My ears were happy at Serendipity Cafe, the summer installment of entertainment arranged by the Upper Ohio Valley Opera Guild as part of its 2012 season.
Listening to the music of the Tony Campbell Jazz Quartet of the Pittsburgh area and local songstress Teresa Kropka translated into a laid-back lovely Saturday evening for me and Better Half in a turnout estimated around 130 people.
The July 21 event was held at the Steubenville Country Club where everyone seemed very enchanted by the display of talent demonstrated by Campbell on the saxophone, and his colleagues, including Howie Alexander, pianist; Jeremy McDonald, bass player; and James Johnson, drums.
Teresa Kropka and Carlene Scurti
Kropka looked very elegant in her gown and long black gloves and was very at home behind the microphone singing my kind of music, many of them timeless standards.
Kropka, a medical technologist, has an impressive resume. She performed for NBC after 9/11 in Washington, D.C.; traveled throughout Los Angeles performing jazz with trumpet player Reggie Bullen, who was in Marvin Gaye and Quincy Jones' groups; went to London, New York and Los Angeles with a group to perform as a choir for Christina Aguilara's "Beautiful;" and was on tours with Christian rapper Bob "Righteous B" Lesnefsky.
The overall performance by Kropka and the quartet drew a standing ovation.
I told Kropka the following day how much I had enjoyed the event. She and I were surprised to run into each other at the Steubenville Saddle Club's July 22 horse show at the club grounds in Richmond. She was there in support of her daughter showing her horse; I was there showing one of my friend Peggy Vojvodich's Paso Finos.
Joyce Ryan-Orlando, president, welcomed everyone to Serendipity Cafe, thanking her committee that included chairman Nan Watzman, Joe and Lina Leonard, Mary Jo Rinaldi and Lil Ferguson.
The guild's effort to bring a variety of quality entertainment to the area moves full speed ahead in the fall with a performance by the Spanish/Cuban Flamenco Traveling Dance Troupe on Oct. 28, something you might be interested to scribble in on your event calendar. The Spanish music, dancing and singing will be complemented by a tapas style dinner. Tapas are snacks, canapes or finger food that originated in Spain.
As the organization continues its 2012 mission to "build the guild," remember that an annual general membership is a mere $20 although there are also now membership divisions of $50, donor; $100, sponsor; and $200 or more, patron. Checks can be made payable to the Upper Ohio Valley Opera Guild and mailed to P.O. Box 2158, Wintersville, OH 43953. For information about the guild, contact Ryan-Orlando at (740) 264-0292 or visit the Facebook page or website at www.uovog.com