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Oscar Hammerstein Museum Gala raises $165,000 to support purchase of Highland Farm


It was a celebratory summer evening as theater-lovers from far and wide gathered in Buckingham, to support the nonprofit Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center (OHMTEC) in its quest to raise funds to purchase Oscar Hammerstein II’s historic Pennsylvania home, Highland Farm.

Nearly $165,000 was netted from “Broadway Sings The Sound of Hammerstein,” an exclusive gala held July 11, at The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm, the former estate of George S. Kaufman, a contemporary of Hammerstein’s.

The glamorous evening included cocktails and a three-course dinner and featured entertainment by Broadway stars Christy Altomare, Derek Klena and Justin Guarini. Ted Chapin, former president and chief creative officer of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, hosted the event. David Manning provided accompaniment on a Steinway Spirio grand piano donated by Jacob’s Music for the evening.

Over 200 supporters attended the gala, heralding from Vermont to Florida and west to California. Luminaries in attendance included Will Hammerstein, grandson of Oscar, and Melinda Mathias Walsh, Oscar’s granddaughter and member of OHMTEC’s Honorary Advisory Board.

Also in attendance was Sam von Trapp, the grandson of Baroness Maria von Trapp, from whom Rodgers and Hammerstein derived the inspiration for their blockbuster musical, “The Sound of Music.” Von Trapp is also a member of OHMTEC’s Honorary Advisory Board and provided the beer for the event from the family’s brewery, von Trapp Brewing in Stowe, Vt.

Other members of OHMTEC’s advisory board who supported the event included actress and author Mariel Hemingway, who was scheduled to attend, but had to cancel due to her filming schedule. She instead provided a welcome video for attendees. Teen actress Kassie Mundhenk, whose home is in Bucks County, spoke in support of OHMTEC via recorded video. National Medal of the Arts winning choral composer Morten Lauridsen provided a private consultation as an offering for the silent auction.

Over 70 businesses and individuals from the community came together in support of OHMTEC’s mission through sponsorships and by providing in-kind donations of goods and services for the event and auction.

A special part of the evening was performances by winners of OHMTEC’s International Youth Solo Contest.

The capstone of the evening was an audience sing-along of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “It’s a Grand Night for Singing,” led by Altomare, Guarini and Klena.

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