So what if the a capella sing-a-long of "Auld Lang Syne" wasn't in perfect tune? Taking charge of the traditional New Year's Eve song were Ars Lyrica artistic director and local harpsichord rock star Matthew Dirst with the help of sopranos Melissa Givens and Blair Doerge. Together, they cued in a costumed throng of 350 classical music buffs dressed to the nines in Venetian masquerade attire to croon their best wishes for 2014.
What was worthy of two thunderous standing ovations was the Grammy-nominated ensemble's "Venetian Carnival" New Year's Eve concert, a ninth annual tradition at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts that's always followed by a party of superior taste. Champagne?
Hits from masters such as Vivaldi and Monteverdi performed by a talented roster that included Baroque flutist Colin St. Martin and virtuoso guitarist Richard Savino were just the beginning. When guests ascended to the Grand Lobby, they were welcomed by ribbon dancers from Dance of Asian America and more Ars Lyrica musicians who created an ambiance fitting for the City of Masks.
Bubbly flowed and nibbles from Artista Restaurant kept coming out as guests pored over the silent auction. Items such as jewelry, luxury services and vacations tallied more than $10,000 for Ars Lyrica's historically-informed audience.
Seen on the scene were board president Dr. Eugene McKelvey and wife Florence, Robin Angly and Miles Smith, Jeanie Flowers, Eleanor and Richard Viebig, Dorry and Carroll Shaddock, Joyce and David Fox, Nancy and Mark Wozny, Elizabeth Sosa Bailey, Dean Dalton, David Lake, Sixto Wagan, Ellen and Chris Patton, Kathryn and Brendan Godfrey, Dawn and Richard Armstrong, and Jano and John Kelley.