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Choral Art concert special for honorary chair

By Christina Killion Valdez

The Post-Bulletin

It may be called "A Singing Valentine," but for Bill Wiktor the Choral Art Ensemble’s annual benefit was more of a labor of love.

For the past six years Wiktor served as treasurer on the board of directors, meaning instead of enjoying the annual benefit concert, he volunteered to help run it.

"In all those six years I’ve never yet been able to hear the benefit concert," Wiktor said.

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Instead, during the concert Wiktor was in a back room figuring out the winning auction bids and categorizing the donations.

"To my wife’s credit on our way home she’d say ‘Oh, the concert was so good. Do you remember hearing this?’" Wiktor said.

His reply was always "No."

Until this year when his role as the event’s honorary chair will put the "Singing" back in the "Valentine" for Wiktor.

Instead of being in the back room, Wiktor will have a special spot out front for the dinner and concert.

The music includes a wide variety of love songs, jazz ballads, oldies and big band swing tunes, said Michael Culloton, artistic director.

"The theme of the night lends itself to a lighter style of music," Culloton said. "Our other concerts are based in the classical tradition, but for this one we can let the top down a little bit."

On the program is Burt Bacharach’s "The Look of Love," "Seasons of Love" from the musical "Rent" and some Irving Berlin tunes like the big band classic "Cheek to Cheek" as heard in the movie "The English Patient."

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Throughout the silent auction and dinner there will also be piano solos, and individual singers will showcase their crooning skills.

And even though he won’t be working at it, the auction will remain a special part of the night for Wiktor.

He and his wife, Elaine Case, always donate something, he said.

And although he’s convinced everything will run smoothly without his help, Wiktor said, "If they didn’t asked me to be the chair, I’d probably be in the back room again this year."

GO&DO

What: "A Singing Valentine" by the Choral Arts Ensemble

When: Feb. 10. Cocktail reception and silent auction begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner, a live auction and a concert.

Where: Rochester Marriott ballroom, 101 First Ave. S.W.

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Tickets: $75 available by calling 252-8427. Reservations required. Raffle tickets are $20 each, available in advance. The top prize is a pair of tickets on Continental Airlines. Winners do not need to be present.

Online: www.choralartsensemble.org.

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