Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fierce Phashion: 'Project Runway Jr' Winner among Special Guests at Runway Event

This is what you will be doing April 27 after you purchase a ticket online for the Toledo Opera Guild's 2016 Phashion of the Opera runway show and luncheon, which directly benefits the Toledo Opera:

You will come to the historic Toledo Club in downtown Toledo at 10:30 a.m., perhaps even a fashionably late 10:45 a.m. You will check in with some of the most dedicated guild volunteers, and perhaps receive a special pass for prime runway seating if you were lucky enough to nab a diva/divo ticket before they sold out.

You will wander through the impressive lobby to the luscious Red Room, to nibble on some complimentary hors d'oeuvres, sip a mimosa (or two) from the cash bar, and shop to your heart's content among our fabulous vendors: A Studio, Aegean Connection, Bowinkles, Lulu Ave Jewelry, Mary Kay, Paper Garden, Purse Love, Sewing Matrix, Origami Owl, and Rodan + Fields.

Kayla Brown walks the runway during the
2015 Phashion of the Opera rehearsal.
At noon, you and your packages will settle into a seat in the club's Centennial Room. Divas and divos will have reserved seats at the runway, but every chair in the room will offer a stunning view to the professionally staged fashion show organized by Katie Maskey of Studio K Coaching and a former Mrs. Ohio pageant winner.

Emmy-award winning anchor Emilie Voss from WTOL will emcee the show, and a very special guest will be Maya Ramirez, the Toledo School for the Arts student who won the fashion design competition on the television show "Project Runway Jr."

The music will start, the lights will dazzle, and beautiful models will rock fashions from some of northwest Ohio's finest local boutiques and clothiers: Vivian Kate, Ragazza, Blue by Atlas Bridal Shop, Elegant Rags, Sophia Lustig, Sophie's Sister, Costume Holiday House, Josie Wills, and Toledo Harley-Davidson.

Some of the models you will recognize as members of our opera-loving community. These VIPs -- Very Important Patrons -- have made special donations or have been sponsored by others who are making this event a marvelous fundraising success. Watch for Gabe Barrow of Barrow's Jewelers; Laura Dosch, of Waterford Bank, supported by Ragazza; Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn, who just may cartwheel again for guild president Shelli Jacobs; Karen Kristof, wife of Dr. Kraig Kristof of Glass City Orthopaedic & Spine Center; James Schwann, son of past guild president Traci Schwann and Dr. Thomas Schwann, chief of staff at the University of Toledo Medical Center; beloved family members of Marianne Ballas, owner of Ballas Buick-GMC; Elizabeth Aouad, wife of Adeeb Aouad, owner of Airtech Mechanical Inc.; Roger Parker of the Toledo Club; a model yet to be announced, sponsored by Vivian Kate; and Kristi Leigh, of WNWO, bedecked by Jeffrey Mann of Jeffrey Mann Fine Jewelers.

Have some extra cash on hand, or in your fabulous handbag at least, so that you can cast a paid vote for your favorite VIP model! Ballots will be counted immediately, and 100 % of the proceeds will go directly to supporting Toledo Opera productions such as Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette."

Arrangement by My Origami Garden.
You also will be serenaded by a voice you won't believe is just 13 years old with selections from "Phantom of the Opera." May Coppler won Talent of the Year in the International America's Amateur Modeling & Talent Competition in 2014-1015. She has performed at Toledo Walleye hockey games, the Ohio Statehouse and many charity events in Ohio and surrounding states.

Following the fashion show, you will head upstairs (elevators available) to the Toledo Club's largest private dining room, the stately Belvedere. Tables will be bedecked with paper flower arrangements created by Erica Francis of My Origami Garden, which will be available for sale to benefit Toledo Opera as well. You will dine on Caesar salad, garlic bread, ziti with artichoke hearts and peppers, and chocolate gelato and cookies. You will be so happy.

You will have helped make Phashion of the Opera one of the best fashion shows and most gratifying fundraisers in the whole area. The Toledo Opera will be able to present an amazing 2016-2017 season, and we all will benefit from that.

The 2016 Phashion of the Opera planning committee, chaired by Becky Gannon, will be exceedingly grateful for your support: co-chair Katie Maskey, Patty Etue Stephens, Elaina Kfouf, Bonnie Wrobel, and Rebecca Conklin Kleiboemer. A hospitality committee gathered by Barbara Brown will do everything possible to make the day a pleasant one for you.

To purchase a ticket, visit or look for an invitation in the guild's Hi Notes newsletter. But hurry! Tickets, which cost $50 for general admission and include lunch, are going very fast.

For more information on Phashion of the Opera and other guild events, and most importantly on how to become a Toledo Opera Guild member and be involved in such amazing work, visit

Saturday, March 12, 2016

'Romeo et Juliette' Luncheon to Include Art Museum Tour

This portrait, 'Elizabeth I, Queen of England'
(circa 1588) hangs in the Toledo Museum of Art.
Would you like a side of art with your lunch? The Toledo Opera Guild says, "Yes, please!"

The guild will enjoy a pre-opera luncheon March 30 at the renowned Toledo Museum of Art in anticipation of Toledo Opera's production of Charles Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette."

Docents will lead guild members and guests on a tour of the museum's collection of artwork, featuring pieces from the time period of Shakespeare's tragic love story and other depictions of romance.

Attendees are invited to gather for social hour at 11 a.m. in the museum's Green Room, where lunch will be served at noon followed by a program on the opera and art at 1 p.m.

Cost is $35. Guild members have been mailed invitations and guests are welcome; RSVP as soon as possible. Parking fees at the museum have been waived for luncheon attendees, who should enter the museum through the Grove Street doors.

If you have any questions or need transportation arranged, please contact luncheon organizer Diane Rusk at 419-283-0829.