The Long Bay Symphony wears many hats in the kind of music in its concerts and in its various events and activities all year.
The orchestra will celebrate its silver anniversary with a Mad Hatter Mania dinner and dance benefit at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach.
Coordinating this evening with a group of five other people really has gotten to Joanne Milnors head. The coordinator of this evening answered the phone for this telephone interview last week with the greeting: Hatter house, the hare speaking.
An old-school football fan who still misses the Baltimore Colts team that was moved in 1984 to Indianapolis, Milnor said she will play the March Hare at this party that will include an Alice in Wonderland theme, and other people will take parts such as the Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts, and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. She called involvement with this night just magical for me.
Question | How did this idea for a fundraiser come about? Was it Red Hat Society-inspired?
Answer | No, I sit on the symphonys marketing committee ... and we started talking last year about how we could celebrate the orchestras 25-year anniversary. So we all agreed we needed some kind of gala that was unique. We tossed around a couple of different themes, and Mad Hatter Mania took over the conversation. We thought about how we can develop this theme into something that would be a fun party and still provide the same dinner, dancing and silent auction that other fundraisers have.
Q. | Just how elaborate will this evening get?
A. | We will have the queens croquet, which is in the rose garden. ... Well have the card people; the queen had clubs and spades as her bodyguards. You play with that with flamingos, which are the mallets. ... The wickets are the playing cards. ... Thats just for fun, what I call a diversion activity from the events.
Q. | Just how high a gear will this hat affair go, with the competition in various categories?
A. | Wearing a hat or competing in the hat contest is another aspect, but thats optional; its not required. Some people will probably be voyeurs, who just come and watch the hat people, and some people will create some kind of fancy hat. Well have 10 different categories.
Q. | With the hat-making classes given this month at the Art & Soul gallery in Myrtle Beach, and who know what people might have at home, how wild might that creations get that people will don?
A. | Well have 10 different themes. ... We even have one for This Old Hat. ... At the concert this past weekend, I ran into some people who said, Oh, I dont have a hat. And I said, Do you have an old hat from the 50s, or your mothers hat or whatever? Wear that because thats one of the categories: This Old Hat.
Q. | Might this evening start a new tradition? And how was its date chosen, especially falling the day before the Super Bowl?
A. | Im hoping this is just the first of many annual events. ... Im from Baltimore, where they have a Mad Hatter gala every year. ... We looked at the city calendar ... then the Chamber of Commerces, to avoid any time and to work around another organizations event. ... Also, January is kind of like getting Christmas decorations down, and so on. Its kind of like the doldrums by the end of January, so we thought, lets do something in February that will give everybody a boost.
Q. | How is this kind of event a reminder that the symphony and its value and place in the community go beyond music and concerts?
A. | It shows that we are more than just classical music ... with the education and programs we provide. Weve been out, promoting events ... such as attending newcomer meetings, to remind them we have this orchestra. When I moved here, I came here to play golf and be in the sun. All of a sudden, I found out we have an orchestra, and who would have thought that in a little beach town. And, along with the art museum, Carolina Master Chorale, and all the things at Coastal Carolina University, and Brookgreen Gardens I belong to all of them.
Q. | So what hats are you eager to flash on Saturday, even without your competing for any prizes?
A. | One of the categories is for all green where everything came from nature. ... So part of the evening, I will have an all-green hat, and then Im going to wear a beautiful hat, for the Birds & Bees category, and I would love to wear this one to church, but they would probably ask me to leave.
Q. | What tickles your creativity with this kind of art?
A. | I think its because I dont want to grow up, like the little kid having a dress-up part and serving teas. And the hat making has been really fun, because Ive collected all these things for recycled hat, making flowers out of egg cartons. ... Its like Ill look at something, and think, Oh, that could be a flower.
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.