A Milliner’s Delight and Music-Lovers Paradise
Fancy fedoras, dashing pillboxes and glitzy wide brims adorned nearly three hundred party-goers at the Ritz Chamber Players’ Inaugural Hat Luncheon last Spring. In addition to the elegance, music, and a delightful lunch, the event helped to raise funds for the nonprofit music ensemble and its efforts to increase diversity among classical musicians and audiences. Currently less than two percent of musicians in American orchestras are African-American.
Throughout the fourteen years of its existence, the Ritz Chamber Players has garnered amazing support from the Jacksonville community. Sustained by private donations, the group continues to move forward as an artistic and cultural gem. Founded and based in Jacksonville, the Ritz Chamber Players is an exceptional group of musicians who are African-American and hail from prestigious orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony and London Symphony.
The Hat Luncheon was the first large event fundraiser mounted by the organization. Its success sparked huge community interest and anticipation for what has become a signature affair for the Ritz Chamber Players. Save the date for the much anticipated 2nd Annual Hat Luncheon: April 30, at Epping Forest, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
“This is the start of a new tradition in Jacksonville,” says Velma Monteiro-Tribble, Hat Luncheon chair. “When people think of the Ritz Chamber Players, they’ll remember the hat they wore, or that they saw, at the Hat Luncheon. And they’ll remember hearing and enjoying chamber music, perhaps for the first time.”
Last year’s event featured guests wearing their finest hats and ensembles, food catered by Biscottis, floral design by Glenn Certain, and music performances by virtuoso Ritz Chamber Players musicians. The Hat Luncheon provided a celebratory atmosphere for guests to network with attendees from Jacksonville’s corporate, cultural, political and social communities. And it’s a great opportunity to meet and mingle with the members of the Ritz Chamber Players.
“Last year, everyone had a wonderful time,” says Monica Jacoby. “The hats were a great icebreaker, and we so enjoyed getting to know so many new people – just by talking about the wonderful creations on their heads. The food was delicious and beautifully presented; including the adorable hat cookies on the cupcakes. Of course, the music was fantastic. How could it not be with such accomplished musicians playing for us.”
The 2nd Annual Hat Luncheon is presented by Florida Blue with additional support from Nancy and Gary Chartrand and others. All funds raised will be matched one-to-one by the Delores Barr Weaver Fund.
The Ritz Chamber Players performs an annual series of concerts in Jacksonville that are free and open to the public, to foster appreciation for chamber music. Its members visit Jacksonville-area schools to engage students and holds open rehearsals for participants in the Cathedral Arts Project to experience live classical music and a behind-the-scenes look at how professional musicians work.
For more details about the Ritz Chamber Players’ upcoming performances and events, visit ritzchamberplayers.org.
Article written by Charise Bell