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A symphony of style

The Schenectady Symphony Orchestra has sold raffle tickets. It's held garage sales. But the biggest event, year after year, is its luncheon and fashion show.

Now entering its 53rd year, the fashion show brings in as much as $10,000 to $15,000. That's money that helps keep the symphony afloat even as the arts founder elsewhere.

It's just so important to all of us to have this symphony, said Anne Phaup-Phillips. "We can't imagine not having it."

It's been a long time since the area hasn't had the symphony. Established in 1934, the orchestra has more than 70 members, playing violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, harp, piano and percussion instruments.

Behind the scenes, more than 200 people make up the orchestra's fundraising arm, the League of the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra. It has its own long history, dating back to 1956.

"We all do wear many hats," Phaup-Phillips said.

Among Phaup-Phillips' duties is co-chairing the fashion show with Marie Gorman. Set for Monday, April 11, at the Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia, the show will feature fashions from Casual Set of Stuyvesant Plaza. Members of the league will be the models: Betty Carol Barlyn, Andrea Golub, Kate Koseneki, Fran Callahan, Lanna Jersen and Joann Paulsen.

Debbie DeLuke will commentate and Mike Purcell will provide music. Rolando of La Femme will style the models' hair.

"The ladies come and enjoy seeing the fashions," said Phaup-Phillips, who added that lunch is another draw. The menu typically includes soup, salad and a main course.

Another important element of the event is the silent auction.

"That's where we make the biggest amount of our money," Phaup-Phillips said.

Items in the auction include jewelry and gift certificates for restaurants and florists. "We buy things for baskets," Phaup-Phillips added, noting that there is, for example, a "pamper yourself basket."

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