Four Courses, Five Ensembles, Six Wines…

From the opening notes of a jazz quartet during the cocktail hour to the final notes of Bernstein’s West Side Story Selections, the music thrilled guests last night at the Schenectady County Community College, matched only by the splendor of the wine and accompanying food prepared by SCCC culinary program students under the direction of Chef Tom Alicandro and Professor Kimberly Williams.


SSO Concertmaster20141120_191602 Michael Emery described J. Guy Ropatz’s Prelude, Marine et Chanson, which accompanied  a shiraz-poached pear with Boston lettuce and spiced pecans that was served with Penfold’s Shiraz St. Henri, 2009.


The quality of wine was outstanding, offering value and variety, with wines from around the globe, and concluding with mead produced right here in the Helderbergs.

Some highlights of the silent auction this year included:

  • performing arts: tickets to Schenectady Civic Players, Capital Rep, Proctor’s presentation of Annie, Glimmerglass Opera, Shakespeare & Co., the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York City Ballet in their summer seasons at SPAC
  • half a dozen collections of wines of all varieties hand-picked by some of the area’s most knowledgeable wine merchants
  • a range of gourmet delights: afternoon tea, chocolates and coffee, Italian treats and more
    artwork : photography, watercolors, oils and giclee prints
  • holiday decor items
  • and a full demitasse/dessert service for 12 of beautiful Wedgewood bone china

We’re grateful to all the businesses who supported us through their donations.

This event is only possible through the combines efforts of many local musicians who give their time to plan the program, researching pieces to present, and rehearsing/performing during the evening.   This year we were delighted to feature the talents of:

  • a jazz ensemble for the cocktail hour featuring Steve Lambert – saxophone, David Gleason – piano, Mike Lawrence – bass, and Pete Sweeney – drums
  • a woodwind quintet during the first course featuring Kathy Sadowsky – clarinet, Sue Kokernak – oboe, Beth Chinery – flute, Mel Toub – bassoon, and Katy Svatek  – French horn with Nancy Bloomer Duessen’s Woodwind Quintet
  • a flute, harp and string trio during the second course featuring Beth Chinery– flute, Michael Emery – violin,  Stephani Emery – viola, Cathie-Jo Brun – cello and Karlinda Caldicott – harp performing J. Guy Ropartz’s Prelude, Marine et Chansons
  • “Women of Note” string quartet during the main course featuring Meme Pittman – viola, Cathy Barber – violin, Barbara Brothers – violin, Cathie-Jo Brun – cello playing Mozart’s String Quartet in G maj. K. 156
  • and “Saratoga County Line,”a brass quintet during dessert featuring Allyson Keyser & Omar Williams – trumpet, Catherine Hill – horn, Phil Pandori – trombone, and Michael Silvagnoli – tuba, performing Bernstein’s West Side Story Selections



An additional bonus this year is the chance to order wines, including some of those offered during the evening, at a substantial discount.  For details click here: Discounted Wine Order Form. Mail with payment to University Wine & Liquors, 1225 Western Ave, Albany, NY 12203.  Ten percent of all proceeds go to the Schenectady Symphony.

Lastly, we could only offer this level of quality with the support of our generous sponsors.  Thanks to their participation, this event allows us to raise funds to continue providing live classical music here in Schenectady – by the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra, your hometown orchestra.   Looking forward to next year!


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