2013 Medley at the Historic Oaks Cloister in the Wissahickon Raises Over $31,000 for Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia

IMG_4972-2410946210-O(Philadelphia) Supporters of Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia contributed more than $31,000 to the historic community chorus as part of the Medley, the organization’s annual fundraiser.  Nearly 150 supporters of the beloved cultural institution gathered to listen to choral selections, enjoy exquisite hors d’oeuvres courtesy of Chef Amy Lutz and bid on an array of exciting auction items. Among the many fine items purchased in the silent auction were a weekend at beach residence  in Brigantine, NJ, two Cunningham pianos, Philadelphia Phillies tickets along with a baseball signed by Phillies pitcher Jesse Biddle, original artworks by Charles Kalick and Rebecca Thornburgh, and a portrait sitting with Paul DuSold.
The Honorary Chair for this year’s Mendelssohn Medley was Maestro Rossen Milanov, who serves as the Music Director of both the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony in C in Camden.  Charlotte Sibley chaired the Medley Committee for 2013. Ms.  Sibley is a former  Senior Vice President at Shire PLC, a leading specialty biopharmaceutical company.
It’s fitting that the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia held its annual Mendelssohn Medley fundraiser at a landmark as historic as the Oaks Cloister nestled in the Wissahickon Woods.  Mendelssohn Club had been presenting choral concerts throughout the city for four decades when the magnificent residence was built in 1900.  The Oaks Cloister is an elegant Tudor estate located on a hill overlooking the greenery of Fairmount Park. Since it was built over 112 years ago, it has been considered one of the most magnificent private residences anywhere in Philadelphia. Every detail was conceived by Joseph Miller Huston, who designed Pennsylvania’s State Capitol building, The venerable landmark was abandoned and threatened with demolition when Dr. Russell Harris and Mr. John Casavecchia bought it in 2002. The new owners spared no expense in restoring the home to its former glory.
Every room is rich in architectural and design details.  Visitors to this year’s Mendelssohn Medley at the Oaks Cloister will be able to enjoy the home’s original leaded stained glass windows,  its murals by Violet Oakley. the Mercer tiles, a plaster and gold leaf ceiling, numerous European fireplaces, a panel carved by sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder, a mini-grotto with a Carrara marble statue sculpted by George Grey Barnard and the mansion’s large enclosed cloister.
“We’re very grateful to Russell and John for opening their home to us,” said Mendelssohn Club Board President Ellie Elkinton.  “Everyone in the chorus and our many friends across the city were delighted to be able to gather at the Oaks Cloister this year.  Between the beauty of the home and the generosity of our supporters, this year’s Medley proved to be one of our most successful fundraising events.”
2013 Mendelssohn Medley photos
The Oaks Cloister
The Oaks Cloister is one of the most magnificent private residences in Philadelphia. Designed in 1900 by Joseph Miller Huston, the architect of the Pennsylvania State Capitol, this elegant Tudor estate stands on a hill overlooking the greenery of Fairmount Park. Superbly restored under its current owners, Dr. Russell Harris and Mr. John Casavecchia, the Oaks Cloister has the distinction of achieving historical certification as one of Pennsylvania’s treasured landmarks.
Honorary Chair Rossen Milanov
Rossen Milanov serves as the Music Director of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, as well as the nationally recognized Symphony in C in Camden. He is the newly appointed Principal Conductor of Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Spain.  Respected and admired by audiences and musicians alike, Maestro Milanov has established himself as a conductor with a considerable international presence. During his eleven-year tenure with The Philadelphia Orchestra he conducted more then 200 performances with that great orchestra, both as Associate Conductor and Artistic Director of the Orchestra’s summer home at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts.  An artist with distinct personal style, his performances are characterized by sharp musical intellect, artistic ingenuity, freedom and coherence.
Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
For the past 140 years, Mendelssohn Club Chorus has been devoted to sharing great choral music as a way to connect artists, audiences and communities.  Mendelssohn Club, one of America’s oldest choruses, continues to expand its repertoire in the 21st century by collaborating with a wide range of musical organizations, each of which is devoted to representing, or reaching out to, new audiences in innovative ways. Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia performs choral music to create a shared transcendent experience among its singers and audiences. Through the excellence of its adventurous performances, Mendelssohn Club advances the development of choral music as an art form.
“Few organizations have so strategically embraced innovation and collaboration.” explains Tom Kaiden of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, “Mendelssohn Club constantly finds new ways to bring the audience into the experience. It’s why they are one of the most exciting choruses in America today.”
For information about Mendelssohn Club’s concerts and programs, or to order tickets for the 2013-2014 season, visit www.mcchorus.org. You can also find Mendelssohn Club on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mcchorus.