The Sound Of Music Brings The Healthy Sound Of Laughter To Children In Hungarian Hospitals

  • 18 Feb 2016 8:00 AM
The Sound Of Music Brings The Healthy Sound Of Laughter To Children In Hungarian Hospitals
In keeping with the theme of this year’s, the seventh, Smiling Hospital Charity Gala on February 13, no better overture could be had than an imprimatur from Julie Andrews, “… There is no more precious gift that can be given in life than to help and assist anyone who is suffering… particularly a child. I applaud you and your humanity, and the tireless work of Dr. Albert Royaards….”

Women elegantly gowned in long and short bursts of color and black, and men, for the most part sporting tuxedos, chatted amiably over welcome bubbly and wine as they gathered outside the co-sponsor InterContinental’s ballroom and viewed the silent auction items on display.

Seats were soon filled to capacity at twenty-two tables of ten, and while guests enjoyed the appetizer of duck confit and foie gras terrine with spiced apple chutney, strains of the popular Rogers and Hammerstein musical, later film, which itself celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, set the mood and had us tapping do-re-mi to the Károly Kós primary school children’s choir.

Albert Royaards, president of the hospital Foundation, greeted the wine infused merry-makers from near and far, compliments of Csányi Winery, among them Dutch Ambassador Mr. Gajus Scheltema. US Ambassador Colleen Bell made a cameo appearance before rushing off to another obligation. But the evening couldn’t really start before Mr. Royaards paid homage to co-founder Countess Éva Csáky-Bornemisza, who passed away toward the end of last year.

The cream of celery soup with roasted walnuts was among my favorite things, less so the slow roasted veal loin with vegetable bouquet—the veal cooked slow enough to grow into beef, the bouquet a boutonniere, perhaps a mistranslation. While at our task, we were entertained by our opera singing hostess Renáta Göncz and musical interludes with vibrant Hungarian dancing from the Pesti Magyar Theater, the National Theater of Győr, as well as renditions from Imre Kálmán’s “Csárdáskiralynő” [Csárdás Queen] by the Operetta Theater.

The alive hills of the Trapp family’s Salzburg idyll blended with performances by young talent from the Virtuosi television program, such as Bianca Sauer’s flamenco-baroque harp piece, all under the direction of Mr. András Batta, former Rector of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music and current president of the Friends of FLMA, as well as a judge on the aforementioned television production.

So as not to find climbing every mountain as daunting as handling our silverware, we were successfully distracted by a musical quiz based on clever improvisations of “Do-Re-Mi” according to particular composers guests had to guess—Liszt, Gershwin, Chopin, Rachmaninoff—adroitly presented, along with his own composition, by Ápor Szűts, a second-year composition student at the Academy whose grandfather was a pupil of Liszt’s pupil.

The apricot and brittle torte with caramelized almonds sweetened us through the inevitable raffle, a myriad of useful and whimsical items finding new homes and owners. Coffee arrived just in time for those who wished to cut up on the dance floor to the sound of the Farkas Sándor Salon Band, including light-of-foot Albert Royaards, but not before others sashayed out into the night just past midnight to welcome in Valentine’s Day.

By Amy Módly

Photos by Lugosi Péter and Posztós Csaba (Photomania),

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