Library group to host third annual Wine, Wit and Wisdom event

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published February 16, 2016

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ROCHESTER — Wine, wit and wisdom will once again be offered in exchange for library support during an annual fundraiser hosted by the Friends of the Rochester Hills Public Library 7-10 p.m. March 12 at the Library.

The Wine, Wit and Wisdom fundraiser offers attendees the choice to attend two of six breakout sessions relating to the world of the arts, dining and business.

Over the past few years, Friends member John Smyntek said, the fundraiser has grown to become a robust event.

“This is the third year, and we are hopeful of having the same sustained success. The first year we had about 90 people. Last year we doubled that, and we’d certainly like to break the 200 mark this year and get closer to 300,” Smyntek said. “To get an event started and keep it rolling requires a lot of dedication, and we are fortunate to have people in the Friends who do that and take pride in making these events work for the library and everybody in attendance.”

RHPL Director Christine Lind Hage said the program is patterned after the popular TED Talks, a global set of conferences owned by the private nonprofit Sapling Foundation with the slogan “ideas worth spreading.” During the event, six guest speakers will touch on a variety of topics. Upon registration, guests may select the two speakers of their choice.

“It’s a fun night. It’s really interesting. We have great speakers, and they touch on eclectic topics,” Hage said.

Harlan Neuville, a retired Delco Electronics engineer who worked on NASA projects, will discuss his experiences in the mission control room managing the Apollo’s navigation and guidance systems. Library officials said Neuville will share insider stories of the Apollo missions and the intensity it took to overcome their many challenges.

Attendees will learn how to make craft beer from Chuck Osberger, of Frankenmuth Brewery, or hear how slaves used spirituals to convey secret messages as they sought their way to freedom from Jackson Chorale Director Dr. Gilbert Jackson.

Smyntek, who spent 38 years with the Detroit Free Press, will share his experience with the glory days of the newspaper industry and insight into what he sees as its somewhat cloudy future.

Chef Lynn Miller — author, cooking show host and executive chef for MexAmerica Foods — will discuss her ideas and recipes on appetizers and share tips for hosting a memorable event. Pat McKay, supervisor of interpretive services at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm, will use archival material from the museum to show how the community rose to meet global challenges.

There will also be a silent auction during the event, allowing guests to bid on items including a week at a resort condo in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico; a gourmet dinner for eight prepared by Hage; as well as other services and entertainment opportunities.

“I put a gourmet dinner in the auction every year. I have a full menu, and people get to pick an appetizer, a soup, a salad, an entree and a dessert, and I serve it at their house,” Hage said. “I can cook anything in ‘Bon Appetit.’ My menu is pretty extensive. I have been doing one charity dinner a year for about 15 years.”

Tickets cost $50 per person, or $60 after March 1, and include a strolling dinner, beer, wine and soft drinks. All proceeds from the event will support library programs and initiatives.

“We use that money to pay for all speakers that we have at the library, entertainers, Sunday concerts. ... It also pays for the newsletter that we send out to every household four times a year, and it pays for the extras that we might not be able to have without their support,” Hage said.

To register, visit Ticket order forms are also available at the rack near the library’s information counter and can be printed from the library’s website. Completed forms and checks can be dropped off at the information counter or mailed to the library, 500 Olde Towne Road, Rochester, MI 48307. Guests will receive their session schedules when they check in at the event.

For more information, call the library at (248) 650-7176.