Festival of Trees sparkles for Ecker Center


Eceter's Festival of Trees held its annual gala at Eagle Brook Country Club inGeneva on Nov. 14. One could not help but be excited with a room filled with 39 beautifully decorated trees, three wreaths and a table full of sought-after silent-auction items.

Jeff Meyers, as always, was the perfect emcee for the evening, which featured a cocktail hour with music by violinist Shauna Flowers and special dinner music by the Lake Shore Live a cappella ensemble. In addition, there was a silent auction and live auction of trees, trips, art and more. The event took in more than $70,000, with net proceeds to benefit the programs and services of Ecker Center for Mental Health.

More than 200 of the area's beautiful people were in attendance, adding sparkle to the evening in floor-length gowns and short cocktail dresses with the men in tuxedos and dark suits. As always, auctioneer Terry Dunning did an outstanding job, to say the least. Guests were also impressed by the music of Lake Shore Live.

Among the guests who enjoyed the evening were Kane County Circuit Clerk Tom Hartwell; state Rep. Anna Moeller and her husband, Marc; Elgin fire Chief John Fahy and his wife, Peggy; Elgin Mayor David Kaptain and his wife, Sandy; Elgin council member Richard Dunne and his wife, Judy; Rose Martinez; Carol Rauschenberger; Kane County Sheriff Don Karamer; Mike and Laura Warren; attorney Doug Scheflow and his wife, Lena; Donna and Roger Burnidge; Judge Clint Hull; Alan and Sandy Kirk; and Manny and Carolyn Likow, to name a few. For more information on the Ecker Center, call 847-695-0484.

Soiree Lyrique launches its second season

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Soiree Lyrique launched its second season with a reception at the residence of longtime patrons of the arts Murna and Bruce Hansemann, of Elgin.

Many fans and friends came to show their support of this second season. Among them were Ramona Burns, Kathryn Canny, Kathy Crudele, Brenda Delhotal, Dirk Dypold, John Fascia, Cindy Golden, Lorraine Gornick, Dr. Rise Jones, Donna Rubino, Valerie Meachum, Lois Myers-Bauer and Jim Bauer, Rosemary and Archur Schroeder, and Marlene and Jack Shales.

It was an enjoyable afternoon with great food, champagne and highlights of the upcoming season. Singers included Franco Marorana from "The Other 3 Tenors" performing some Italian songs, and Solange Sior, founder of the company, singing excerpts from "Porgy and Bess" and "Il Trovatore" (Verdi).

The Young Artists Program was represented by soprano Julie Baker singing a beautiful excerpt by Handel. Elizabeth Tate, 17, of St. Charles, and Colin McGonagle, 15, of Schaumburg, performed the very impressive duet from "Phantom of the Opera." Murna Hansemann and Rosemary Schroeder were the very talented accompanists.

The next concert will be "Verdi at its Best!" at 3 p.m. Feb. 28 at the First Congregational Church of Elgin. Sior; Cornelius Johnson, tenor; Aaron Wardell, baritone; and pianist Dr. Chiayi Lee, along with the Elgin Master Chorale, will perform excerpts from "Rigoletto," "La Traviata," "Il Trovatore," "La Forza del Destino," "Don Carlo" and "Nabucco."

Kudos, kudos

Congratulations to Linda O'Connor, who recently celebrated her 40th anniversary as the very talented pianist at the Anvil Club in Elgin.

Places To Be Scene

•It's not too late to make it a "giving back" Christmas and visit the Fair Trade sale from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Church at 745 Main St. in West Dundee. There will be a wide variety of unique gift items from over 20 different countries including Christmas decor, chocolate Advent calendars, religious articles, handmade baskets and much more. For information, call 847-426-2217.

•Ziegler Ace Hardware in downtown Elgin is hosting live tree sales to benefit Ecker Center for Mental Health. The sale begins Friday and runs from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Dec. 21. This program is a continuation of the traditional tree sales which used to be conducted at Larkin Center and has become an Ecker Center tradition. Trees and wreaths will be provided by the same vendor as always, Windy Hill Christmas Tree Farm in Gleason, Wis. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the programs and services of Ecker Center, serving the needs of area residents since 1955. For information, call Ecker Center at 847-695-0484 ext. 1913.

•The National Bird Show will host its 67th annual show at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Dec. 3 through Dec. 5. The show will feature 19 divisions of exotic birds, including canaries, finches and parrots, which will compete for a variety of awards of the weekend. The opening ceremony is Dec. 4 at the Megacenter Hall.

•The Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau is funded by the Illinois Office of Tourism and a portion of the hotel tax collected by St. Charles hotels to promote Greater St. Charles as a destination for leisure tourists and meetings and conventions, sports events and motorcoach trips.

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