Friday, November 28, 2014

Perrysburg Symphony Orchestra to Present 'Amahl and Night Visitors'

Childhood is a wonderful time to begin a lifelong love of opera, and the holiday season lends an extra special magic to the memories.

The Perrysburg Symphony Orchestra will help you and your families create those memories with a free production of "Amahl and the Night Visitors" on Dec. 12 at Zoar Lutheran Church in Perrysburg.

When Italian-born composer Gian-Carlo Menotti was commissioned in 1951 by NBC to create a children's opera for television, he came up with the one-act piece from his childhood holiday memories of the "three kings" -- the magi who visit the Christ child in the biblical story.

In "Amahl and the Night Visitors," a young shepherd boy and his mother receive the traveling visitors for a night's stay. Destitution prompts the mother to steal for her crippled son some of the gold meant for the Christ child, but mercy and forgiveness propel the family to generosity and reverence for the prince of peace.

The Perrysburg Symphony Orchestra will offer the free concert and performance at 7 p.m. that Friday at the church, 314 E. Indiana Ave., Perrysburg.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Diamonds and Denim a Glittering Success

Tom and Traci Schwann take a spin at Diamonds and Denim.

There are countless facets on the gem of gratitude the Toledo Opera Guild has for everyone who came to the recent Diamonds and Denim fundraiser and who helped make it such a glittering success.

The event Dec. 8 at the Toledo Club netted nearly $24,000 for the Toledo Opera, including $1,700 that will help bring Opera on Wheels to three more schools in the Toledo area.

Auctioneer Richard Leonard and his crew raised $1,700 for a mink-trimmed black leather trench coat donated by Roth Furs and $1,000 for the president's suite at a University of Toledo basketball game donated by Shirley Joseph. Mr. Leonard made the night extra exciting by enticing folks to dig into their jeans pockets and outdo each other with cash donations. Hundred dollar bills started flying and generous donations in the thousands of dollars were made, totaling $12,000.

ICE in ice.
Hot tickets among the silent auction merchandise in the Grand Lobby included gift certificates to area businesses and a vintage Harley Davidson motorcycle helmet. Co-chairmen Shelli Jacobs and Traci Schwann appreciate everyone's generosity and give special thanks to Kelly Rechtenwald for making the tables look so festive.

The handsome wine auction tables presented by "stellar cellar" ladies Barbara Baker and Diane Rusk transformed the Centennial Room into a rustic winery in the heart of France. They offer a toast to Marcy McMahon for her help and to the generous donations of bottles from Toledo Opera Association board members, guild members and wine connoisseurs. Great Lakes Lighting did a great job illuminating their efforts.

Congratulations to Paula Hudson, of ShapeMyJeans, whose flute of champagne from Soto Signature Loft and Spa contained the real loose diamond from Jeffrey Mann Fine Jewelers.

Grand Lubell Photography captured guests' imaginary cruises astride a custom Chopper motorcycle loaned by Charlies' Automotive. Owner Charlie Ferhrenbach is now qualified for the circus after the stunning ride of faith he took off the photo stage at the end of the evening. It's not every day that one sees a motorcycle rolling through the club.

I <3 Toledo Opera.
The buffet tables were laden with delectable dishes from Chef Michael Rosendaul, including burger sliders, savory meatballs, grilled cheese-bacon-apple sandwiches, spinach cream-filled phyllo cups, boursin cheese-filled deep-fried mushrooms, pita and hummus, crudites with blue cheese dip, and dessert of chocolate truffles, carrot cake and berry tarts. In the middle of it all was a stunning ice sculpture from Ice Creations featuring the logo of ICE Restaurant and Bar.

Guests danced the night away to the toe-tapping tunes of Calvin Hughes Jazz Band and to the hip-shaking rock 'n' roll of Second Wind.

Parting gifts included a diamond-topped bottle opener, chocolate-dipped spoons from Toledo SOUP, magnetic clips from Charlies', and promotional material and discount coupons from ICE, Soto, ShapeMyJeans and Metroparks of Toledo. Perhaps the most endearing, if not enduring, souvenirs were the temporary tattoos from Kodi Klo of Toledo Tattoo Company of music notes, flowers, diamonds, and a heart declaring love for the Toledo Opera.

Many thanks to event co-chairmen Bonnie Milano and Rebecca Conklin Kleiboemer and the rest of the committee, which also included Cindy Niggemyer, Mary Beaber, Barb Bettinger, Patty Etue Stephens, Linda McBee, Carol Sizemore, Judith Conda, Susan Conda, Barbara Brown, Lexie Schwann, Laura Draheim, Judith Landry and Eleanore Darmofal.

Blade society editor Barbara Hendel's write-up of the event can be found here, and Girl in the Glass City's photo gallery can be found here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Save the Date: Celebrity Wait Night Jan. 26

Save the date on your calendar and save some room on your plate -- the Toledo Opera Guild is planning a great Celebrity Wait Night on Jan. 26, 2015, at La Scola Italian Grill in west Toledo.

Mary Bilyeu, food editor for The Blade, will be a special guest waiter. Other guild members and notable folks from the community are organizing tables as waiters, and they will be working hard to earn "tips" -- donations to the guild's efforts to support the Toledo Opera.

A cash bar will be available and live music will entertain guests.

