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Rhapsody in Rochester Celebrates Success of New Gershwin CD with July 7 Gala Fundraiser

June 14, 2007

An evening of music, dining and dancing harkens back to the 1920s era

Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is waxing “rhapsodic” about the success of its newly released Gershwin CD on the harmonia mundi usa label with Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik and Van Cliburn Award-winning pianist Jon Nakamatsu.  To celebrate the release of this disc, which has garnered numerous national rave reviews – including rising to number 13 today from number 21 in its Billboard debut last week – the RPO will be holding a “Rhapsody in Rochester” gala fundraiser on Saturday, July 7 from 5:30 p.m. to midnight at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center with quite the variety of stars.

The gala opens at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception, silent auction preview and Gap Mangione performing on the Steinway Gershwin “Rhapsody” piano created by master craftsman Frank Pollaro to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Gershwin's birth. The piano is dyed in brilliant blue and more than 400 mother-of-pearl stars have been hand-cut into the piano and inlaid in random fashion. The inside plate is gilded in silver to give the impression that the piano is emanating light when it is opened.  (Photos are available). 

A dinner and dessert follows, with the RPO and Jon Nakamatsu performing Rhapsody in Blue from the CD and the orchestra alone in Girl Crazy.  Jeff Tyzik puts on his auctioneer hat for a live auction to include such priceless items as a private timpani lesson by RPO Music Director Christopher Seaman, three hours of recording studio time with producer and engineer (donated by Jay Advertising) and a home-cooked dinner for six by Jeff Tyzik in his own home.  After the auction, it’s time for swing and jazz vocalist Robin McKelle to join the RPO for more entertainment and dancing to the orchestra.  For those late-nighters, dancing continues with the Gap Mangione Group playing until midnight.  In keeping with the 1920s Gershwin-era theme, gala guests also will enjoy displays of a 1929 Packard, vintage radios, short silent movies, music by a cabaret singer and the popular Smugtown Stompers.  The fundraiser benefits the RPO’s music education and outreach programs.

Tickets for this event range from $75 for the concert, dancing and dessert to $2500 for a corporate table for 10. Tickets can be purchased at RPO Box Office (585) 454-2100 or online at www.rpo.org.  This event is sponsored by Fiandach & Fiandach, URMC/Strong Health and the Sentry Group, with additional support by St. Vincent’s Press.  Honorary Chairs are Alfred L. Davis and Brunhilde Knapp, and Mrs. Dawn and Dr. Jacques Lipson.

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