Springfield Regional Opera Guild’s 18th Annual Hat Luncheon, a fundraiser for Springfield Regional Opera, will take place Saturday Sept.24 from 11:30am to 1:00pm in the Sunset Room at the Tower Club, 901 E. St. Louis Street.
"It's a great event," says Heather Leverich, who is not only an SRO Guild member, but also Executive Director of Springfield's Conservatory of the Ozarks. "It's one of our best fundraisers every year." Neither Heather nor this year's Guild President, Carolyn Hoffman, have been with the organization long enough to remember how the concept of the "Hat Luncheon" fundraiser came about--but they share a strong enthusiasm for both the organization--the fundraising auxiliary for Springfield Regional Opera--and for this particular event.
The Hat Luncheon isn't just an opportunity to wear your favorite (serious or silly) hat--and there will be "best hat" prizes awarded in various categories--but the chance to have a fine luncheon catered by the staff of the Tower Club, hear some fine local singers, and bid on silent-auction items. "That's one of the best parts," Heather Leverich says of the silent auction. "We have all hat-themed gift baskets for the silent auction, which is really fun, as well as other items as well." Guild President Carolyn Hoffman fills in the details: "We have a Kentucky Derby basket, complete with mint-julep glasses and Kentucky bourbon, as well as little mints to make your mint juleps. Also, a Springfield Cardinals basket which will include tickets to a game [and yes, there's a Cardinals cap included]." And there will be a "shower-cap spa day" basket as well as other goodies being auctioned off.
As for entertainment, various voice students from Heather's Conservatory of the Ozarks will perform during a half-hour prelude before lunch, ranging in age from 5 to adult and singing show tunes and art songs. Following lunch SRO Administrative Manager Sean Spyres will present performances by two of SRO's Young Artists: Genevieve Fulks and Rebecca Clayborn. Shelly DiMartini, Conservatory of the Ozarks piano instructor, will be the accompanist. Heather says she tried to make sure her students picked pieces that involve wearing a hat of some kind or other, like a cowboy hat for number from Oklahoma! for example. And you can bet Sean Spyres himself will perform a number or two--though he hasn't said what just yet!
What about the lunch itself? It's a three-course meal provided by the Tower Club staff, featuring either sirloin or lemon chicken.
Tickets are $40 each, and while the event is mostly filled up, they and the Tower Club are allowing for up to ten more patrons to come.
Carolyn Hoffman also ran down some other upcoming events in SRO's 2016-17 season. Saturday October 28 there's the Queen City Masquerade at the Old Glass Place on St. Louis Street, featuring performances by SRO artists--including SRO's own Executive Director, globetrotting opera tenor Michael Spyres, and Metropolitan Opera soprano Jennifer Forni; members of Springfield Ballet; and the Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra. She promises a variety of music, including ballroom dancing.
For ticket information call SRO at 863-1960 or Conservatory of the Ozarks at 592-1756.