March 24

posted Apr 5, 2015, 3:19 PM by Amherst Club
President Roger Webb called the meeting of the Amherst Club to order at noon on Tuesday, March 24th, 2015. He reminded us that there will be no lunch meeting next Tuesday 31st, since it is the fifth week of the month.

Today we are having no speaker, so that the membership can discuss and evaluate the completely new Spring to Life Cabaret fundraiser we just had, and plan for next year.  A summary of the discussion follows these notes.  Organizers Barbara Freed, Jacqui Price and Therese Brady Donohue thanked everyone who contributed to the Cabaret’s success this year. A quarter-page thank-you advertisement is appearing in the Daily Hampshire Gazette and Amherst Bulletin.

Roger announced that the Amherst Club will co-sponsor a Youth Award for Community Service with the Boys and Girls Club. One scholarship of $700 will be awarded to a high school student, and one of $200 to a middle school student. Each winner will also be given $50 to donate to a charity of their choice.

Snapshot: Honore David brought us back to a street in New Delhi, India, some years ago when her husband Don was a visiting professor there. The streets were crowded with all kind of traffic, human and animal as well as motorized! On the national holiday, Republic Day, when there is a huge military procession through the city center, she and Don were brought by their hostess, the widow of an important general, to the reviewing stand where Honore found herself sitting four seats away from British Prime Minister John Majors. After a great procession, they took a taxi home – but it ran out of gas after a mile, whereat their hostess hopped out and hitch-hiked a ride for them all with the naval attache from the Italian embassy!

Announcements:

A push is on nationally to replace the image of Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with a woman. Vote for your favorite woman at www.womenon20s.org!

 On Friday, March 27th, the Amherst Senior Center is running a bus trip to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall in Boston. The bus will pick up in Amherst at 8 a.m., in Northampton at 8:45 a.m. and from Holyoke at 9:15 a.m. $120 (motor coach, concert) The concert featuring Mahler and Gandolfi will be conducted by the new BSO Conductor Andris Nelsons with Olivier Latry on the organ. For more information call Nancy Pagano at 413- 259-3114

Ellen Kosmer announced that the Fiddlers Green Contra Dancers will be performing on Saturday, March 28th at the Munson Memorial Library in South Amherst at 7:30. The group has provided some tickets for Club members to attend, because the event is supported by the Amherst Arts Council. Contact Ellen if you are interested for this or future dates.

Raffle:  Andrea Battle won the wine.  Barbara Freed won the $10.


Spring to Life Cabaret 2015

Summary: The members generally chose to repeat this year’s fundraiser next year, maintaining the same price point of $75 and offering a mainly stationary sit-down meal. .

Finances: Roger announced returns from the fundraiser. There were higher expenses than previously for Love Notes, especially regarding food, music and the development of the handsome poster and very effective postcards. All these numbers are approximate. The total income was $23,000. Ticket sales brought in $12,000. Donations brought in $3,000. Sponsors brought in $6,000. The Silent Auction brought in $2,000. The Lottery Tree brought in $165. Expenses totaled $13,000. Food cost $5,000. Music cost $3,000. The room was a modest $500.  The amount available for distribution to our charities is just under $10,000. We have announced a distribution of $11,700, and the $1,700 difference will be made up by money in our savings account.

Food: Everyone agreed that the dinner and hors d’oeuvres were excellent. They were provided by Seth Mias Catering, and everyone agreed that he should be hired next year. The hors d’oeuvres were passed at the tables at the start of the evening, and some people felt that they were over too quickly. The dinner was a buffet, and was successful with many delicious dishes. However, people would have liked to have had a menu at each place.  People would also have liked to have had a sense of timing throughout the evening, with the MC announcing where we were in the proceedings.  The organization of people by table to go up to the buffet was haphazard and soon broke down, with people going at random to the buffet.  Again, the MC should have indicated clearly when each table should go up for food.  Desserts were provided by member Tina Berins, and were delicious, with yummy tiny treats of all kinds – maybe more chocolate please Tina?

The evaluation had asked people if they would prefer tapas to the dinner buffet, but most people felt that since so many members have mobility issues it is much easier for them to have the dinner buffet with limited standing and walking.

Bar: There were not enough servers for the number of guests. Long lines prevailed throughout the evening. A large number of people wanted to buy bottles of wine for their tables and found out that they could not, contrary to what they expected.

Music: We were fortunate to have musicians of such caliber as Charles Neville, the Green Street Trio, and the wonderful Gypsy Wranglers. On entering the hall at the start of the event the joyful rhythms of the Gypsy Wranglers, enhanced by the limber dancing of Elsie Fetterman and other members, established a great lively buzz. This upbeat feeling contributed greatly to the happy atmosphere.  More dance music by the Wranglers would have helped to keep the spirits up later in the evening. During dinner, some people would like quieter music, such as a pianist, to facilitate conversation.

Silent Auction and Lottery Tree:  The Silent Auction was excellent. Therese Brady Donohue and her helpers did a great job. There were a large number of gift certificates for local businesses and services, together with donated art objets from members. Unfortunately, the MC did not encourage people to patronize the auction or the Tree throughout the evening. A lively humorous discussion by a practiced auctioneer could have really boosted interest in the articles for sale. The Lottery Tree suffered from being new. Paul Bacon gave it a great push, but unless you understood what such a tree is – and that you were buying a ticket to win the entire tree – you would not be likely to support it. Still, it made money – and will certainly do better next year!  

Hall: The hall was pleasant, however the coat check became over-crowded, with the checker having difficulty locating some coats finally. Also, for those with mobility issues, a subsidiary rack near the entrance would be a great convenience.

Other Issues:  Moving the date to April was suggested, and trying to avoid clashing with Arcadia Players and other notable events. Possibly shortening the evening to 6:30-10 or 6-9 was suggested. Craftspeople could be solicited for gift donations.

Your scribe,                                                                                                                                                  
Linda Honan
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