Gourmet Melodies: Music, Drinks and Culinary Specialties to Benefit Hospice of Cincinnati

Photography by Daniel Smyth

It seems there has always been a symbiotic relationship between food and music. People try to select the right background music for dinner parties; consultants produce detailed research on proper Muzak for restaurants. Thanks to the proliferation of cooking shows and food blogs, some have called food “the new rock.” And chefs have become the new rock stars. 

Perhaps novelist Gregory David Roberts put it best when he wrote, “Food is music to the body, music is food to the heart.” 

If that’s true, the Bethesda Foundation’s unique new event should take care of your body and soul, as Gourmet Melodies will pair various musical acts with epicurean delights. 

Benefiting Hospice of Cincinnati, Gourmet Melodies will offer gourmet hors d’oeuvres, fine wine and craft beer. 

Gourmet Melodies replaces A Gourmet Sensation, the Bethesda Foundation’s long-running benefit that was held at the Duke Energy Convention Center. Gourmet Melodies will be held at The Center, 115 East Fifth Street, downtown, on August 15.

“Gourmet Melodies allows us to keep the flavor of A Gourmet Sensation, but add in new and more intimate experiences for our guests,” says Andy Swallow, president of the Bethesda Foundation.

“This is one of our larger fundraisers with proceeds going to support operations of Hospice of Cincinnati, which provides best-in-class end-of-life care and holistic services to more than 650 patients every day. As the area’s only nonprofit hospice serving the broad community, this event is important to provide those services.”

The Bethesda Foundation secures philanthropic resources for Bethesda Hospital, Hospice of Cincinnati and Fernside, A Center for Grieving Children. It provides funding for medical education and research, community initiatives and various hospital needs. 

Hospice of Cincinnati is the fourth oldest hospice in the country and the second largest in Ohio. While they operate four inpatient care centers, 90 percent of patients are cared for in their home. They have 540 staff members and 500 highly trained volunteers.

“We provide more than $1 million in charity care each year,” says Sandra Lobert, president and CEO of Hospice of Cincinnati.  “We rely on the support of our community to help continue end-of-life services to patients and families at such an important time in their lives.”

Hospice of Cincinnati goes beyond providing compassionate, palliative care. They offer several holistic services addressing the unique emotional, physical and spiritual needs of patients and families. Programs include art, pet and music therapy, Fernside, the children’s bereavement program, and the Goldstein Family Grief Center’s adult bereavement program. They offer a pet program called Pet Peace of Mind, which cares for, fosters and finds new homes for furry family members.

Hospice of Cincinnati recently launched a grassroots campaign called Things You Shouldn’t Wait To Say to encourage people to talk with loved ones about advance directives and how we want to be cared for near the end of our lives.

 “It’s not giving up, it’s speaking up. It’s a message of empowerment,” says Lobert.  “We should all have advance directives and then choose someone to talk for us if we are unable to talk for ourselves. If we don’t tell our surrogate what we want, then they have to guess.”

For Gourmet Melodies, organizers will pair musical genres like country, bluegrass, jazz, pop and classical with foods to match the musical moods. Wine and beer experts from Heidelberg Distributing will do the same with beverages. Heidelberg has a long history of supporting Bethesda Foundation fundraisers. “Events like Gourmet Melodies would not be possible without Heidelberg’s support,” said Swallow. 

“We are happy to have a long partnership with Bethesda Foundation fundraisers,” says Stacey Meyer, the fine wine manager at Heidelberg. “We look forward to fine tuning wine and craft beer to the food and music.” 

“The beauty of wine is there is a wine for everything. It’s versatile,” says Mary Horn, a master sommelier candidate and Heidelberg vice president of fine wine sales and education. “There are some no-brainers. For example, with seafood a citrus wine works best, and for BBQ a sticky, spicy, robust red wine.” 

We know the proper wine enhances our palates, and Gourmet Melodies organizers hope music can do the same. Scientific studies have found different sounds can influence the way we taste food. Of course, the food/music synergy isn’t a recent discovery. As Shakespeare put it, “If music be the food of love, play on.” 

For more information, contact Kimberly Best at 513.865.1621 or kimberly_best@trihealth.com or visit the website at www.bethesdafoundation.com/events/gourmet-melodies