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Raised voices raise money
Senior-living community hosts dinner, singers
Jessica Best
Seven vocalists from Savannah VOICE will perform, including Jessica Best - photo by Photo provided.

National Opera Week is just around the corner. To celebrate, Richmond Hill’s newest senior-living community, the Suites at Station Exchange and Station Exchange at Home, are hosting an evening of food, wine and the vocal arts.
On Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Suites at Station Exchange, the event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception. An elegant three-course meal, with wine and beer pairings, will be served. During the event, artists from the Savannah VOICE Festival will perform popular music from Broadway, opera and other genres.
“We have a nice venue where you can do this kind of thing,” said Rich DeLong, executive director of The Suites at Station Exchange. “It just so happens we have a nice dining room. It’s a beautiful building inside and tastefully decorated to the point of almost being exquisite. The event will be an intimate setting of music and food and wine.”
Six young artists will perform music throughout the evening. During the event, guests will get the opportunity to meet the artists, and the festivities culminate in a concert with a Halloween flair, ending at 9:30 p.m. Some of the music will include numbers from the Phantom of the Opera, chilling arias and more.
“(The Savannah VOICE Festival performers) came down and did a mini-show for us last month, and it was so well-received that we wanted to have them back,” DeLong said. “The level of singing that they are doing is so high and so up-there that you don’t get opportunities to hear those voices very often, particularly in a small town like this. This event helps support that type of program so we can continue to offer more programs like this.”
Reservations are required as space for the event is limited. Guests are asked to make a minimum $50 donation at the door to contribute to the work of the Savannah VOICE Festival.
“We are very grateful to the Suites at Station Exchange and Station Exchange at Home for generously donating this wonderful event to support the arts during National Opera Week,” Savannah VOICE Festival Executive Director Maria Zouves said.
Savannah VOICE Festival is a new 501(c) 3 tax-exempt nonprofit arts organization in Georgia. The festival brings classical vocal excellence to the Savannah area through a two-week celebration of concerts, events and educational presentations during the month of August and throughout the year. Focusing on arts awareness and audience development in the performing arts, it offers music from operas, musicals and popular songs.
During the fundraiser, seven vocalists and one pianist from the Savannah VOICE Festival will perform.
“We hosted a community-outreach program during the Savannah VOICE Festival this summer, which wowed everybody, so we wanted to do more to support their excellent programs and to bring joy and music to the Richmond Hill community,” De Long said. “I was almost in tears listening to some of the singers. The broad range of voices and what they can do — you just don’t hear that kind of singing every single day.
“People need to have an opportunity to hear something like this,” DeLong continued. “Normally, you’d have to go to an opera show or a special event to hear this level of singing, but we are making it more accessible for those who live in Richmond Hill and the more rural areas outside of Savannah.”
Donations are tax-deductible, and anyone donating $100 or more will receive a signed “American Aria” book or CD from opera singer Sherrill Milnes, who serves as the festival’s artistic director.
“I would like to encourage people who might be interested in this but have never attended an event like this to take a chance. Bring your wife or best friend — whoever — splurge a little bit, and you won’t be disappointed,” De Long said. “I was floored when I heard these singers. People will get a glimpse of something really special that you don’t see every day.”
To reserve a seat at the event, call the Suites at Station Exchange at 531-7867 or email
National Opera Week 2014 is Oct. 24-Nov. 2.

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