HOPE going to New OrleansThe 19th Annual HOPE Dinner and Auction Oct. 10 is a trip to the “Big Easy” for an evening of sidewalk musicians, artists and a meal only to be found in Louisiana. Called “A Night in New Orleans” the decorations will be lavish and the music jazzy, the organizers say. They promise it’s going to be a stroll through Jackson Square and the French Quarter without leaving town. “You’ll experience the French Quarter and a taste of Mardi Gras,” said Terri Schriock, HOPE co-chair. “You’ll think you’ve gone south for the weekend.”
By: Toni Pirkl, The Jamestown Sun
The 19th Annual HOPE Dinner and Auction Oct. 10 is a trip to the “Big Easy” for an evening of sidewalk musicians, artists and a meal only to be found in Louisiana.
Called “A Night in New Orleans” the decorations will be lavish and the music jazzy, the organizers say. They promise it’s going to be a stroll through Jackson Square and the French Quarter without leaving town.
“You’ll experience the French Quarter and a taste of Mardi Gras,” said Terri Schriock, HOPE co-chair. “You’ll think you’ve gone south for the weekend.”
Each year the HOPE Dinner focuses on creating an entire world within its theme and this year is no different. It takes four or five days to create that world, but organizers believe it’s worth it.
To create the New Orleans ambience the Zebedee Center will be transformed with murals done by local artists. There will also be sculpture, paintings and artistic touches reminiscent of the Big Easy.
“The decorating this year is taking a more artistic approach,” said Miranda Letherman, who heads up the decorating committee. “There will be different elements of art with bayou, Creole and Mardi Gras influences. The décor will be more of the jazz and French Quarter images. We’ve got lots of volunteer artists involved in the decorating so it’s going to be outstanding.”
A New Orleans décor means the look of wrought iron and lampposts evoking images of the French Quarter, with lots of vines reflecting the sultry south. The tables, too, will continue the theme. For the seventh year now, Country Gardens will donate centerpieces. Shriock said this is an opportunity for Gretchen Barnick to display her creative talents.
“We don’t know what they’ll be, but the centerpieces are always unique and beautiful,” she said.
The Mardi Gras atmosphere will dominate at the social before dinner with beads, glitter and masks.
“The teachers volunteered to create and make oversized masks for the walls,” Letherman said. “Each one has a different and unique look.”
Even the music stays true to the style of New Orleans. Kerry Wicks will be playing the blues on his saxophone on a New Orleans street corner as guests arrive at 4:30 p.m. for the social. Later, St. John’s second-graders will entertain everyone with a production reminding listeners of Louis Armstrong. Shriock said their costumed performance is not only entertaining but surprisingly good.
“Last year, the second-graders got a standing ovation,” she said, and she believes they will again this year.
Other students and alumni are also on the musical entertainment agenda during the evening.
“You’ll get the feeling of a Mardi Gras parade,” Letherman said. “Just as you’d experience in New Orleans we’re offering theater, art and music.”
Because the HOPE (Help Offer Private Education) Dinner and Auction is the major fundraiser for St. John’s Academy, teachers and students are very involved. Students not only perform at the event, Shriock said, but each class makes unique and interesting auction items. Parents and other volunteers work with the children on a variety of auction items, which this year include garden art and home decor.
“The kindergartners are putting together a gorgeous quilt,” Shriock said of one class. “And an area artist is working on an auction item with the sixth-graders.”
Letherman and Shriock are working with the second-graders on a birthday or special occasion party package. Shriock said the package includes a pedestal domed cake platter and ceramic candy dish painted by the children. The themed party includes catering by Emily Allen, who is providing the five-course Creole-style meal at the HOPE dinner.
Other auction items also reflect the ingenuity inherent in the event. A Palladian Gazebo with outdoor heater is one. Suzi Senger, co-chair for advertising, said Evergreen Property is donating a city lot near Louis L’Amour Elementary School. Also up for auction are several package vacations to such places as the Florida, Terry’s Peak and a private lakeside beach resort. There are event packages and catered home dinners as well. Plus, many of the decorations go on the auction block.
“There’s a big variety of auction items,” Senger said. And for the 19th year, More From Orr is donating its auctioneering services for the event, she added.
Each year the HOPE Dinner is sold out and this year appears to be going the same way. Senger said the $75 per person tickets are going fast. To purchase tickets call 952-1907.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response from individuals and businesses in the community,” Senger said. “This is not just for St. John’s parents. It’s an event for everyone in Jamestown.”
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org