Gertrude Stein would put it this way

Columnist Lois Caplan

By Lois Caplan

GERTRUDE STEIN would put it this way – a party is a party is a party. But not this party. The Pick a Party! Party is a party whereby guests can buy a unique party to benefit the St. Louis Symphony. Thirty-three parties in various venues ranging from magnificent homes to private clubs to a cupcake shop will be offered for as few as 10 guests to as many as 100 while prices per person range from $20 to $300. It all kicks off from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 28 at the Interior Design Center of St. Louis, 11660 Page Service Drive.

Sponsored by the Symphony Volunteer Association, these “Parties of Note” may be purchased at the party on the 28th before they go on sale to the public. In addition to benefiting the Symphony’s education and community programs, Parties of Note will feature hors d’oeuvres, desserts, open bars and David Venn, jazz keyboardist. And it is the biggest bargain in town – only $20 per person. For reservations for this kick-off event call Powell Hall Box Office, 314-534-1700 or go to the Symphony website

Among the parties are a Mediterranean Dinner with belly dancing and a Chamber Music Potluck inviting you to Bring Your Own Instrument and play along with the pros. At the magnificent, Italianate home of Mary Strauss in the Central West End, Concertmaster David Halen and his wife, soprano Miran Halen, will be the evening’s featured guests and performers. As added value, Strauss will allow guests to view her collection of vintage clothing.

Here’s advice from veteran Phyllis Traub, chair of Pick a Party! Party: “Make your reservation ASAP but even before that, go on line to read the party catalog, which lists and describes all the parties. Since some of them are very large you may want to consult with friends before the Pick a Party! Party to buy one together. Those attending the kick-off event get first picks for the upcoming Parties of Note, which will occur from August 2011 through May 2012. To peruse the catalog, go to and click on download catalog.”

GRAMMY WINNING SOPRANO CHRISTINE BREWER will join the Gateway Men’s Choir Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18 for an evening of wonderful music. Dubbed “Boys Don’t Cry”, the 8 p.m. concert is to be held at the 560 Music Center (formerly Congregation Shaare Emeth), 560 Trinity in University City. According to Dr. Jeffrey Carter, the chorus’s artistic director and head of the music department at Webster University, “At this final concert of the season we will explore the enigmatic beast called love. It examines feelings of exhilaration and uncertainty; the triumph and heights to which relationships take us and sometimes, the losses in our lives. The title is a bit deceiving, since most of the music is more triumphant than tragic.”

Joining the 70-member chorus will be renowned opera star Christine Brewer, who has performed with major orchestras and conductors throughout the world. In addition to a glorious voice, Brewer has a great sense of humor and is as likely to perform a light piece from “Yentl,” a Sondheim song or something like “Lida Rose” from “The Music Man,” which she will sing with the chorus. Expect to hear some serious operatic music from her such as the Easter Hymn from “Cavalleria Rusticana,” which she recorded early in her career with Robert Shaw.

Tickets at $25 and $20 are available online at or by calling 314-289-4169.