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Designers at 2008 RPO Showhouse Prepare for Opening on May 16 at Historic Ellwanger Mansion

April 30, 2008

More than one dozen special events planned in addition to house tours

Rochester, NY – Calling all HGTV addicts.  Home decorators, do-it-yourself-ers, design fanatics and fans of historic Rochester architecture have a great excuse to put down their television remotes.  From Friday, May 16 to Sunday, June 8, the historic 1839 Ellwanger Estate at 625 Mount Hope Avenue will be the place for the area’s greatest home makeover, transformed by no less than 35 leading interior designers, artists, and craftsmen from across the region as part of the fifth biennial Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Showhouse.

The month-long fundraising event – supporting the Orchestra’s varied music education programs – opens with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, May 16 at 10:00 a.m. with special guests, RPO Music Director Christopher Seaman and WHAM radio’s morning host Beth Adams.  From a bride’s room to a birdhouse, bedrooms and bathrooms, multiple porches, a kitchen and other living areas, each one of 36 rooms and spaces is being lovingly and carefully renovated and completely made-over to reflect the personality and taste of the individual designer or design studio.  Oak paneling, staircases, and columns accent the 10 bedroom, 10 bath home, complemented by an original Hook & Hastings pipe organ constructed in 1878. 

The Showhouse will be open to the public for tours Wednesdays-Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; private tours are available on Mondays and Tuesdays.  RPO Showhouse tickets are available at www.rposhowhouse.org.  Ticket prices are as follows: adults/$15 in advance, $18 at the door; children 12 and under/$12 in advance, $15 at the door.  Babes in arms are free.  Tickets also are available at area Wegmans and at Rochester-area AAA branches.

In addition to house tours, more than a dozen special events will be available, listed at the end of this release.  Tickets for all special events are available only at the RPO Box Office (108 East Avenue) or by phone, 454-2100.  Preferred Care and Mrs. Dawn and Dr. Jacques Lipson are the presenting Showhouse sponsors.  Free parking is available at 1 Mt. Hope Avenue, next door to Time Warner, with a free, continuous shuttle available. 

Surrounding the house is a beautiful garden – which will be available for outdoor enjoyment during Showhouse – and a decorative wall designed by Fletcher Steele.  The original 4,000-square foot Carriage House still stands on the property; actual horse stalls will be refurbished and featured as part of Noteworthy’s Symphony Showhouse Boutique, specializing in sales of unique glass, art and many handcrafted, one-of-a-kind items.

The Ellwanger Mansion is a significant piece of Rochester history.  In 1835, George Ellwanger came to Rochester with interests in developing a horticulture business.  The result was the Ellwanger & Barry Nursery specializing in flowers and fruit, becoming in the 1880s the largest of its kind in the world at the time. It inspired the Rochester moniker “Flower City,” replacing the earlier, more industrial-focused “Flour City.” Ellwanger’s granddaughter Helen was an early preservationist who helped to establish The Landmark Society of Western New York in the 1930s.  Upon her death in 1982, Helen willed the house and garden to The Landmark Society which maintains The Ellwanger Garden and opens it to the public several times a year. 

Celebrating its 85th season in 2007-08, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music.  The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community.  The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award and two recent ASCAP awards for adventurous programming. 


RPO Showhouse Special Events
(for specific event details visit www.rposhowhouse.org)

 Saturday, May 17, 6 p.m., Music & Clues Night: Ragtime Capers with the RPO Marimba Band

 Sunday, May 18, 6 p.m., Chef’s Orchestrations: tastings by Blue Cactus Mexican Grille

 Monday, May 19, 6 p.m., Chef’s Orchestrations: tastings by Pane Vino

 Tuesday, May 20, 2 – 5:30 p.m., Tea & Lilacs

 Sunday, May 25, 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Culinary Concerto Brunch & Cookbook Signing

 Tuesday, May 27, 2 – 5:30 p.m., Tea with Mr. Ellwanger and Mr. Barry

 Wednesday, May 28, 5:30 – 9 p.m., Music  & Clues Night: No Strings Attached with Kate Lee

 Thursday, May 29, 6 p.m., Chef’s Orchestrations: tastings by Wegmans Great Grilling

 Sunday, June 1, 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Culinary Concerto Brunch & Cookbook Signing

 Monday, June 2, 6 p.m., Chef’s Orchestrations: tastings by Lento

 Tuesday, June 3, 2-5:30 p.m., Tea: Timeless Arts & Crafts

 Thursday, June 5, 6 p.m., Blues & Clues: RPO Jazz Ensemble

 Sunday, June 8, 6 p.m., Chef’s Orchestrations: Jasmine’s Asian Fusion


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