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Published: Thursday, 4/13/2006

Opera, symphony organizations celebrate success

Chatter continues about the fantastic performance of Pagliacci by the Toledo Opera over the last two weekends. Bravo! Members of the Toledo Opera Guild, which helps support the opera, couldn't be more proud. To celebrate, the guild hosted a Sparkle with the Clowns brunch April 6 at Toledo Country Club featuring the Distinguished Clown Corps as a prelude to Pagliacci. Also included in the entertainment for the brunch was a display by Jewelry by Premier Designs.

The Opera Guild has been busy. A Victorian Membership Tea was March 22 in the lovely new Maumee home of board member Sandra Seiple. Ladies were invited to bring a prospective member and their favorite tea cup and saucer with a tale or two about the china. While guests chatted over tea, crumpets, and other delights, lovely piano tunes played by Margaret Weber could be heard in the background.

Sandra Seiple, left, Mildred Allred, and Jean Smith at the Opera Guild member tea.
Sandra Seiple, left, Mildred Allred, and Jean Smith at the Opera Guild member tea.
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Getting down to business, membership chairman Mildred Allred welcomed prospective members, and president Jean Smith gave a brief history of the guild, which was founded in 1962. Mrs. Seiple presented a new fund-raising opportunity, an Aug. 30 trip to Mozart's musical cities, Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague, in celebration of his 250th anniversary. Next on the guild's calendar is a fashion show, "The 3 Divas," May 3 at Inverness Club featuring fashions from Chico's, Coldwater Creek, and Talbots. The event also includes lunch, raffle prizes, and a geranium sale.

ALSO behind the scenes supporting another one of Toledo's treasures is the Toledo Symphony League, serving the Toledo Symphony for more than 53 years.

Extra-special members of the league, the Crescendos, were honored March 21 during a brunch in the charming home of Joanie Barrett, an avid community volunteer. Crescendos are members who have been active for more than five years and have served as a project chairman, a board member, or other extensive commitment.

Ladies sipped and nibbled amid elegant surroundings as the Buenger sisters, Denielle, 18, Deanne, 15, and Denise, 12, members of the Toledo Youth Orchestra, played.

Among those present at the lovely affair were president Zana Sandys, Faye Fenwick, Noreen Drewicz, Equilla Roach, Sue Girkins, Druscilla Griffin, Bev Zielinski, Edrene Cole, Barbara Shenk, and Marianne Payne.

Joanie Barrett, left, and Zana Sandys at the Toledo Symphony Crescendo brunch.
Joanie Barrett, left, and Zana Sandys at the Toledo Symphony Crescendo brunch.
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THE West Point Society of Northwest Ohio celebrated its annual Founder's Day at the Toledo Club April 7 in celebration of the academy's 204th anniversary. Most appropriately, the event was held in the club's West Point Room.

The Cadet Prayer was read by Steve Heaney, class of '85, followed by the traditional toasts to the President, the United States Army, the Corps of Cadets, to the Ladies, and to current soldiers and sailors.

After members and guests dined on lobster and seafood from the club's regular Friday night buffet, they were entertained with West Point reflections from the oldest graduate present, John Wirries, class of January '45, and the youngest graduate, Matt Barrow, Class of '97.

Guest of honor and speaker Capt. Al Hassenzahl, a founding member of the U.S. Army's elite 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment during World War II, depicted in the Stephen Ambrose book Band of Brothers, enriched guests with his experiences. He talked about combat jumps into Normandy on D-Day and into Holland, the siege at Bastogne, and their experiences as one of the first units into Adolph Hitler's "Eagles Nest" in Berchtesgaden. He said he was most flattered when Gen. Dwight Eisenhower personally wished him good luck during an inspection prior to D-Day.

Souvenirs from the war, including Hitler's personal copy of the history of The Third Reich as well as a Nazi flag, were shared with guests, too.

Recognized for wartime efforts was Frank Magoni, who was invited to the dinner by Ron Pfenning, class of '71. Mr. Magoni served in the South Pacific with the U.S. Army's Americal Division. Also honored was Ralph Zychowicz, who served with the US Army's 701st Tank Destroyer Battalion in Italy. He was escorted to dinner by his wife, Sophie, and son, Ralph Zychowicz, Jr., class of '70.

Also present were Society president Bruce Foster, class of '64; Bob Oehlers, class of '89, and Don Hendershot, class of '80.

THE Sylvania Senior Center was the afternoon site for the third annual "The Chocolate Affair " April 2, with host Robert Shiels of WTOL-TV, Channel 11.

Chocoholics - about 200 of them - were blissful as they tasted all kinds of yummy chocolate desserts, including "baked on the spot" chocolate chip cookies provided by local restaurants, bakeries, and other establishments. In need of burning a few calories, guests strolled the silent auction.

Chairman Karen Smith is pleased to report an estimated net of $8,900, and they are still counting.

THE Girl Scouts of the Maumee Valley Council hosted a Community Awards Breakfast March 30 at the Clarion Hotel to recognize organizations, businesses, and individuals throughout northwest Ohio for outstanding support of the Scouts.

The Distinguished Community Woman of the Year Award was presented to Toledo Councilman Wilma D. Brown.

Mistress of Ceremonies Susan Ross Wells of WTVG-TV, Cannel 13, kept the event on target. Among the speakers was Lindsay Froelich from Girl Scout Troop 55 in Defiance. Margaret Beck is the GSMVC board president.

A PREVIEW party March 31 for Notre Dame Academy's Art on the Avenue was at 20 North Gallery, where the show is slated for April 28. Guests mingled over tibits and spirits while they perused the art. Upstairs, Carol Imes Luscombe was busy painting in her studio.

The upcoming event, focusing on student and alumni art, includes food and dancing to the tunes of the KGB Band. Gretchen DeBacker, event chairman, is assisted by committee members Pat Kuhr, Virginia Keller, Kathie Koldgy, Marcie McMahon, Eileen Kerner, and Margaret Lockhart.

THE 13th annual Wood County Economic Development Commission Dinner was a reunion of friends and business associates as well as a great networking opportunity. The event, held March 22 at the Holiday Inn French Quarter, was attended by some 500 business and civic leaders from across northwest Ohio who mingled for a few hours before sitting for dinner and the program.

Jerry Anderson of WTOL-TV, Channel 11 was emcee. New officers include president Lane Williamson of the Eastman and Smith law firm, and Heinz Bulmahn, dean of the Bowling Green State University graduate college; Jack Jones, CEO of Poggemeyer Design Group, and real estate executives Brian McMahon and Larry Dillin.

Recognized for service were immediate past president Phil Rudolph, Jr., James Rossler, Jr., and Robert Mack. The first corporate citizen of the year award was presented to Frank Butler of Owens-Illinois, Inc.

The evening was rounded out with guest speaker Ed Burghard, director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition.



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