Toledo overflows with talent and generosity. There are so many opportunities on any given night, it is tough to choose among them.
TUESDAY NIGHT was a winner with Tikvah: A Concert of Hope and Remembrance presented in the Bryan Recital Hall at Bowling Green State University. Turnout was so heavy, programs ran short and some guests were turned away, including students who were taking an introductory music course. Fire codes were strictly enforced, and there was no standing room in the space with a capacity of 250 people.
Those who did see the concert will not soon forget it. Composer and BGSU professor Burton Beerman's work blended acoustic and electronic music with song and dance in a performance dealing with the Holocaust. The production was based on the memoirs of Philip Markowicz, a Holocaust survivor. Mr. Markowicz was born in Poland in 1924, the son of a rabbi. He moved to Toledo in 1950 with his wife, Ruth, and son, Allen, and started a business, Phil's TV and Appliance. Mr. Markowicz said his studies of the Torah and the Talmud helped him survive the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp during World War II.
Tuesday's performance marked the first time Mr. Markowicz had seen the production. "I had a chill up my spine!" he said. "It was great. I was surprised to hear so much of my voice in the narration."
A bonus: Mr. Markowicz's granddaughter, Andrea Rae of New York, a performer, teacher, and vocal coach, was the soprano voice in the production. Other performers included the Atlas Saxophone Quartet with Bryan Polacek, Carey Valente, David Reminick, and Bobby Streng, plus dancer Celesta Haraszti, wife of Mr. Beerman, who gave a mini-show in the hall for those who could not enter as she awaited her stage entrance. Also part of the production were BGSU digital arts professor Heather Elliott-Famularo and pianist Stanley Yerlow.
As they exited the concert, Nael Hamdi and Abdul Hammuda remarked, "I hope we can take a lesson from tonight and expose human suffering on a global basis so it can be stopped."
Peggy Grant was entranced by the production. She said Mr. Markowicz's life followed a path similar to that of her late husband, Adam Grant, a Holocaust survivor. Both men were born in1924 in Poland, suffered at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and moved to Toledo in 1950, yet never met. An exhibit, "Renewed Hope: Paintings by Adam Grant 1946-1992" opened last night in the art gallery on the fifth floor of the University of Toledo's William Carlson Library. The exhibit will run through Aug. 26.
Also seen at the Tikvah production were Lois Kupperman and her husband, Drew Silvieus, of Cygnet; Mel and Joy Hyman, Ray Heitger, Cantor James Gloth and his wife, Bina Carr, and Mr. Markowicz's son and daughter-in-law, Allen and Hindea Markowicz.
THEY LEFT their checkbooks at home, as requested on the invitation. Instead, guests of Aurora Project, Inc., enjoyed a complimentary lunch April 21 at Carrabba's Italian Grill. The community appreciation luncheon celebrated the benefits of volunteerism in our community. Running the show was former Lathrop Co. president Bob Maxwell, who focused the spotlight on an Aurora resident who shared how the project turned around her life. Aurora is a housing and life-skills program that helps homeless women and children.
THE AUTO Dealers United for Kids held its annual charity reception April 15 at Inverness Club. It was a celebration of the successful "The Cars are the Stars" gala that was in February in SeaGate Convention Centre. At the reception, five organizations were presented with donations: Toledo Children's Hospital, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Toledo, and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) each received $30,000. Northwood University and Owens Community College each received $10,000. Among the ADUK committee present were chairman John Yark and committee members, including Paul Devers, Marianne Ballas, Mike Barchick, and Robb Brown.
THE TOTALS are in for the April 1 Fools for Animals fund-raiser by the Toledo Animal Shelter and Nature's Nursery in the Maumee Indoor Theater. The net is more than $12,000 and the guest list topped 270 people, according to Dave Cooper, a founding member of Nature's Nursery. Steve Kiessling, board president of Nature's Nursery, and Jack Fynes, board president of Toledo Animal Shelter, are already making plans for next year's Fools for Animals on the same date. In the meantime, they may consider working together on other ventures.
AFTER 30 YEARS of roasting and toasting at the annual Ribs-N-Roast, the Press Club of Toledo plans to ignite the evening with a new event, Ribs and Roasted, May 12. There won't be a long program or sit-down dinner. Instead, the evening will be one of hobnobbing among media folks and people they report on, from businesspeople to politicians and others who make the news interesting.
Traditional Press Club favorites such as the Broadcaster sandwich will be on the munchies menu, and yellowed copies of a satirical take on The Blade will be on display, as well as videos of past Ribs-N-Roasts. Even for those who just want to sip, sup, and schmooze, Gladieux Meadows will be the place to be on May 12 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The board set the price at $45 so more old cronies, preppies, and rogues - as well as new birds - can attend the cash bar event. Reservations are helpful: Call Kathy at the Press Club at 419-474-8216 or e-mail at Kathy@pressclubtoledo.com.