Hats are a must at Westmoreland Symphony event

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Looking just at the head gear, it may appear as though British royalty has jetted in for the afternoon on June 1 when the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra holds its 12th Hat Luncheon at the Greensburg Country Club.

Guests are invited to wear their most fashionable hat to the elegant fundraiser for the symphony, now in its 45th season and under the artistic direction of Daniel Meyer.

"We get a wide variety of hats. Some women have gorgeous vintage hats that they love to wear to our event," said Linda Assard, board member and event chairwoman.

Some wore "fascinators" at last year's event, the brimless hats which perch on the front of the head and attach with combs, Mrs. Assard said. Fascinators are favored by many women in the British royal family. Camilla, duchess of Cornwall, famously wore an ornate one for her marriage to Charles, prince of Wales and heir apparent to the throne.

Over the years, Mrs. Assard said she has seen everything from beanies with propellers to "Carmen Miranda"-style hats with fruit; she even recalls a man who adorned his hat with live flowers.

"Everyone just enjoys seeing what others are wearing," Mrs. Assard said.

The Hat Luncheon started after Mrs. Assard and co-volunteer Jo Ann Lightcap of Ligonier attended the Pittsburgh Symphony's hat luncheon 13 years earlier and decided they wanted to try it for the Westmoreland organization. The event has been a success each year to the point of outgrowing the original venue, the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center.

Three women -- Mrs. Assard, Mrs. Lightcap and Sheila Caramella of Greensburg -- will be awarded the Tip of the Hat award for their outstanding support of the symphony.

Guest bartenders will serve champagne and wine beginning at 11 a.m. The luncheon begins at noon.

The Westmoreland Symphony performs four classical concerts and a pops concert each season at the Palace Theatre, the symphony's home since 1979. Around the World with Disney, a performance unique to this season, was added and performed Sunday. Each summer the symphony performs a free concert at St. Clair Park in Greensburg. It's scheduled for 7 p.m. June 29.

Tickets are $75 for the lunch and can be purchased by calling the orchestra at 724-837-1850 or emailing Sheila@westmorelandsymphony.org. Proceeds benefit the symphony and its educational programs.

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Jill Thurston, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com


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