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Dancing Under the Summer Stars

Williamsport Symphony to hold fourth annual fundraiser

June 17, 2012
By MATTHEW PARRISH ( , Williamsport Sun-Gazette

The Williamsport Symphony Orchestra will hold its annual fundraiser "Dancing Under the Summer Stars" from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, June 29, in the Lumley Aviation Center main hangar and tarmac at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

WSO Executive Director Reuben Councill said that the yearly event has been "tremendously successful."

"Each year it gets bigger and better and this is a really fun and exciting way for the community to help the WSO reach it's fundraising goals," he said. "Sometimes I think there is a perception that a symphony orchestra is 'stuffy' and this event goes a long way toward dispelling that myth."

Article Photos

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent

"The goal of the event is to let the community know that the Symphony is not a stuffy organization," WSO volunteer and event organizer Amy Dowling added. "This is the fourth year that we're doing this and it's been really successful," she said.

Even in 2011, when rain caused the celebration to move inside, fun was still had by all.

"We catered last year's event, which was an outdoor garden party," Liz Miele of the Peter Herdic House said. "About a quarter of the way in, it just let loose and poured."

"Everyone was having a good time and we were thinking, 'How are we ever going to get everyone under the tent if it rains?,' " Dowling said. "And then, boom, it started to pour and we all ran to the tent."

But the party moved indoors seamlessly and was still a success.

"Everyone said they had a good time and, at the very least, it's something they'll never forget," Dowling said.

This year, the airport hangar, complete with helicopters on site, will make for a beautiful setting.

"If it's a great night, we can be out on the tarmac area, if it's a nasty night, we can go inside," Dowling said. "And the whole hangar opens wide to an amazing view of the mountains. They feel so close when you're right there."

"The airport hanger is going to be a perfect location," Councill added. "We hosted an event there many years ago and I just remember watching the sunset over the mountain as people danced the night away."

The main event of the evening will be a new addition to the fundraiser - a live auction - which will be held along with a silent auction. The items that may be won include a week in Nantucket, Rick Mahonski jewelry, dinner at the Rowley House cooked by Kevin Liddell and a print by Marguerite Bierman.

Miele had kind words for Bierman, who is a local artist.

"Marguerite is an incredible artist and a really neat person," Miele said. "She's one of the most colorful people I know."

The main meal for the event, which will be catered by the Herdic House, will be smoked salmon and rosemary roasted pork tenderloin. And because of the season, strawberries will feature prominently.

"We'll have chocolate strawberries ... we put together a menu based around strawberries," Miele said. "Now is the season to be a cook. The rest of the year you bide your time when you're cooking and this is the time of year that you're happy to have a knife in your hand."

Attendees also will have an opportunity to meet-and-greet and, possibly, dance alongside of Maestro Gerard Edelstein while area band Flipside performs.

Ultimately, the night is about supporting the Symphony, which is the "backbone" of the local music scene, according to Miele.

"I've had a lot of friends who have played for the symphony," Miele said. "It's been an interesting transformation in the Symphony in the last decade. They've come out of their classic music shell and they're doing remarkable stuff."

Councill said that the WSO is "big city entertainment close to home."

"Musicians from across the region come to present the finest music led by our energetic and engaging conductor, Gerardo Edelstein," he said. "It's more than classical come enjoy pops concerts, brass bands, chamber music, and a variety of guest artists both local and world renowned. Even kids are center stage with our youth programs and the Young Artist Competition. Come hear a concert and experience first-hand one of Williamsport's great cultural jewels!"

The WSO will perform with Kansas at 8 p.m. July 7 at Spyglass Ridge Winery in Sunbury and will hold its annual Pops in the Park concert the following night at Brandon Park Bandshell.

Tickets for "Dancing Under the Summer Stars" are $85 and reservations must be made by June 22. For more information, visit or call 322-0227.



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