PORT ANGELES — With a strange new event on the horizon, some on the Port Angeles Symphony board of directors felt, frankly, reluctant.
This was late last year, when it looked like the symphony’s complex and essential fundraiser, the Applause! Auction, would go virtual.
“We thought: Maybe things will change, and we won’t have to do it” online, said Lisa Harvey-Boyd, the auction’s orchestrator for the past several years.
But it became clear that she and fellow board members would be learning the technology for online bidding, hosting and live-streaming the whole thing. There would be a week of silent-auction shopping, then a party with a live auction of selected items, an auctioneer, an announcer, four musical interludes and Harvey-Boyd as host.
The Applause! Auction netted about $22,000 in proceeds for the symphony, conductor and executive director Jonathan Pasternack said, though that figure could change slightly as final expenses are determined.
It all took place Friday night via portangeles symphony.org and the symphony’s YouTube channel. There was one glitch when the audio vanished during one of the musical performances, but the rest of the 78-minute event unfolded just fine, Harvey-Boyd said.
“Once it starts, you’re in the moment,” she said.
Harvey-Boyd, who has served on the Port Angeles Symphony board for nine years, said she received priceless guidance from the Olympic Medical Center Foundation and its executive director, Bruce Skinner, last fall. The foundation forged ahead in 2020 with producing online events, culminating in the Festival of Trees in Port Angeles.
Harvey-Boyd shadowed Skinner and his crew, observing how the events came together. Then she bought a ticket so she could watch the Festival of Trees at home, to gain the viewers’ experience.
“Bruce said: ‘We’re all in the same boat. We’re not competitors” when it comes to fundraising, Harvey-Boyd recalled.
When it came time to ask local businesses for contributions to the symphony’s auction, she and the board hesitated, knowing many are struggling. The donation request letter was revised to say, in effect, that if a business was able, a donation would be met with gratitude.
Local companies did donate, while the symphony board mobilized on another front. The members purchased gift certificates to local restaurants and shops and donated them to the auction.
Still other symphony supporters contributed homemade gifts: jam, pies, honey, plates of chocolate fudge, yard weeding and pruning services.
When Friday night arrived, auctioneer Dennis Caldirola and announcer Anthony Balducci led the audience through 16 live auction items, including two “Wine, Food and Falcons” packages donated by Art and Susan Crum of Yamhill, Ore.
Susan, the daughter of symphony board member Ron Stecker, created the getaways to the Willamette Valley.
Producer-editor Silas Crews “did a masterful job with the video and audio production,” Pasternack added.
Event revenue will support the coming season of concerts, which are in the planning stages, as well as the next virtual performance, a recital by cellist Julian Schwarz and pianist Marika Bournaki to premiere online this Saturday. Information can be found on the Port Angeles Symphony website and at 360-457-5579.
“We have a great community,” said Harvey-Boyd, who added that the people who produced and partook in the auction “help us do what we do: make music.”
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected] news.com.