Just in time for Valentine's Day, the Gulf Coast Symphony Guild will offer an evening of sophistication with classical music, dinner and cocktails beneath the trees of Oak Crest Mansion Inn in Pass Christian.
The Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra fundraiser is billed as "Dinner With A Duo" and will be held Feb. 14 and 15.
"This will be the third year, but this will be the first time we've had the duo," said event spokesperson Ginny Hermetz.
The event grows each year and has developed a reputation for its featured musical talent.
Featured soloists for Dinner with a Duo are Kate and Richard Sawyer, who both grew up in Ocean Springs. They both received extensive professional training in vocal performance at prestigious universities and have performed with professional American musical companies from coast to coast as well as abroad.
The two have come back to Ocean Springs and are now teaching in local schools. Richard is director of choirs and music theory at Ocean Springs High School, and Kate is choral director for St. Martin middle and high schools.
They will be accompanied on piano by Michaelle Harrison, a well-known local pianist.
"They are well-respected in the Ocean Springs area," Hermetz said. "They are two talented people."
Kate has performed with the New Orleans Opera, Opera Vivente in Baltimore, Opera Manhattan and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Austria.
Richard has performed with Southern Opera and Musical Theatre, Rochester Lyric Opera, Mississippi Opera and did Recital and Lieder Concerts throughout the Southeast and Italy.
Dinner with a Duo will kick off with a cocktail hour with a cash bar.
"There are some fun things we'll do during the cocktail hour," Hermetz said, including a spirits auction and surprise raffles.
"We'll have the raffle each night, which will include six or seven items that will be valued at around $100. Those tickets are $20 each," Hermetz said. "There's going to be some interesting things for both men and women."
Oak Crest Manor will provide a full dinner.
"All the money we make will be given to the Symphony Orchestra," Hermetz said. "Like so many things on the Coast and all over, the arts might be having a tough time. When we have a concert four times a year, the cost is between $25,000 and $35,000, and ticket prices do not nearly cover those costs."
They hope to raise at least $15,000 for the Symphony Guild.