Wine, Wit and Wisdom Wrap-up

By John Smyntek for The Friends of the Rochester Hills Public Library

The 245 guests at the Friends of the Rochester Public Library’s Wine, Wit & Wisdom March 12 lingered at the library long after dessert and coffee were served. They were savoring an evening filled with good food and drink and were eager to recount interesting facts and amusing stories they had heard during the presentations. It was the first chance they’d had to slow down after a fast-paced agenda that included food and wine interspersed with two presentations that each guest selected from a list of six interesting speakers.

Library Board member Ann Kucher, Melinda Deel and husband Ryan Deel, Kim Matis and her husband, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Matis enjoy Wine, Wit & Wisdom 2016

Library Board member Ann Kucher, Melinda Deel and husband Ryan Deel, Kim Matis and her husband, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Matis enjoy Wine, Wit & Wisdom 2016

This was the third year The Friends sponsored the fundraiser for the library. Friends’ president, Ron Meegan, was excited about the level of success the event is enjoying. “Attendance increased another 50% this year as previous guests returned and word-of-mouth spread. The feedback is exceptional. People really enjoy the evening.” Whether you were able to join the fun at this year’s event or not, you’ll want to put a hold on your March 2017 calendar to attend the 4th annual Wine, Wit & Wisdom. (Exact date to be announced.)

Once again, the high-quality speakers and interesting topics were the highlights of the evening. Harlan Neuville, a retired engineer responsible for navigation and guidance for NASA’s Apollo program, captivated his audiences with a rare look into the amazing technological feats of the missions while keeping everyone laughing with his witty style and stories.

Chuck Osberger, a 2004 graduate of Adams High School who now manages sales and warehouse operations for Frankenmuth Brewery, spoke about the ins and outs of craft beer, generating so much interest that the event ended up running out of beer.

Dr. Gilbert Jackson, director of the Jackson Chorale, mesmerized his attendees with stories of slaves singing spirituals to convey coded information and even sang several spirituals during his presentation.

John Smyntek, a retired editor with the Detroit Free Press, shared his vast experience in the Detroit newspaper industry with audiences eager to hear his thoughts on the massive changes this industry is undergoing. Lynn Miller, chef, cookbook author, and TV cooking show host, provided tips and tricks for upping one’s game as an entertainer with tasty and well-presented appetizers. And Rochester historian, Pat McKay, was back by popular demand, fascinating guests who crowded into his sessions with little-known facts about Rochester’s links to key world events.

Library director Christine Hage, indicated that Wine, Wit & Wisdom has quickly become a highly anticipated community event. “It’s a great way,” she said, “to bring people together for a fun and interesting evening while generating support for the library.”


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