La Scola will prepare a delectable menu of salad, choice of entree and dessert:

Salad Di Casa ("Our House"):

Mixed greens, tomatoes and gorgonzola cheese tossed in white balsamic vinaigrette

Choice of Entrees:

Cheese Manicotti: rolled pasta filled with herbed ricotta and topped with marinara, alfredo and pesto sauces

New York Strip Steak: 12-ounce center-cut choice steak topped with porcini mushroom butter sauce and served with seasonal vegetables and potato lasagna

Lake Superior Whitefish: fillet sauteed with crunchy pecan-polenta crust topped with porcini mushroom butter sauce and balsamic glaze and served with seasonal vegetables

Chicken Marsala: sauteed and flamed with Marsala wine, wild mushrooms and shallots and served with seasonal vegetables

Fine Dolci (dessert, "Sweet Ending"):

Caramel Pecan Tiramisu: espresso-dipped lady finger cookies layered with sweet marscarpone, caramel, pecans and whipped cream

Tickets are $45 per person. Cocktail hour will begin at 6 p.m. and dinner will be served at 7 p.m. at the restaurant, which will be open only to our guests that evening.

Invitations will be mailed after the holiday card rush, and details will be posted on this blog. Make a New Year's resolution to attend!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Diamonds and Denim: Gifts Galore in Silent, Live Auctions

We all have those folks on our holiday shopping lists who are impossible when it comes to figuring out a good gift. Let the Toledo Opera Guild help out with that.

This sparkling gem and stone necklace
embodies the Diamonds & Denim theme.
The silent and live auctions at Saturday's Diamonds and Denim fundraiser for the Toledo Opera are bursting with fabulous items, many locally produced and all donated by generous supporters.

Got a sister who couldn't live without a cup of caffeine in the morning? Bid on the Keurig single-cup coffee maker. Have a parent who likes to go out to eat? Snap up one of the several gift certificates to area restaurants. Is a friend getting married soon? Get a beautiful piece of glass art.

Do you need to really make up for the vacuum cleaner you gave your wife last year? You'd best bid high and bid often on the jewelry, the purses, the boots and the hats.

Several gift baskets in the silent auction are wrapped and ready to give to that someone special. They're stuffed with homemade goodies like fresh bread and candied nuts, jellies and jam, barbecue sauce and spice rubs, and popcorn and cookies.

This basket of homemade goods
includes a Thirty-One tote.
Speaking of cookies, one Christmas-themed basket comes with a promise to home-bake and deliver all of the delicious treats you'll need for your seasonal festivities.

Go ahead and treat yourself by bidding on a spa package or a tattoo. We won't tell.

Silent auction bidding will be open through 9 p.m., when auctioneer Richard Leonard will take over and elicit your support for Toledo Opera in the live auction portion of the evening.

Bid on a gorgeous lamb leather and mink fur coat from Roth Furs, donated by Phil Roth; the President's Suite for University of Toledo Athletics, thanks to guild member Shirley Jacobs; and the chance to have the opera's own Resident Artists perform at your function. These talented young people have been presenting "Orpheus and Eurydice" as part of the Opera on Wheels program in area schools.

Don't forget, the event boasts a superb wine sale as well. Pick a bottle from California, Oregon, Argentina, Chile, France, Italy, Lebanon, Greece, Israel or Australia. Or one from everywhere!

Cash, check and credit card payments will be accepted. The proceeds raised directly benefit the Toledo Opera.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Diamonds and Denim: ShapeMyJeans After Party

Alicia Lawson, left, and Arlinda Williams work away in the midst of
their transition from this mall location to their new Holland shop.

Show us someone who found a pair of jeans that fit her body exactly right, and we'll show you someone who had them custom-made at ShapeMyJeans.

Mother-daughter shop owners Alicia Lawson and Arlinda Williams, with seamstress Paula Hudson, create specially fitted denim clothing such as jeans, trousers, skirts and even formal dresses.

Williams said they do not use patterns, pinning the material as they fit it right on the customer's body, putting the curves where they should be and the slim lines where they will flatter most.

All sizes, all shapes, all styles are available in more than 20 kinds of denim material.

Arlinda Williams sews a pair of denim jeans.
The company has gone through a period of evolution, culminating in the shop's move from Franklin Park Mall to its own home in Holland, Ohio, as House of ShapeMyJeans.

It will be here, at 1106 S. McCord Road, where Diamonds and Denim VIP guests and guild committee members will gather Nov. 13 for an After Party to our Nov. 8 fundraiser.

It's not too late to get your ticket for Diamonds and Denim. Guests who purchase a $200 2 Carat level ticket will be invited to the ShapeMyJeans After Party, as well as receive a ticket to Toledo Opera's Feb. 11 performance of "Susannah."

Monday, November 3, 2014

Diamonds and Denim: Ragazza Brings the Dazzle

Katie Maskey models a black sequined top with blue jeans at Ragazza.

Ragazza Boutique is celebrating the opening of its newest location in Sylvania, Ohio, with suggestions on how to put together an amazing outfit for the Toledo Opera Guild's Diamonds and Denim fundraiser on Nov. 8 at the Toledo Club.

The club is suspending its no-denim dress code rules for the event, but the guild is encouraging guests to still bring the bling!

Check out Ragazza's Facebook page for a video of locally born opera singer Elizabeth Baldwin hitting the high notes to announce the shop opening.

Fashion and opera go hand in hand. Make sure to get your tickets now to join the fun!