Last night the company with which I started my G&S "career" had its first-ever gala fundraiser - silent auction, donated G&S-themed baskets for raffling, live auction, and of course, MUSIC! All of this at the theater where the company performs, which has a nice-looking lobby and recently rehabbed theater seating.
We started with an hour of G&S selections, chosen by audience members who returned polls included in the programs of the last show or two the company did. That music was fairly informal - soloists and ensemble members standing near the piano, sometimes with a score, singing selections grouped by opera (a "Princess Ida" set, a "Mikado" set, and so on). This while the patrons came in and collected their packets (program for the evening, items for the live auction, auction number), examined the gift baskets and silent auction items, and enjoyed the hors d'oeuvres and beverages.
After an hour or so, things moved into the theater for more G&S selections - the audience's top 12 or 15 choices. These were semi-staged, with either orchestra or piano, and performed with the singers in evening wear and the occasional prop (character hats, the occasional "weapon", etc.). As the announcer commented after When a Felon's Not Engaged in His Employment, "I like the idea of a police force in tuxes!"
People then returned to the lobby to collect their silent auction items (I was lucky enough to be the only bidder on a lovely dichroic-glass hair barrette - bright & sparkly, just my kinda thing!), witness the drawing for the various baskets, and attend the live auction. I didn't stay for the latter, but it seemed to be going well.
The event drew what seemed to be a good crowd, though it was hard to tell, given that it's a relatively small lobby, the tables for the auction & raffle items took up a fair bit of space, and there were a LOT of performers in the lobby along w/ the patrons. However, I heard the company sold at least 70 or 80 tickets (we needed to sell at least 60 or 65 to cover expenses) and of course everything raffled or auctioned was donated. I think even some of the food and drinks were donations. I'm expecting that means the company did well enough to put us comfortably in the black, instead of hovering on the verge of operating in the red. I fully expect this will become an annual event and now that we've done one, the next one will be a little easier.
I chatted briefly with one patron who, with his wife, had attended every performance since learning about the company from a friend 3 years ago. He told me they had enjoyed everything they'd seen and were looking forward to the next season.
Dress code for those of us working or performing was tuxes for the men and cocktail dresses for the ladies. I have a gorgeous beaded dress that might have worked, but I've, um, "outgrown" it, so I had to go shopping. Precious few cocktail dresses out there - mostly I found ballgowns, prom dresses and "mother of the bride" dresses, and lots and lots of black! I wanted non-black - after all, I wasn't going to a funeral, and pace the "basic black" dictum - but about the only other alternative was dark brown, which makes me look like death wouldn't have me. I ended up with a pair of plain black trousers in a sparkly knit (no pockets and much too long, but very comfortable) and a tank top w/ matching jacket, both of which had an all-over pattern in silver glitter. I dug out lots of big, flashy rhinestone jewelry to wear with them, including a funny headpiece of loops of rhinestones which I pinned on top of a bun. I even painted my toenails silver w/glitter to go w/ the silver sandals I wore. If I couldn't have color, I was gonna have LOTS of sparkle! :D
Several of my friends in the company teased me about all the flash or commented on the jewelry. I even had a couple of patrons come up to me and comment on the end result. The lady and I had a brief but pleasant chat about "basic black" versus color, but the funniest was the older gentleman who came up to me and said "You look tremendous!", then turned and walked away again.