The Skaneateles Symphony Guild once again celebrated the Christmas season in Skaneateles with a luncheon at the beautifully decorated Welch Allyn Lodge. Christmas was in the air as 264 festively dressed people enjoyed traditional wassail and the talent of harpist Christopher Molloy during a social hour beside the fireplace followed by lunch and a program of holiday music performed by the high school Madrigal singers and Women's Chamber choir. An additional treat was to hear a second harpist, this year's Rotary exchange student, Marie Anneck-Blanchard from France.
During her remarks, co-president Patti Carey announced the fact that because Skaneateles is known for its support of the arts, school Superintendent Philip D'Angelo has received a $28,885 grant, with the help of Sen. John DeFrancisco. It will be used to purchase instruments and musical equipment for the music education program in Skaneateles. Carey said she hopes more supporters would join the Guild to assist completing the Superintendent's wish list.
Before asking the new executive director of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Karen Gahl-Mills, to draw the winning raffle tickets for 10 lucky people to win gift baskets donated by pairs of Guild board members, Carey announced it was time to "Honor one of our own."
Jo Gregg was the founder of the first satellite of the Syracuse Symphony Guild. Gregg organized symphony fundraisers in the 60's that paid for musical ensembles to perform and teach in this school district. The guild now finances Music in the Schools that provides a concert experience for all students.
"Gregg's foresight also lead to what we now enjoy as a free summer pops concert performed by the SSO," Carey said.
Gregg was recognized over the years for her work. She was the first woman to receive the Skaneateles Jaycees Award in 1976 and three years later she was one of three people named Symphony Guild Volunteer of the Decade. Many of Skaneateles' cultural traditions come from Gregg and her hard working friends.