Monday, April 26, 2010

Music, Juleps, & Roses

Athenians will have the opportunity to experience the run for the roses first hand at the Classic Center this May as the Athens Symphony Guild presents “Music, Juleps and Roses: A Kentucky Derby Event.” As the horses race for the coveted garland and trophy, Athens revelers won’t miss a hoof beat -- all while raising money for talented University of Georgia students.

“We have done fundraising events every year,” said organizer Libby Hollett of the Athens Symphony Guild, “but we wanted to create a single event that the community could look forward to each year, and that offers an option that Athens has never had before.”

Saturday, May 1st from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., guests will find themselves transported to Churchill Downs with red roses decking the Classic Center and preliminary races, the big race and the post-race parade broadcast on wide screens. Those who enjoy the excitement of betting will have the opportunity to place “faux bets,” with none of the risk of actual betting but the chance to win prizes for picking the winning horse.

A large derby-themed buffet inspired by the famed cuisine of Churchill Downs’ sumptuous Chef Tables will feature traditional tastes of Kentucky, complemented by the race’s signature drink, the mint julep, which will be offered in both the traditional and non-alcoholic version for guests to sip as they watch the races and take in the derby day fashions around them.

Ladies particularly will be rewarded for stepping up their derby fashion at the event, with a chance to take one of the Derby Hat Competition’s categories, ranging from the most elegant hat to the most outrageous.

The winners of the “Win, Place and Show” cash raffle will be announced, with prizes of $1,000, $500 and $100 respectively. Raffle tickets are available for $10 each and winners are not required to be present the day of the event. Additional door prizes will be given to some of the event’s lucky attendees.

There will be no shortage of entertainment as musicians from the Athens Symphony provide music throughout the event. Guests will enjoy the sounds of a brass quintet, a woodwind quintet and a string quartet, as well as multi-instrumentalist Joe Causey, a violinist in the Athens Symphony who will be tickling the ivories during the races.

All proceeds from “Music, Julep and Roses: A Kentucky Derby Event” will benefit the Athens Symphony Guild’s scholarship program for students at the University of Georgia’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music. Since its creation in 1992, the guild has offered four to seven scholarships each year to deserving students, who in turn share their gifts with the Athens Symphony.

“Our scholarship recipients play such an important role in the orchestra,” said conductor Albert F. Ligotti. “They bring their talent, musical knowledge and leadership to the group, often serving as section principals.”

Tickets for “Music, Julep and Roses: A Kentucky Derby Event” are $75 each and available for purchase at Aurum Studios, Appointments at Five, Cofer’s Home & Garden Showplace, and Elizabeth Ann Florist, or by mail at Athens Symphony Guild, P.O. Box 726, Athens, GA 30603. Cash raffle tickets are offered at $10 each.

More information on Music, Julep and Roses and the Athens Symphony guild may be found at Athens Symphony Guild or at the symphony’s Facebook page.

About the Athens Symphony Guild

The mission of the Athens Symphony Guild is to promote and support the activities of the Athens Symphony in all appropriate ways, including education, public relations, fund raising and other ways deemed necessary. Since its creation in 1992, the guild has promoted awareness of the Symphony through educational projects and fundraising events, and has sponsored scholarships for four to seven University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music students each year.

About the Athens Symphony

The Athens Symphony was founded in the summer of 1978, when a group of local musicians convened following a survey by the Clarke County Office of Cultural Affairs that determined a strong desire within the community for a symphony orchestra. Early on, it was decided that the orchestra should be a not-for-profit organization, that its members should be unpaid volunteers from Athens and the surrounding communities, and that its concerts should be both free of charge and appealing to general audiences. Al Ligotti was immediately identified as the ideal conductor due to his wealth of musical experience, enthusiasm and high musicianship, and continues to lead the orchestra as it completes its 32nd season.

The non-profit organization operates through the generosity of private donors and the support of its sponsors: Athens Area Health Plan Select; Athens Banner-Herald; Athens First Bank & Trust Company; AT&T; Blasingame, Burch Garrard, Ashley, P.C. Attorneys at Law; Chick Music; The Classic Center; Georgia Power; Jackson Spalding and WGAU 1340 am.

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