2005-09-16 / Columnists

Notes from the High C’s

Rockaway Music and Arts Council
by Sharon Gabriel

Our 50th Anniversary Gala, was held Saturday evening at the Brooklyn Museum, and it turned out to be even more than we could have wished for.

As you entered the Beaux Arts Court, you were overwhelmed by the grandeur of the room. In the round, and surrounded on all walls by magnificent art, the room was decorated in black and white with a huge chandelier suspended from the middle of the ceiling. The effect was breathtaking.

The evening started with waiter-served hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. The gifts for a silent auction were displayed at one end of the room with bid sheets attached and each of the fifty gift packages were spoken for at the end of the evening.

Catered by the Lawrence Country Club and Continental Caterers, the dinner buffet consisted of salmon with dill sauce, sliced steak, chicken with mango chutney, pasta, thin-sliced vegetables and potatoes, and salad at each table setting. At the end, dessert consisted of all sorts of cakes, ice cream, fresh fruits, chocolate, strawberry mousse and other items.

Our guests of honor, Helen Bartwink and Barbara Eisenstadt, were presented with special plaques for their years and accomplishments in working for the Rockaway Music & Arts Council. Special acknowledgements were given by Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, City Councilman Joseph Addabbo and our local Democratic District Leader, Geraldine Chapey. Letters acknowledging the two honorees, and printed in our Dinner Journal, were received from President Bush, Senator Schumer, Congressman Weiner, Governor Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg and Borough President Helen Marshall, among others.

A special acknowledgement must be made for our Dinner Co-Chairwomen, Arlene Cornell and Bernice Meyers, who did a fabulous job in organizing the evening. At times when we thought, “how will this ever be done,” they did it. Kudos to two great ladies. Thank you also to John Musumeci for coordinating all the music.

There was dancing under the chandelier rather than “under the stars,” and to the “Fred and Ginger” of Rockaway, John Gilleece and Norma Allende, you were fun to watch on the dance floor.

As we all left at the end of the evening, with sore feet and arms filled with gifts, we all had to admit it was fun. Now, it’s onward and upward for our next fifty years.

Now to this weekend, our Fall Festival on Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and 18. I really think we’re crazy to have planned two large events in two weeks, but I have no doubt we will get through it.

This year we are having more vendors than usual, from last I heard, over seventy, including a new vendor who makes fabric handbags. I happened to see one of the bags and they are beautiful, perfect for a holiday gift. There will be all types of art, from watercolors to photography, woodcrafts to 3-D art, stained glass and metal sculpture. Vendors will also be selling soups, dips, jams and jellies, hot sauces and spices, and that’s not even in the food court. The Shore Garden Club will be raffling off a special quilt, so be sure to stop at their tent and buy some raffles.

Should you become hungry during the day, please stop at the food court. There will be something to eat for every palate. From the Beach Club to the Spiral Potato Man, to some new food adventures. Sit for a while, enjoy your food and rest your feet and then continue on to see exhibits by the Nature Conservancy, The Riverheard Foundation, our own Rockaway Museum, the Chamber of Commerce and others, including, I believe, the ASPCA who will be here in place of the North Shore Animal League, who I am told had to go down south to take care of animals abandoned by Hurricane Katrina.

Our usual children’s events, including pony rides and a petting zoo can be found at the west end of the grounds. And, of course, Ronald McDonald will greet everyone on Sunday between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

In speaking about Hurricane Katrina, we will be taking contributions to help those less fortunate in the South. Speak to our representatives under our large tent in the middle of the grounds.

We must give to this cause because, if you think about it, we could be in the same boat, so to speak, with Rockaway surrounded by water on three sides. It’s not even something I want to think about.

As you may know, for the past several years the RMAC has participated in the Simon Evening of Giving at Roosevelt Field. This event will take place on Sunday evening, November 20 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., when the shops at the mall will be open only to those who want to participate. The cost is $10 per person and you can shop, be entertained and have a chance at raffles, and get great buys all at the same time, while helping to support the RMAC and the Simon Youth Foundation.

The date of the event, November 20, is just before the Thanksgiving weekend and that awful Friday when the stores are wall to wall with people. So, for just $10 you have your own private shopping mall with no pushing and shoving. It’s worth it. Tickets can be purchased at our RMAC tent at the festival.

We look forward to seeing you this weekend. I’m always at the pony rides so please stop by and say hello.

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