During a history stretching back more than 60 years, the Symphony Guild has helped promote the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and build community interest in symphonic music. Popular programs have included a Musical Petting Zoo, where children get a hands-on introduction to the instruments of the orchestra at local libraries, ImaginOn and preschools. “It really sparks an interest in young kids, and it gets their parents involved too,” says Lisa Phillips, the guild’s president-elect. The guild also helps send members of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra to a week-long, nationally recognized resident music camp, and supports the Symphony’s Lollipops concerts for children. So this month, members are continuing their rich tradition with the nonprofit group’s 13th annual fashion show. Proceeds go to the Symphony, its youth programs and educational activities. In addition to an elegant night of models showcasing fashions from two SouthPark-area retailers, the event will also feature a silent auction, raffle, musical performances and an award ceremony honoring a volunteer who has made significant contributions to the Charlotte arts community, says Jeanette Alvarado, the guild committee chair for the fashion show. The Symphony Guild, formerly the Charlotte Symphony Women's Association, was created in 1950. Today the guild has nearly 200 members, and through its fundraisers has given more than $4 million to the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. The fashion show is an important part of the guild’s fundraising efforts, says Alvarado. The event, which will be held at The Atrium at Two Wachovia Center in Uptown, gets underway at 6:30 p.m., with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and even a bourbon tasting bar. There will also be a silent auction for items including art, jewelry and coastal getaways. The youth orchestra ensemble will also perform. Colleen Odegaard of WCNC’s “Charlotte Today” will host. The runway fashion show is scheduled to start around 8:15 p.m. It will feature designer fashions such as cocktail and evening dresses from Nitsa’s Apparel, as well as high-end daily wear from Our Place Boutique. The recession has presented some financial challenges in putting together the fashion show this year, Alvarado says, and they won’t have as many donated items for the auction and raffles compared to years past. They’ve also lowered ticket prices to make the event more affordable. But the community is still coming together to support what is a very worthy cause, and she expects at least 250 to 300 people to attend. “It’s going to be a great shot in the arm for the programs that we support.”
Want to go?The Symphony Guild of Charlotte, Inc. 2011 Fashion Show March 4, 6:30 p.m.The Atrium at Two Wells Fargo Center301 S. Tryon St.Tickets: $75, $150 or $250704-239-6616; www.symphonyguildcharlotte.org.