Bristol Bits at VJM in Holland
by Cate Murway
Ideas in motion… There’s something wonderful about excelling in an area of endeavor for an important signature event. The planning can be stressful but wonderful and can take place at stratospheric levels.
Education is very much a part of the global information grid and most school budgets are under a severe strain. A fundraiser is often the answer. It generates additional school spirit and increases community awareness.
Villa Joseph Marie in Holland, PA went Irish with an Emerald Isle theme for their yearly Auction. The Irish have a term that plays a prominent role in their culture: craic.
Craic is a Gaelic word, with no exact English translation and the closest you get is “fun.”
Much creativity and forethought went into developing the room full of craic and full of cheer.
The artistically created ambiance medium offered an enormous accent with the décor, almost a caricature, depicting all things Irish. The decorating committee took the theme beyond a vaguely Irish-sounding name and a healthy dose of green in the color scheme, as the school gymnasium extended well afar from just becoming a place with a tap of Guinness and hand painted doors and realistic looking stone.
Entrancing sounds invited the guests into the “Irish-ed” world.
Music has the muscle to transcend time, culture, and language, sometimes highlighting our similarities, sometimes celebrating our differences, as we connect with others.
The almost ethereal quality of the ancient instrument, the harp, conjures up an aura of tranquility and exquisite beauty.
Enter, Bristol resident, harpist Gloria Galante, professor, director and creator of the harp program at WCU College of the Visual and Performing Art, and the evocative tones touched the guests deeply.
Gloria has performed and toured in Puerto Rico with guitarist José Feliciano [born José Montserrate Feliciano García]; a Philly tour with singer, songwriter, and actress Diana Ross; a 3 year on-the-road gig with singer Frank Sinatra, Jr. who carries the essence of his late father’s vocal timbre; and toured with the late soul singer, Luther Vandross.
She enchanted them with its elegance and the lyrical sounds of the Danny Boy ballad, "Women of Ireland", or "Mná na h-Éireann" and a foot tapping collection of traditional Irish jigs and reels that made everyone want to dance.
We’ll never know but I think Turlough O'Carolan himself would have approved.
The very beautiful, magnificently dressed first class Irish dancers commanded the room from the stage, making the distinctive percussive sound with their toes in the rich heritage dancing.
Gloria felt it was a “magical mystical evening filled with lots of blessings. There were little touches everywhere of all the love in the room. Everyone spoke about the school spirit and it was terrific! I hope they got a whole pot of gold.”
The unobtrusive music created an atmosphere of peace and restfulness and enhanced without being overwhelming. Her harp's romantic elegance melodically filled the air and the soaring string sounds quickly fascinated.
“Thank you so much for thinking of me. It was such a great event!”
Sláinte is a drinking toast in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man, literally translating as "health".
The silent and live auctions of treasures featured vacation getaways, autographed celebrity items, sports and entertainment tickets, electronics and more.
“Up Close and Local” could be the perfect phrase used to describe the auction items of highly personal – and often priceless – appeal.
Pristine presentation and attention to detail was obvious.
Bristol Auction auctioneer Raymond “Ray” Snyder is exceptionally quick, agile and smart and he kept the public sale moving along at a fun pace. This is his 4th year at a VJM event and the organizers have grown to depend on his skill and the vibrant professionalism of this auctioneer who can keep the crowd mesmerized while soliciting bids from guests. He is part entertainer, part businessman, part ring master and pure fun, a master at entertaining audiences while getting top dollar for auction items.
He served an apprenticeship to the late David Paul Reday who was the co- proprietor of R & R Auctions at the Mill Street Bristol Auction location and has been auctioneering for at least 15 years.
Ray possesses a quick wit, an ability to “get on with it” and the energy to sell for extended periods at a fast pace.
“Villa Joseph Marie is my favorite. They are a great crew committed to furthering of the school. They have fun while they are asked to contribute.”
Ray commented, “The tremendous work is evident. The decorations and the food is spectacular and the audience is fun!”
He also coaches a baseball and a basketball team and firmly stated that his psychotherapist wife, Laurie is very supportive. “I married up!”
What Irish event is complete without the national flag of Ireland, a tricolour of green, white and orange. Bristol resident and President of the Bristol Ancient Order of Hibernians, Kevin Patrick Loughran, Sr. loaned the AOH flag with its gold spear topper and sturdy base to display on the stage for the Emerald Isle Auction.
After all, their motto is "Friendship, Unity, and Christian Charity."
The gym appeared roomy, with seating in the form of tables and stools and chairs spanning the bulk of the interior, awash with a plethora of delectable dinner menu buffet choices of food and drink.
Tickets were $50.00 per guest, quite the bargain, especially when considering the excellence of the selections offered in the fantastic catered dinner and open wine and beer bar.
The seasoned leadership team didn’t skimp on the provisions, offering a medley of quality choices.
A solid selection, great prices, and “ceoil agus craic,” meaning “music and fun,”
were the basic components for a winning combination affair.
Well-arranged functions is a sure sign of the well-arranged minds.
The organizers healthy reverence, respect and passion for quality are nearly lost phenomena.
They got everything right: good items, a good auctioneer, and a good crowd!
All proceeds will benefit scholarship, curriculum and facilities development funds.
In keeping with the lucky Irish theme, the raffle prize was a pot o' gold —$10,000, to be exact!
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