By LINDA CHION KENNEY
In keeping and breaking with tradition, Victorian Carolers and other musical groups from Riverview High are set to perform again in December for the Riverview Woman’s Club, which now accepts men and is opening its holiday event to the community at large.
Since its establishment in 2012, the club has hosted a holiday luncheon featuring Riverview High School musical groups under the tutelage of Liz Stewart, the school’s long-time director of choral activities.
New this year, the event will be held at night, over dinner, at the Summerfield Crossings Golf Club in Riverview, at 13050 Summerfield Crossings Blvd.
“A Night of Holiday Music and Cheer” is set to run Wednesday, Dec. 18, from 6 to 9 p.m., featuring a buffet dinner, raffle, cookie exchange and 50/50 cash drawing.
Set to perform are Riverview High’s Vision show choir, Harmonix jazz ensemble and three Sweet Adelines barbershop quartets — the all-male Chromatic Blues and both Choral Dysfunction and Chordal Dysfunction, featuring female seniors and freshmen, respectively.
Also on tap, Victorian Carolers, “who sing Victorian-era music in Victorian costumes, modeled after Voices of Liberty,” Stewart said, in reference to the choir of a cappella singers that performs at Walt Disney World’s World Showcase at Epcot.
The Victorian Carolers, comprised of 12 male and female students of all ages, has 15 events scheduled for December, with a few spots still open for booking. Proceeds raised benefit the school’s chorus program.
“Every year Liz brings her students, and it’s really, really an amazing performance,” said Donna Fore, who with Jeanne Burkeson, founded the Riverview Woman’s Club. “Every year I sit there and tear up, watching these kids and hearing their talents. We thought this year, why not? Let’s do it at dinner and invite as many as we can from the community to see this wonderful teacher and her talented students.”
For her part, Stewart said she is thrilled club members continue to ask her students to perform.
“They’re the pillars of our community,” said Stewart, who grew up in Brandon and graduated from Brandon High, where she said she experienced a strong school-community connection. “Riverview reminds me of that, where the community is very supportive of school activities, and the Riverview Woman’s Club is very supportive of our school. It’s only appropriate that we would participate in their event.”
Moreover, “It’s important for my kids to take their music outside the walls of school, to share it with other people,” Stewart said. “It makes it that much more meaningful.”
The nonprofit Riverview Woman’s Club is driven by its mission “to enrich the quality of life in our community through fundraising activities to provide scholarships, to deliver education needs and to identify community outreach and help lessen the needs.”
The scholarship application period typically starts in January and runs through March, open to high school seniors who live in Riverview or whose parents are Riverview Woman’s Club members. Typically, about five $1,000 scholarships are awarded annually.
The club over the summer started opening its membership to men, said Fore, who added there are two male members, with more encouraged to join the fold.
“A lot of gentlemen out there support the Riverview Woman’s Club, and they come to all our events,” Fore said. “We started talking about it, that we need to allow men to be affiliate members of our club. It’s all about equal rights, right?”
Fore is a past president of the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce. In 1994, she and her husband, Timothy “Pat” Fore, opened PF Auto Class, specializing in mobile auto glass repair. The company in 2018 received the chamber’s Business of the Year award for businesses with up to five employees.
The Riverview Woman’s Club meets the third Wednesday of the month at The Venue in the Shoppes of Boyette, at 11268 Boyette Road, across the street from Riverview High School. The cost of membership is $50 annually and the cost of the monthly luncheon is $15. There is no luncheon in December due to the holiday event.
Tickets for “A Night of Holiday Music and Cheer” on Dec. 18 can be purchased online at RiverviewWomansClub.org. Email: RiverviewWomansClub@gmail.com or Heather Michael, club president, at HairGirl75@gmail.com. For more information, call: 813-384-8633.