Thursday, May 5, 2011

singers on the verge

Taking another break from beloved weddings (as much as I love them) and talking a little about one of my favorite work events so far -- Singers on the Verge.  I would definitely say that all my hard work leading up to the event, the late night in the office the night before printing off signs and running through all the details, definitely paid off.

When you're doing an event at a location as beautiful as Camino de Robles (the private home of Madeleine and Edward Landry), it's hard to go wrong.  I felt so blessed to have the opportunity to go to their home nestled in the Simi Valley mountains, let alone coordinate an event for some of our major donors and friends there.

On top of the amazing view, the weather was a perfect start to what would be a very successful evening.  Because the house itself was gorgeous, as was the surrounding landscape, there was really no need for me to bring any additional floral decor (a good tip to keep in mind if you're looking to save money on an event -- pick a location with decor already built into, such as a garden).  That being said, set-up was a breeze (no pun intended).  We put up a few signs directing people where to park, thanking the Landry's for donating the wine, champagne, and sparkling water, set-up the check-in table and I was ready to go.

The delicious food was catered by Absolutely Gourmet Catering, owned by Brion Clarkson.  Thankfully they have catered many events at the Landry home, so it's no surprise that everything went so smoothly.  All of the staff acted so professionally and delivered gourmet tasting food at a great price.  She designed a menu that was casual, yet elegant in presentation, the perfect combination for our event because it allowed our guests to truly feel at home and comfortable.  Guests got to enjoy sliders with chipotle aioli sauce, sweet potato fries, a cheese platter with bake brie, crudites, chinese chicken salad in to-go containers, mini cupcakes, and assorted dessert bars.  This event reminded me how refreshing it is to work with vendors that I can trust 100% to deliver without feeling like I have to do everything myself (not that I don't check every detail) but all I have to do is literally check.  I would definitely recommend Brion to any of my clients in a heartbeat. 

After about an hour of eating, drinking, talking, laughing, the guests moved into the foyer entrance where 10 of the best students from the USC Thornton Opera Program performed a program of opera and musical theatre pieces including "O mio babbino caro" from Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini, "Flower Duet" from Lakme by Leo Delibes, "Quintet" from West Side Story, and an emotional close from the entire company with "Make Our Garden Grow" from Candide.  The acoustics in the house allowed for a low production performance -- no mics or speakers necessary.  The sounds of their amazing voices echoed throughout the house and were a great reflection of the talent that resides in the students that attend the USC Thornton School of Music.  Definitely made me proud to be working to support these young musicians.

The performance ended just in time to grab some dessert and enjoy the sunset overlooking Simi Valley -- a perfect end to a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Maybe it was the beautiful day, maybe it was the amazing view, maybe it was all the hours of preparation.  Maybe it was my attitude towards the event.  Seeing the smiles on people's faces, their pride in being a part of something bigger than just themselves, and to know that I was successful in creating an atmosphere of peace where people could fully enjoy themselves -- that brought me the greatest joy.

It was a great reminder for me -- that I'm not just doing an event for the sake of getting it done, or because it's my job.  But I'm planning events that are purposeful, that create change, for both myself and the people I'm serving -- donors, brides, or friends.

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