Dishing with Dee: QSO shows off for attendees at anniversary party

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The best party of the week by far was the Queens Symphony Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary Gala on Tuesday, June 3, at the Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy. The views from the windows on the water are breathtaking.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg arrived by helicopter and brought a proclamation with him. He couldn’t stay long as he had a number of other places to go that evening. He did, however, wish them well and expressed appreciation for their efforts in enriching the culture of Queens.

New York City Police Officer Daniel Rodriguez was scheduled to receive the Queens Symphony Orchestra Music Makers Award. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the festivities. The David and Jean Katz Award went to Elsi and Leon Levy. The Queens Symphony Orchestra Award went to Councilwoman Melinda Katz.

A bit of Queens trivia: Did you know that Melinda’s father, David, was the founder and first conductor of the Queens Symphony Orchestra? Did you also know that Melinda has a beautiful singing voice, and she could easily become a professional singer if she wanted to give up the marvy world of politics? Her call!

The Queens Symphony Orchestra is the only professional orchestra in Queens, the most ethnically diverse borough in the nation. Its members performed in a program entitled “Music on the Sound” for the enjoyment of the guests. The musicians donated their talent and time for the evening’s performance, which was led by conductor Arthur Fagen.

When they left, everyone received a copy of Daniel Rodriguez’s second album, “From My Heart,” which includes love songs produced by Manhattan Records. Members of The Power provided a jazz ensemble, which played during the cocktail hour.

Lynda Herndon, executive director, and Herbert Chain, president of QSO, deserve tremendous accolades for producing such a gala evening. The guests were captivated and are all looking forward to another 50 years of total enjoyment of the QSO and all the future performances its members produce annually for the cultural benefit of the people of Queens.

Among the beautiful people who attended were Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and her husband, Don, Herb and Heidi Chain, Arthur Fagen, Edwardo Marti, Mr. and Mrs. Steven Kolman, Harriet and Jordan Novet, Georgianna and Chris Reese, Hank and Trish Auffarth, Steven Blank, Estelle Cooper, Linda DeSabato, Frank Macchio, Mr. and Mrs. George Rozansky, Sher Sparano, Melinda Katz, Jim Rodgers, Mr. and Mrs. Vic Mimoni, Terry Osbourne, Clyde Bullard, Elsi and Leon Levy, Edmond and Mimi Coller, Lynda Herndon, Chief James Tuller, Dolly DeThomas, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Bechtold, Sydelle and Michael Lazar, and the list goes on and on!

Queens has come into its own — it’s no longer necessary to treck into Manhattan for first-class entertainment. It’s also heart-warming to see that the successful shakers and movers of Queens are willing to give back in the form of supporting such a worthwhile endeavor.

We bucked the horrendous traffic Wednesday, June 4, to drive into Manhattan that night. City Comptroller William Thompson kicked off Asian and Pacific Island Heritage Month with a celebration at the New York County Surrogates Courthouse, honoring six outstanding individuals.

The focus of our attention and the reason for the treck was that Queens own Thomas Chen, CEO of Crystal Windows and Doors, was one of the honorees. Mr. Chen almost didn’t make it; he, too, was stuck in the same aforementioned traffic. City Councilman John Liu, our only Asian councilman, was there with many high-ranking Asian officials, ambassadors, consul generals, etc.

A face from the past, former NYPD Queens Borough North Deputy Chief Dewey Fong, was there. Retired from the Police Department, he is now the deputy federal security director of Newark/Liberty International Airport for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

One of the other honorees, though not from Queens, was CBS anchor Cindy Hsu. I just had to mention her, as I found her to be a bright, beautiful, charming woman. She is the past president of the New York chapter of the Asian-American Journalist Association and is also a world-class dragon-boat racer.

On Thursday, a bittersweet cocktail party was given at Flushing Town Hall by the board and staff of the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts. It was a farewell party for Jo-Ann Jones, who is ending her 24 years as the founder and creative force behind the organization. She is moving on.

The board and staff members thought that they had a person to replace her, and at the last minute the woman changed her mind, so the whole replacement process must begin again. I think the Arts members hope she doesn’t like her new job and comes back to them again. Stranger things have happened.

Good luck and God’s speed to you, Jo-Ann, and thank you for the wonderful job of restoring and preserving Flushing Town Hall for all of us.

This has been a party-reporting week. Next week we will get down to more serious stuff such as local politics. Speaking of politics, “get well” wishes to our Assemblyman Tony Seminerio, who is now at home recuperating from triple by-pass surgery. If you would care to send him a card, you can mail it to his office at 114-19 Jamaica Ave., Richmond Hill, NY 11418.

If you would care to share, I’m here. Call me at 718-767-6484 or fax me at 718-746-0066.

Till next week,


P.S. I forgot to mention two events on Sunday, June 1: Bikers vs. Breast Cancer and the Gay Pride Parade in Jackson Heights both were subjected to rain — more about them next week.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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