Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Encore helps CSO phase in new season


By Jim Knippenberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Wendy Hoffman and Stuart Hoelle go over the group's party plans.
(Philip Groshong photo)
| ZOOM |
Whew. There was a lot of bang for the buck on the weekend party circuit - one that went most of the night Friday and one that went all day and into the evening Sunday.

Encore, the young adult supporters of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (20s to early 40s, single, married) threw a triple-header Friday in honor of the CSO season opener.

Phase one was cocktails and a dessert buffet in Music Hall's lobby before the concert. Here, the 48 Encore guests mixed, mingled and chowed down with the regular patrons. Unlike CSO parties of old, it was a casual affair, with guests in everything from full party dress to jeans and even a few in shorts.

Phase two was the concert followed by phase three, a 10:30 p.m. shuttle ride to Nicola's in Over-the-Rhine for more cocktails and a late dinner that owner Nick Pietoso whipped up especially for the occasion - braised pork loin, pan seared salmon, rigatoni.

It was here that the party really cooked, with some of the guests reportedly staying 'til 2:30 a.m. Not a bad deal for a $60 party.

Friday was Encore's first party of the season, but it won't be the last. It's planning a joint venture with the Taft Museum's Club 316 at Arnold's and a Valentine's Day post concert murder mystery dinner.

"It's true, we're getting more and more active," president Tim Giglio said Friday night. "We have a mailing list of 500 now, and we seem to be doing something every month."

Sunday - and never mind the lousy weather - it was an all-day, mostly outdoor benefit for the Cincinnati Men's Chorus, a $125-a-head deal that went from noon until whenever the 70 guests straggled home.

Cruzin' for the Chorus opened with brunch at five private homes where anywhere from 10 to 24 gathered for food, bloody Marys and mimosas. Caterer Jeff Thomas had one. So did Dan Brown and Mark Haggard, David Ferguson and George Sarofeen, Fred Martens and Warren Liang and Karen Aronoff and Vickie Holtmeier.

After brunch it was a 2:15 cruise on the Satisfaction II with more cocktails, munchies and a lot of mixin' and mingling.

And it still wasn't over: Following the cruise, guests went to more private homes for cookouts.

---E-mail jknippenberg@enquirer.com

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