the years, the fundraiser has raised more than $100,000 to keep the WSO in the community.

Live music will be provided by the Pepper Street Band, along with members of the Williamsport Symphony Youth Orchestra and WSO musicians.

“The professionals you see on stage will be working with the youth to help them become future musicians,” Gorski said.

McCauley said that the Friends began planning this event as soon as last year’s fundraiser ended.

“The ideas were there to do something different,” she said, adding that the volunteers have met monthly since the fall and now weekly in the weeks leading up to the event.

Gorski said that although this is her first year on the committee, she is impressed with how fun everyone is to work with.

“They are organized and put a lot of their time and resources to make this event successful,” Gorski said.

It is suggested, but not required, that all attendees wear black. Masks will be provided.

Tickets are $85 per person with $40 of that being tax deductible. Reservations are due Feb. 15.

For more details, call 322-0227.