PORT ANGELES — Say you’re snorkeling just offshore, floating on the surface of the sea. The shadow of a shark appears.
“What do you do? You get out of the water as fast as you can,” said Susan Crum, who’s familiar with another kind of predator.
Crum offered that scenario to illustrate how the Aplomado falcon protects her workplace, the Tanager Vineyard in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Smaller birds, intent on eating the pinot noir grapes, see the hawks — and are gone in a flash.
The Peruvian Aplomado falcons, “our pinot security team,” are part of a package Crum has donated to the Port Angeles Symphony’s “Applause!” Auction, open for bidding through Friday at PortAngelessymphony.org.
Virtual bidding continues through this week, and the event’s finale will be Friday: a live auction and four musical performances, all live-streamed at 7:30 p.m.
Joining the event is free via the Port Angeles Symphony website.
Crum, a daughter of symphony board member Ron Stecker, has contributed a travel package, titled “Wine, Food and Falcons,” to include time in the field with the birds, specially prepared food and wine, and two nights’ lodging at the vineyard.
Watching the falcons fly low over the vines — and interacting with them — is a rare experience, Crum said.
Another offbeat offering in the auction: a pair of Bernie Sanders meme mittens. The brown, black and white mittens inspired by the Vermont senator’s attire on Inauguration Day in January, are hand-knitted and donated by Harriet Angulo, a symphony supporter.
In an effort to promote the business community, Port Angeles Symphony board members have purchased — and donated to the auction — a number of gift certificates for local restaurants and shops.
At the same time, many local business owners have donated services and products directly. So the auction mix includes gifts from Country Aire Natural Foods, Olympic Day Spa, Camaraderie Cellars and Port Book and News in Port Angeles, Mad Maggi’s in Sequim and Kalaloch Lodge on the western edge of the Olympic Peninsula.
A Rite Bros. Aviation scenic flight over the Olympic Peninsula is also up for bid, and Port Angeles Symphony conductor and music director Jonathan Pasternack is offering virtual music lessons on a topic of the purchaser’s choice.
“The variety this year is really something,” Pasternack said. “We have homemade pies from local bakers, and we have trips to exotic places such as Bali and Cortona, Italy. These trips can be taken up to three years from the auction date.
“I’m so delighted, too, about the musical performances. Nico Snel Young Artist Competition winner Adam Weller will play a movement of a Bach partita. He sounds really beautiful on it,” he added.
Also during the event Friday, Julian Schwarz, a cellist who has appeared several times with the Port Angeles Symphony, will play Elgar’s “Salut d’Amour” (“Love Letter”) with his wife, pianist Marika Bournaki. The couple will send the virtual performance from their home in Virginia.
The Port Angeles Symphony String Quartet – with a new member – will also appear. Violinist Morgan Bartholick-LeMaire, a Port Angeles High School graduate who went on to earn a music degree at Louisiana State University, will join quartet members Jory Noble, Tyrone Beatty and Traci Winters
Tyson to play Ravel’s string quartet plus American composer Michael T. McLean’s tango piece.
To participate in the Applause! Auction bidding throughout this week, viewers can register at Portangelessymphony.org’s auction page and use their computers, tablets and smartphones to place bids. For technical support, phone the symphony office at 360-457-5579.
Come Friday evening, professional auctioneer Dennis Caldirola will preside over the one-hour finale, broadcast live from Edna’s Place, formerly Fanaticus, in Port Angeles.
The Applause! Auction has long been the symphony’s most important fundraiser, Pasternack said, but this year it’s even more key to the nonprofit orchestra’s future. Live concerts have been impossible for the past 12 months, so the symphony is presenting streamed recitals, including one by Schwarz and Bournaki later this month and pianist Alexander Tutunov in April.
Next season — the symphony’s 89th — depends on the support the orchestra receives in the early and middle part of this year.
Pasternack and the rest of the musicians, who come from across and beyond the North Olympic Peninsula, are looking forward to the day when they can gather again.
“Until then, events such as the auction are a fun way to connect with our community of supporters,” Pasternack said, “and hear intimate performances given by locally and internationally known musicians.”
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]