The Carnwood Garden Gala… Musically Speaking
Press “play” above before reading on…
Shannon Walko, Director of Operations and Events at Cairnwood, has given me the honor of putting together music programs for the Cairnwood Gala since 2008, and this years Gala posed an interesting, yet fun challenge. In years past, the Cairnwood Gala has had themes that – for me – had well defined parameters that lent to unique yet specific music programming designs that not only complimented that theme, but enhanced it.
For “A Night In France”, where I used the music of artists like Edith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier, and Django Reinhardt to name a few, which helped enunciate a classic French feel. Another was a “Roaring 20s” theme, where Rag and Hot Jazz set a thematically era-appropriate mood.
This Cairnwood “Garden Gala” was held to raise money for the restoration and improvement of the grounds and garden in the spirit of the original design by Olmstead, Olmstead and Eliot in 1895. Naturally, it was to be “garden themed”, very different from past Galas in theme as well as in music.
My first thought was for it to be Classical… literally, to which Shannon agreed. Yet, as I began crafting a program to serve as background for this event, I wanted to compliment not just the beautiful garden-themed decor, but the house itself. Cairnwood, a regal Gilded-Age home was built by Scottish-born industrialist John Pitcairn Jr. at the turn of the Century. The fact that Mr. Pitcairn was Scottish born influenced my decision to spice up the Classical program, interspersing some lively Scottish traditional music.
Combining Classical music with a Scottish flare turned out to be just the right mood-set for a “Garden Gala”, lending a light and airy feel as the sonic backdrop to a truly phenomenal event, with breathtaking decor provided by some of the Philadelphia area’s most artistic and creative florist and decor professionals. The beautiful images here – captured by Jackie Bayne and Love Shack Photo – offer only a glimpse into what was truly a world-class event.
Included here (at the top) is a sampling of just a few of the selections that served as a backdrop to the evenings festivities. Feel free to press play while looking through the beautiful images captured by Jackie Bayne and Love Shack Photo. The first track – “Scotland The Brave” – is one of the most recognizable Scottish patriotic songs. This was the selection I chose to open the evenings festivities. I couldn’t help but think that Mr. Pitcairn would be smiling at the sound of the bagpipes of his native Scotland. The rest are a combination of classic feel, Scottish flavor, and even a moving Tango, “Por Una Cabeza”. All in all, it was an amazing event, and I look forward to seeing to restoration of the grounds and gardens at the Cairnwood Estate.
Images courtesy of Love Shack Photo