Opera fundraiser at Villa Collina far exceeds expectations

“Everything was perfect. Perfect location, perfect atmosphere and the perfect venue for our event.” Those are the words of Michael Torano, director of marketing and public relations for the Knoxville Opera.

The event, “Under the Tuscan Moon,” was a wine dinner held in summer 2017. Organizers leveraged Villa Collina’s beauty and Italianate design in promoting the event, which also featured home tours and Italian sports cars on display in the motor court.

Torano noted that the fundraiser’s history goes back to 1998, with martini parties at private homes with 24 or fewer guests.

“About four or five years ago, we grew the event and moved to event venues,” he said. “Moving it to Villa Collina allowed us to go back to a private home with a party atmosphere and still host a large crowd. We hoped for 100-125 guests and ended up with 224, not only far exceeding our expectations but also setting the record for our best attendance at one of these fundraisers.”
Not only did the guest count exceed expectations, but the fundraiser also netted $36,000, surpassing the “hoped for” amount of $20,000 and making this the most successful in the event’s nearly 20-year history.

Torano said Villa Collina definitely played a key role in the record-breaking success and joked that he is reluctant to share the news with others because he’d like to keep the gem a secret. Torano identified these attributes as making Villa Collina the perfect setting for a successful fundraiser:

  • Atmosphere
  • Convenient location
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Wide open area for tables and entertainment
  • Lots of space for guests to mix and mingle
  • Ideal setup for valet parking

“We want to continue going to Villa Collina,” Torano said. “It is an incredible venue.”

Photos by Steven Bridges.