Tuesday, November 22, 2011

All Jazzed Up - Sarasota Orchestra's Season Opener Brunch

Sarasota Orchestra hit on a sensational idea a few years ago when they started their Season Opener Brunch.  It has been sold out all three years!  I think November is our busiest social month, even more so than the spring.  Every day is filled with one or more events, and the Orchestra has cornered the Sunday before Thanksgiving as their day. 

Held at Michael's On East, every corner of the ballroom and the courtyard atrium is used to capacity.  There are food stations all over the place!  You certainly cannot go away hungry.  In fact, I didn't even have room for the luscious desserts.  There was a made-to-order omelet station, an area with salmon and also cheese blintzes with strawberry and blueberry sauces (my personal favorite!), eggs Benedict (which should be my favorite!), crab cakes and oysters Rockefeller, marinated Flank Steak, a salad station with all of MOE favorites - chopped salad, Chinese chicken, fruit, mozzarella balls and grape tomatoes, feta, tomato, and onion salad and on and on.  The dessert buffet had ice cream pops, fruit tartlets, mini pastries, almond macaroon sandwiches, and chocolate coconut cashew clusters - oh my!  Are you swooning yet?

The Orchestra's Jazz Ensemble performed two sets, with the second set ending with Proud Mary, sung by Jennifer Leigh, and a few brave souls up and dancing.  It was the second time this weekend that I heard Proud Mary performed at an event.  Tina Turner's classic is alive and well in Sarasota

Barbara Simon, the orchestra's VP of Development said the entire program book was done in house, printing and all.  It was colorful, clean, and interesting, with photos of many of the hats that were used as centerpieces.  And let me tell you about those!  Each table had a different and unique millinery creation, which was designed and made by various volunteers.  Every color of the rainbow was represented and they were all sold for a minimum of an $100 donation.  I couldn't decide which one was my favorite!

It was a relaxing and charming afternoon.  Seen in the crowd, in addition to those photographed below were Joe McKenna, Orchestra President & CEO, Cindi Perkins (Cindi was one of the first persons I met when I moved to Sarasota 30 years ago.  She was the visual display manager at Jacobson's then and I was a department manager there.  We both seemed so young then!  She works for Anne Folsom Smith now.)  Anne Virag and Nate Benederson, Susi Steenbarger, Melvy Lewis, Carol and Mort Siegler, Gordon Greenfield and so many, many more.

Co-chairs Edie Chaifetz and Bunny Skirboll

Mike and Jewel Ash

Mary Lou and Dr. James Thomas

Patricia and Chris Caswell

Stephanie Shaw

Nelda Thompson

Flori Roberts and Flora Majors

Fran Lambert and Gerri Aaron

Susan Brennan and Bev Fisher

Matt and Margaret Callihan

Bea Friedman and Paul Wolfe

Jay and Veronica Brady

Lois Stulberg, Sally Yanowitz, and Judy Cahn

Brian Lipton and Diana Lager

Mary Beth and Brad Goddard

Marsha Panuce and Anne Folsom Smith

Carol White Bold

Aimee Cogan

Tana Sandefur

Peggy Wilhelm and Liz Lindsay

Barbara Simon

Joy Weston

Dessert sampling

The colorful centerpiece

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