WESTFIELD, NJ — The crowds were undeterred by the weather this Saturday and showed up in droves to experience the Friends of the New Jersey Festival Orchestra’s 2017 Tour of Notable Homes.
“Despite the rain, we still expected attendance to be good since so many tickets were purchased in advance,” said Alicia Barker, president of the Friends of the NJFO. About 350 tickets were sold beforehand.
A more than 30-year tradition, the annual tour has acquired a loyal following.
“I’m pretty sure that we’d have our core group in attendance even if it was snowing,” said one Friends of NJFO volunteer.
“We have an acquired interest after having done this for so many years,” added Jessica Doyle, daughter of NJFO Executive Director Linda Doyle.
Prepared with plastic bags for patrons’ wet shoes and cloth foot covers, volunteers from the Friends greeted guests at four of the area’s finest homes.
Each home featured live music from members of the Junior Musical Club in Westfield, luxury basket raffles and door prizes, along with unique vendor experiences ranging from dessert tastings to Tesla test drive raffles.
“The home tour is a key element of the funding mix that’s necessary to operate the orchestra,” said NJFO Music Director David Wroe. “Supplemental fundraising is critical because only about a third of our revenue comes from the sale of tickets.”
Proceeds from this annual fundraiser support the NJFO along with their educational outreach and music therapy programs.
“These are truly the best friends an orchestra could ever wish for,” said Elizabeth Ryan, director of marketing for the NJFO.
“I was so pleased to see that despite our concerns regarding the inclement weather, our many guests enjoyed four spectacular homes,” Home Tour Co-Chair Michelle Pierce said. “We are have already started the planning for next year's tour.”