Vivaldi's Concerto in A Minor for Two Violins and Piano wafted out of the Senate Caucus Room, filtering through the late Saturday morning hush of the Russell Senate Office Building. The musicians: David Lloyd Kreeger (chairman of the board of trustees of the Corcoran Gallery) and Benjamin Ritter (he's in insurance as well as the Musician's Union) on violin, and Adrien Meisch (ambassador from Luxemburg and former concert pianist) on piano.
Meisch finished solo with a Chopin roll, which brought enthusiastic applause from the 50 or 60 who had gathered for brunch.
"I don't think this room has ever heard anything like that," said financier Peter Ladd Gilsey, the master of ceremonies.
The talent show was the entertainment portion of the brunch given by the washington Performing Arts Society in honor of their National Corporate Sponsors Committee, a group of businesses, that in the last six months, have pledged annual gifts to the Performing Arts Society ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. The Society listed 32 such sponsors (both national and local) on their program -- including some longtime contributors to the WPAS such as IBM. The long-range goals is to get 100 sponsors, according to WPAS director Patrick Hayes.
"We're saying 'thank you' for their corporate support," said Hayes about the brunch, hosted by Betty Bumpers the wife of Sen. Dale Bumpers (D-Ark.). "The Kennedy Center does things like this, Wolf Trap does this. Now we've entered the world of corporate support."
The brunch was the first of two "thank you's" for the Corporate Sponsors on Saturday -- the second was a black-tie dinner in the Atrium of the Kennedy Center, followed by a performance by the visiting Vienna Opera.
Other entertainers at the brunch were James W. Symington, a former representative and a folksinger of some notoriety among local socialites and politicos. Accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, Symington sang a plaintive rendition of the classic "Greensleeves" that left the crowd clapping and provoked and elated Kenneth Crosby, of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Smith ( a Corporate Sponsor) to yell out "Bravo!"
Man-about-town Steve Martindale and Susan Thompson, who works at Clyde's (she created the Omelette Room) in Georgetown, sang a duet accompanied on paino by the composer of the song, Michael Valenti, who flew in from New York for the occasion.
Martindale, who has a very good voice, also sang a rousing version of "Tomorrow" from the musical "Annie" which he introduced saying, "This is a song I've always suggested Pat (Hayes) sing at board meetings."
Rugh Frenzel, wife of Rep. Bill Frenzel (R-Minn.), sang, accompanied on piano by Joyce Brown, wife of Rep. Clarence Brown (R-Ohio).
Sen. Spark Matsunaga (D-Hawaii) sang, played the harmonica and told funny stories. And Washington TV show hostess Deena Clark, bedecked with Hawaiian lei and long dress, performed authentic Hawaiian hula dances to Hawaiian music played on a stero.