40th Showcase Concert and Supper – Mar. 30, 2016

Benefiting the Metropolitan Opera National Council Western Region

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Opera singers Duke Kim, MONC Grand National Winner Yelena Dyachek, MONC Grand National Winner Nicholas Brownlee, Lacey Jo Benter, and Musical Director Brent McMunn
Photo by Sherri Breyer


Anyone wanting to hear fabulous voices singing great operatic arias in their natural state was in for a treat last month at the 40th Annual Showcase Concert in the intimate Bougainvillea Room at Spencer’s.

Showcase was founded by Mimi Rudulph in 1976 to present the winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council – Western Region auditions (MONC-WR) in concert in the Coachella Valley. Soprano Yelena Dyachek and bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee captured first place at the MONC-WR auditions, ensuring their participation in the semifinals in New York on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera. Both singers were Grand National Winners in New York.

MONC regional chair Molly Siefert and Showcase co-founders Ann Heavey and Lilli Joseph were thrilled to be able to hear two winners in the same concert.

The concert followed a wine and cheese reception, with passed hot hors d’oeuvres. Joining the two winners were Western Region finalists tenor Duke Kim and mezzo-soprano Lacey Jo Benter. Brent McMunn was music director and accompanist. The singers received a standing ovation from just under 100 supporters.

Event chairs Lilli Joseph and Marion Schaefer did a superb job, supported by committee members in attendance Sid Adair, Jan Darlington, Renée Glickman, Bebe Klinge, Maridee Moorhead, Marion Schaefer and Sally Towne. Board and committee members Robin Montgomery and Renee VanRosen were there in spirit.

Following dinner, attendees danced to the music of Bill Marx, Tibor Lesko, and Dave Tull. Harold Matzner was Presenting Sponsor. Gold sponsors were Jerome and Mary Angel, John and Judy Ernst, and Mary Ellen Handler. Silver sponsors were Barbara Pomar and Craig Salisbury. Bronze sponsors were Dr. Stephen Brown, Jean Carrus, Peggy Cravens, and Donna MacMillan. Pewter sponsors were Ann Heavy, Miriam Hoover, and Brian Webb. Honored for their contributions to Showcase were musician Mona Lands and stage director Anne Marie Ketchum de la Vega.

Spencer’s Restaurant
701 W. Baristo Road, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Photography by Sherri Breyer

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