Hartt Throws A Gala

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Former Otis Elevator president Jean-Pierre van Rooy and his wife Marie-Claire van Rooy like to be creative when it comes to the organizations they support.

So when the well-known philanthropists, who are also great music lovers, decided they wanted to help University of Hartford’s Hartt School, they decided to do more than write a check. They suggested a competition.

And for that annual van Rooy Competition for Musical Excellence and the $10,000 scholarship to the winners, the couple was honored at the school’s annual “Hartt’s Got Talent” gala.

“We wanted to do something with a purpose,” explained van Rooy, who, with his wife, have been generous to many organizations including St. Frances Hospital, The Malta House of Care, the Bushnell and all the area’s major museums. “We love music and we wanted to encourage fine music.”

Held at the Hartford Marriott Downtown, there was no chance of not knowing that somehow the party had to do with music. A string quartet greeted guests as they arrived and in the dining room, a brass flash mob took to the stage to belt out a few tunes when it was time to dine.

And then there were the auction items.

“I have to say I don’t think I ever saw so many musical instruments as part of an auction,” commented Farmington resident Audra Langlois, perusing a long list that included a piano, a violin and a guitar.

For some the gala was more of a sporting event than a musical interlude.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was on a tight schedule, having drinks and appetizers with Hartt before sprinting over to the convention center for the Wadsworth Atheneum gala with wife, Cathy, who is head of the Greater Hartford Arts Council.

It was also a date night for some including Greater Hartford Academy of Arts senior Miles Wilson Joliver. The 17-year-old, who is also a gospel choir director, had a special lady with him at the gala, his mom Shelly.

“This is awesome,” she said smiling. “I was so thrilled that he invited me.”

For more gala pictures go to: http://cour.at/QOhLyE

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