BBSO to host spring benefit ahead of upcoming concerts

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published March 2, 2016

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BIRMINGHAM — The Birmingham Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra will trade shamrocks for champagne this St. Patrick’s Day during its annual spring benefit.

The second-ever event will be held at downtown Birmingham’s BoConcept, where guests can enjoy drinks, hors d’oeuvres and live music from the Irish band Jean Marie & the Lads.

“It should be ... a wonderful evening,” said Bill Close, president of the BBSO board of directors.

One of the evening’s highlights will be the live and silent auctions, which will feature a collection of items generously donated by businesses in the community, like Hagopian rugs and the Claymore Shop.

“The live auction has really great items in it,” said BBSO Executive Director Sharon Burman. “We’ve got an African safari, a hot air balloon ride, a HandleBar Detroit outing, and we’re putting together a restaurant package with gift certificates from Birmingham restaurants.”

Guests can also bid on a chance to have lunch with the BBSO’s famed Director John Thomas Dodson. The auction will be conducted by celebrity auctioneer Charles Wickens.

Attendants will no doubt enjoy the celebration — especially if they score a winning auction bid — but the real benefit will be for the orchestra, which is celebrating its 41st year. Proceeds from the event will benefit the BBSO’s seasonal concert performances, along with its educational programs for local music students.

“The goal is to raise money for upcoming concerts — we have a concert coming April 6 in West Bloomfield at Planterra and April 8 at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial,” said Burman. “We also hope to have a high school competition this summer. It’s a community cause — it’s our community’s symphony orchestra.”

“It’s expensive to (fund) these performances,” Close added. “But we do it because it expands musical experience, and a lot of times it can bring a new interest to someone who was not terribly aware of classical music. It can just enrich your life, from my point of view. Just the way art can be wonderful and dance can be wonderful, classical music offers its own charms, and we think we present them in spades in some pretty interesting surroundings.”

The annual benefit begins at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $55 per person and $100 for a couple. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (248) 352-2276 or visit www.bbso.org. BoConcept is located at 670 S. Old Woodward Ave. in downtown Birmingham.

People who want to donate to the Birmingham Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra can send contributions to the BBSO at P.O. Box 1925, Birmingham, MI 48012.

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