Gala event supports young singers

Minnesingers Annie Finnerty, Michael Gately, Jonah Lipsky, Becky Williams, and Katrina Nevin. Photo by Susan Safford
Minnesingers (from left) Annie Finnerty, Michael Gately (playing the piano), Jonah Lipsky, Becky Williams, and Katrina Nevin relax around the piano during dinner. Photo by Susan Safford

By Tony Omer - February 2, 2006

Of the Island's many treasures, there is one in particular that cannot be called unsung, The Martha's Vineyard Regional High School's Minnesingers (with the writer's apologies). This year's group of 30 high school singers are planning their semi-annual trip abroad this coming April. They are going to Ireland both to visit and to perform. The trip is funded in part by the proceeds from a December concert and a spring concert, in part by the students, and in part by the fund-raising efforts of their support group of parents of both current and former singers. Their main effort, the Annual Auction and Mini-Concert Dinner Buffet, was held Sunday at the Edgartown Harbor View Hotel.

There was a large silent auction with items donated by local stores and artisans before dinner and a live auction featuring more than 40 items was held when dinner was done.

The many Minnesingers fans attending enjoyed a short concert by the group before dinner was served. The young singers performed "O Vos Omnes" and "A Child Is Born."
The buffet dinner was prepared by Harbor View sous chef Matt Safranek. The salmon with rice pilaf, green beans with slivers of almonds, and roast beef and garlic potatoes were a delight. The desserts were varied and mouth-watering, in particular the vat of warm chocolate with mini-croissants and strawberries for dipping.

Minnesinger Michael Gately played piano during the dinner. His rendition of a variety of Beatles songs was particularly well done.

After dinner, auctioneer Kevin Ryan, father of a Minnesinger graduate Jonathon who is now singing on stage at Emerson College, auctioned off more than 40 items, including original art by John Wightman, Marjorie Mason, Barney Zeitz, Nancy Blank, Ellen Bang-Birge, and Steve Mills. Other items included vacation getaways to Florida and New Hampshire, jewelry, a suede-knitted shawl, pottery, an America's Cup sailboat model, an autographed Ray Ellis book, and a whole lot more. A tenor of some renown, Mr. Ryan kept the auction spirited and never had to resort to threatening the group with a song of his own.

Kate Desrosiers, co-chair of the event along with Karen Lobdell, thanked the community that donated so many items for the auction and in particular the Harbor View for its help. Ms. Desrosiers said that considering the economy the benefit was a success.

The spring show will be Saturday, May 6, at 8 pm and Sunday, May 7, at 4 pm at the high school's Performing Arts Center. Put it on your calendar.