Pittsburgh Symphony Association took a leap of faith when it moved its three-year-old Symphony Splendor Holiday House Tour from Shadyside, where it was held twice, to Mt. Lebanon’s Virginia Manor. Adding to the challenge of drawing people from the East End “across the bridge” was some people’s confusion surrounding the symphony musicians strike, which brought concerts to a halt during the planning phase and tour but happily has now ended.
Co-chairs Cathy Trombetta of Peters, Connie Phillips of Fox Chapel and tour founder Millie Ryan of Terrace Drive in Mt. Lebanon found a welcoming community here, however, and with the help of local real estate agents were able to secure six beautiful homes on Osage and Valleyview roads and one across Cochran Road on Midway.
Mt. Lebanon’s police department helped with logistics and day-of patrol; Howard Hanna Mt. Lebanon became the tour’s first-ever corporate sponsor, and Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, headed by Louise Sturgess, Mayfair Drive, trained the docents and helped prepare the historic and architectural blurbs for the program. More than 350 musicians, docents and hosts volunteered on the day of the event.
Despite frigid windy weather that literally blew away one ticket pickup booth in the Jefferson School parking lot, the event was a success with more than 800 tickets sold. With the help of $7,900 from the patron party at the Haddad home on Hoodridge Drive, the tour netted a profit of nearly $54,000 for the symphony.