News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 7, 2012

Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra hosts annual decorating event

Fundraising event at Wabash Valley Fairgrounds

Brian Boyce
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A melody of lights will blink throughout the weekend inside a forest of charity.

The 4-H Building of the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds was filling up Thursday as volunteers decked out scotch pines for the second annual Tree Fest, which will benefit the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra. Sponsored trees will ultimately be presented to needy Wabash Valley families.

Tiffani Schmidt, symphony executive director, said 38 trees have been sponsored this year, and the organization hopes for a good turnout from the public.

“We’re hoping to raise $10,000,” she said inside the barn full of holiday decor.

Organizations and individuals throughout the community have purchased trees to decorate. Using themes of their choosing, the groups can decorate the trees for judging by the public.

Admission to the small holiday forest is $5 for adults and free for children. Each entrant receives one ballot for the tree of their choice, with additional ballots available for $1 each. Tree Fest officially kicked off Thursday between 4 and 8 p.m. and will continue those same hours today. The event is open to the public from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday and from 1 and 4 p.m. Sunday.

Board member John McIntyre said the fundraiser helps maintain a community asset, one which is very important to him as a professor of music at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

“Having a first-class symphony in Terre Haute is important, and having been a resident of Terre Haute for the last 10 years, it’s really important to me,” he said. “And we really do have a first-class symphony orchestra here in Terre Haute.”

This year’s event will feature entertainment from a youth orchestra and a jazz trio, and the symphony’s own brass section will perform tonight and tomorrow.

Last year’s winner, Indiana State University’s Cunningham Memorial Library, returns this year with its theme of “Country Christmas,” but dozens of others are vying for this season’s bragging rights.

Dr. Dorene Hojnicki, executive director of the Vigo County Emergency Management Agency, had a team of fellow first responders all hoping Christmas goes to the dogs this year. Their “Public Safety Christmas” theme features a number of K-9 replicas in honor of search-and-rescue dogs.

“We had quite a group on Sunday putting this together. Everyone donated ornaments and helped out with the lights,” she said.

 Founded in 1926, the Terre Haute Symphony hosts a number of classical concerts throughout the year under the direction of music director and conductor David Bowden.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@tribstar.com.