‘London Nights’ gala benefits Edwards Interfaith Chapel and Community Center, Aug. 8 | VailDaily.com

‘London Nights’ gala benefits Edwards Interfaith Chapel and Community Center, Aug. 8

Daily staff report
Claire Mcadams | Special to the Daily Dimitri Pittas
Claire Mcadams | Special to the Daily

If you go …

What: “London Nights,” the seventh annual gala benefitting Edwards Interfaith Chapel and Community Center.

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8.

Where: Edwards Interfaith Chapel and Community Center, 32138 U.S. Highway 6, Edwards.

Cost: Individual seats are $200. Tables of 10 are also available.

More information: Contact Jill Chalfant for tickets and more information at 970-376-5320, or email jill.eic@gmail.com.

EDWARDS — On Wednesday, Aug. 8, “London Nights” will transform the Edwards Interfaith Chapel and Community Center into a London opera house for one night only.

The gala is the seventh in the annual “Nights” series benefiting the Edwards Interfaith Chapel and Community Center, each themed around a different international city. Past events have taken patrons to cities including Rio de Janeiro, Paris and Hong Kong, each celebrated with fine food, wine and music, with London being the next stop on the tour.

The evening begins in the Lamb and Flag Pub (aka the foyer of the Edwards Interfaith Chapel and Community Center) with cocktails, wine and passed hors d’ oeuvres. Guests will then enter the “opera house” for a seated gourmet dinner prepared by Executive Chef Richard A. Bailey, of Taste 5 Catering. During and after dinner, “London Nights” guests will hear favorite opera arias, encores and Broadway musical numbers performed by an ensemble of world-renowned artists.

Meet the artists

Mezzo soprano Jessica Medoff returns once again as artistic director for “London Nights.” Medoff and her husband, Michael Bunchman, who accompanies the vocal ensemble on piano, bridge the gap and blur the lines between classical, musical theater and popular music.

Medoff’s recent musical theater performances include Nettie Fowler in “Carousel” with the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater and Annie Oakley in “Annie Get Your Gun” with the Las Cruces Symphony. Also active as a film and television actress, Medoff stars in the feature film “The Heart Outright,” available on Amazon, and in September, she begins shooting the feature film “Walking with Herb,” co-starring Edward James Olmos and George Lopez.

Bunchman has worked with the New Haven Symphony, Breckenridge Music Festival, the National Festival Orchestra, Utah Festival Orchestra, the Las Cruces Symphony and at Harris Hall at the Aspen Music Festival. He and his family have just returned to the United States from Germany, where he is the music director of the International Performing Arts Institute, a summer music intensive.

Tenor Dimitri Pittas and his wife, soprano Leah Edwards, also will be returning for “London Nights.”

Pittas has performed in opera houses from New York to Paris to Vienna. His repertoire includes performances as the title role of Don Carlo, Riccardo in “Un Ballo in Maschera,” Alfredo in “La Traviata,” Tebaldo in “I Capuletti e i Montecchi,” Edgardo in “Lucia di Lammermoor,” the Duke of Mantua in “Rigoletto” and Michele in the world premiere of “La Ciociara (Two Women),” by Marco Tutino, with San Francisco Opera, directed by Francesca Zambello.

As a classical vocalist, Edwards performs primarily in concert, appearing with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, New York City Ballet Orchestra, Encores! Orchestra, the Shaar Hashomayim Anniversary Orchestra and the Utah Festival Opera Orchestra.

Rounding out the ensemble and new to the “Nights” event is baritone Peter Kendall Clark. Clark has created roles in numerous world premieres, notably Jehovah in Mark Blitzstein’s “Cain,” and has had return engagements to the New York City Opera, Caramoor Opera, Ashlawn Opera, Syracuse Opera, Belleayre Festival, St. Petersburg Opera, Chelsea Opera and Skylight Music Theatre.

Evening’s honorees

In addition to dining and entertainment, the “London Nights” evening also will feature a live auction with jewelry from The Golden Bear and Betteridge Jewelers and a condo in Hawaii, among other items, and the opportunity to purchase an aria or encore for a loved one present at the event or in honor a beloved person in your life.

“Every year, a person or a couple has been honored for their contributions to the Edwards Interfaith Chapel and Community Center, be it time talent or treasure,” said Deborah Ferris Travers, a member of the organizing committee for the event.

Honorees for this year’s event are Tom and Susan Washing, who have been instrumental in the campaign launched many years ago to build the Edwards Interfaith Chapel and Community Center. Susan served on the Board of the Edwards Community Center Foundation and also founded the annual “Nights” celebration fundraiser.

The Edwards Interfaith Chapel and Community Center supports the interfaith community with worship services for six congregations. The versatile space also hosts support groups and serves as a meeting space for local organizations including Eagle County Schools, Stone Creek School, Bravo! Vail and the Vail Symposium.

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