Hindi Greenberg: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!’
April 21, 2017
On Sunday, April 2, using the theme of "Mary Poppins, a practically perfect program" was once again presented by InConcert Sierra's Sierra Master Chorale (SMC) in the 7th installment of its annual MusicaliTea, a fundraiser for the SMC. Comprised of music-making, tea-drinking, food-eating, hat-wearing and raffle-buying, a jolly good time was had by all.
The afternoon began in a room decorated by colorful umbrellas, kites, cityscapes and banners — with SMC members, attired in various incarnations of Mary Poppins-style clothing and hats, exuberantly singing a rewritten, personalized version of "Be Our Guest" (from "Beauty and the Beast") to welcome attendees to the event. And what a welcome it was, with almost all of the 80-member chorus either singing, assisting with food preparation or service, or all three. Following that first rousing number and during the course of the afternoon, the chorus joyfully serenaded the sold out house of 218 attendees with many of the songs from "Mary Poppins," delightfully accompanied on piano by SMC's Music Director (who is also InConcert Sierra's Artistic Director) Ken Hardin.
CUPS OF TEA
In between tunes, guests were treated to many cups of tea, accompanied by High Tea fare fit for the Queen herself, served on bone china lent by chorus members. "Supercali" petite sandwiches included curried chicken salad on potato bread, egg salad on whole wheat, and sliced cucumbers, cream cheese and dill on white. The second "fragilistic" course consisted of lovely scones —orange chocolate chip, Meyer lemon with cranberries, and cheddar with rosemary — all served with peach jam, lemon curd and Devonshire cream. The "expialidocious" finale was the sweet treats, including mini chocolate mint cupcakes, blueberry lemon squares, and pine nut with rosemary shortbread cookies. Yum!
At the start of and during the event, guests could purchase raffle tickets for 12 gorgeously decorated baskets filled with items donated by chorus members and local merchants, including restaurant and performance venue gift certificates, gourmet food items, various wines, airplane rides, condo stays, music CDs and assorted other gift items. Several baskets were valued in excess of $500. One lucky winner was awarded a pass for two to Sierra Master Chorale's May concert, including both reserved parking and seating for the concert.
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Most fun and funny was the hat contest, since many guests had designed extravagant and-or outrageous chapeaux, vying to win the best hat prize (the vast majority of guests, including the men, do wear some type of hat). Winners in a number of genres were chosen, including Best Bird Hat (Laura Lerdall); Best Use of a Garden on a Hat (all nine guests at Alice Ruth Mischke's table); Best Children's Hat (handmade by young Adeline Newman); Best Use of the Theme (Edna Brown); Best Use of an Amusement Park Ride (Kim Wellman, with a carousel sitting on her head); Best Use of Zebra Feathers (Morgan Dziad); and Best Actual Mary Poppins Hat (Deanna Batson).
As an indication of what a successful event MusicaliTea has become, there was 100 percent participation in its planning, preparation and execution by the 80-voice choir (generously aided by an additional 11 non-SMC volunteers — yes, it does take a village). Noteworthy was the sponsorship by Pleasant Valley Veterinary Center. And many people were involved in leadership of the event, including the event co-chairs Linda Maloney, Jerry Maloney and Linda Foreman, plus all of the committee chairs- — Kathy Chastain, Connie Croker, Mary Anne Davis, Connie Dorland, Julie Hardin, Ken Hardin, Lynda Jamieson, Kate Laferriere, Amy Mauk, Shirley Porter, Jeanne Palmer and Lynette Smith-James.
While the SMC received many compliments following the event, Phylis Sawvell sent the following note that reflected the spirit of the afternoon: "The MusicaliTea was so nice. We just really enjoyed. This was my first time and I am hoping it won't be my last. I enjoyed so much. The music was so fun to hear and sing along with. Thanks for a great afternoon." So as to not be left out when tickets go on sale in the winter for next year's 8th annual MusicaliTea, mark your calendars for April 8, 2018. It will be a sell-out, the same as the previous seven incarnations. And start decorating your hat — you may be the next winner!
Hindi Greenberg is a local entertainment and theater reviewer for The Union and Prospector.