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U City Symphony Orchestra Marks 50th Anniversary with Brunch and Music

The conductor's brunch fundraiser on Sunday will include the orchestra's string quartet and jazz by a guitar and violin duo.

The University City Symphony Orchestra will celebrate its 50th anniversary by getting ready for its next 50 years.

The orchestra will host a conductor’s brunch from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Rotunda, 6801 Delmar Blvd. The brunch is a fundraiser for the orchestra. Cost for the event is $65 per person or $110 per couple.

TO RSVP for the fundraiser, see the group’s website at www.ucso.org.

“We have a 50-year history of providing great music to the public for free,” Conductor Leon Burke III said. “That’s an awesome legacy.”

The event features a live performance by the University Symphony Orchestra string quartet .

“For one hour, we’ll have the string quartet for background music,” Burke said. “The whole idea here is to socialize. We don’t often get a chance to hang out with the people who support us.”

The evening also features a guitar and violin duo playing some “hip jazz,” Burke said.

The event will be catered by V. Catering, led by Chef Vito Racanelli.

A dinner for 10 catered by Racanelli will be one of several auction items available. The auction will help raise funds for the 2012 season.

Other auction items include:

  • A symphonic piece written for the winning bid composed by Burke;
  • A handcrafted wooden music stand made by orchestra member Chuck      Schuder;
  • An opportunity to be the conductor for one piece at an upcoming UCSO concert.

The group’s next concert is at 3 p.m. Feb. 12 at , 6403 Clemens Ave. The group includes musicians throughout the St. Louis metro area, but it rehearses and has the majority of its concerts in University City.

“Part of our mission statement is that we like to provide a place for talented amateurs to play,” said Burke, also conductor for the Metropolitan Ballet of Topeka. “We have anything from talented high schoolers up to people who have been playing for many years.”

They also pay professional musicians to play with them. The concert at All Saints Church will include a soloist from Argentina who studied in Germany and Russia, and teaches in North Dakota, Burke said.

“We also have a soloist who is a former concert master for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra who is from Romania,” he said. “For a local orchestra to have such an international profile is amazing.”

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