November 1 Round Robin: Crystal Charity Ball Underwriters, Graeme Jenkins Farewell, Flora Awards And Art + Advocacy

Halloween costumes and decoration were old hat last Thursday, and the fundraisers were back in full gear from the Park Cities to Fair Park and from the F.I.G. to the Winspear.

Crystal Charity Ball Underwriters Party

Old timers were eager to see the used-to-be Jimmy and Carl Westcott‘s mansion of red-brick tradition that had been transformed to a cool estate of the very cool. Since Tracy and Richard Cheatham purchased the 12,957-square-foot home-sweet-home, it had gone through a very dramatic transition from classic to ultra contemporary. Let’s think moving from Burberry to Giorgio Armani.

Lucky were the Crystal Charity Ball underwriters. For they got the opportunity to see the mansion at its grandest, with beautiful weather and diamonds galore. No, the diamonds weren’t part of the digs.

Jim and Julie Turner, Aileen Pratt and Stacy and David Blank

As if the diamonds on the guests weren’t dazzling enough, David “The Diamond Doctor” Blank and his wife Stacy arranged to have a dozen freeze-framed, tall-drinks-of-water models decked out in their rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. And these weren’t just big diamonds. These were beautifully designed pieces of gem artwork.

Diamond Dollies

The first hint of the glitter was on the wrist of CCB Chair Aileen Pratt. Yes, the ring was hers thanks to husband Jack, but the scrumptious, 13-karat diamond bracelet was courtesy of Diamond Doctor David for the evening. Alas, Aileen had to return it at the end of the evening because it will be one of the items up for grabs at the CCB auction..

Dallas Opera

Don Winspear, Stacie Whitley and Graeme Jenkins*

There were some real surprises at the Winspear Opera House as 175 people showed up for the Dallas Opera’s “Toast to Graeme Jenkins.” Organized by the opera’s Women’s Board, the reception event marked Jenkins’ 20 years as a conductor and music director of The Dallas Opera—and his decision to retire as director when his contract expires at the end of the 2012-13 season. Jenkins cited an expanding schedule with European opera companies for his decision to step down.

Just before event chair Stacie Whitley welcomed the crowd at the Winspear, a flash mob “spontaneously” broke out in the room. Thirty-five or 40 members of the Dallas Opera Chorus put down their drinks and hors d’oeuvres and broke suddenly into a rendition of the va pensioro chorus from Giuseppe Verdi’s “Nabucco” opera. Later, DO Concertmeister Jing Wang played the “Meditation” from Jules Massenet’s “Thais” opera, accompanied by Michael Heaston on piano.

Leading the guests in a literal “toast” to Jenkins, Don Winspear, chairman of the DO board of directors, praised the London-born maestro’s brilliance and versatility. And Keith Cerny, the DO’s general director and CEO, said he’s been especially proud of Jenkins’ work on the operas “Boris Gudunov” and “Tristan und Isolde.”

During the reception, Cerny said discussions are continuing to bring Jenkins back to Dallas on occasion as a guest conductor. Winspear, meantime, said that a search for Jenkins’ successor is “ongoing,” and that he is “very excited and encouraged by the candidates interested in the position.” He added that he hopes a replacement can be named by early next year.

Flora Awards (Check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for more photos)

Waverly Smith and Marilyn Waisanen

The Texas Discovery Gardens had never looked more elegant.Thanks to Flora Award Co-chairs Waverly Smith and Marilyn Waisanen, it had to be. After all, Barbara Hunt Crow was the recipient of the annual award that recognizes “outstanding Americans, who have demonstrated their commitment to community involvement, education and advancement of the environment and quality of life.”

The cocktail reception looked like central casting had assembled the overflow crowd of black-tie types including  Libby Allred in tomato

Mary Anne Cree

red low-cut gown with exquisite ruby and diamond necklace, Ebby Halliday Acers holding her “elephant” handbag, Penny Rivenbark with her Judith Leiber butterfly purse and turquoise floral gown, Sue and Phil John, Sue Smith sans husband Bob (he was in Las Vegas), Cindy and Andy Clendenen with daughter Caroline Fung, Fred and Jan Hegi, Mary Ann wearing a butterfly pin (you do know that the Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium is named after her late mother, don’t you?) and Richard Cree, Wendy and Michael Jenkins and Betty and John Crawford and loads of Hunt relatives (Herbert and Nancy Hunt, Caroline Rose Hunt, Lyda Hill and Libby Hunt).

Dinner time

Or perhaps it was the exquisite Grand Hall all decked out with glorious table settings from Posh Couture and the Steve Bayless Orchestra playing just the right tunes. And, of course, a simple daisy in a glass vase wouldn’t do on this night. Nope. Floral designer extraordinaire Junior Villanueva literally “rose” to the occasion providing the best for scents and sights.

As for the feast, Jim Lee Events served up

  • First Course — Mediterranean salad “Martini” accented with a grilled shrimp “Martini Pik”
  • The amuse — Rose petal and passion-fruit sorbet “spoon”
  • Second course — Pecan wood smoked beef tenderloin served with 3-peppercorn demi-glace, timbale of champagne risotto with Parmesan crust and brandied lobster cream, French green bean “bundle” with caramelized lemon glaze and artisan breads with custom butter
  • The dessert —Amaretto Godiva molten lava cake with cointreau-infused berries

Art + Advocacy

Lynn Davis, Laura Green and Jordan Roth*

Lynn M. Davis, president and CEO of the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, said he was very pleased.

Before the 6th Annual Art + Advocacy Auction Party had even begun, the fundraiser had raked in $400,000 for the advocacy center, without selling a single piece of art.

That figure was already $25,000 more than was netted in total for the group at last year’s affair.

And, the 620 guests who turned out for the 2012 event at the Fashion Industry Gallery were determined to raise even more for the center, which serves about 2,000 local child-abuse victims and their families each year.

Chuck and Lindsay Jacaman*

The guests proceeded to do so by bidding in live and silent auctions on works of art by new and established artists, as well as art created by child-abuse victims in DCAC’s art therapy program.

Among the offered works—all of them donated–were oils, pencil drawings, photographs and mixed-media creations from galleries including Barry Whistler, Holly Johnson and Craighead Green.

Helping set the party mood at the F.I.G.—honorary co-chair John Sughrue donated the trendy space—were DJ Lucy Wrubel; Andrews Distributing; and caterer Wendy Krispin.

Patricia Meadows*

Event chairs Lindsay and Chuck Jacaman served as event chairs, while Patricia B. Meadows was the honorary art chair.

The day of the auction party, Davis disclosed, an anonymous donor came forward with $25,000.

During the evening’s Call for Cash this donor matched an additional $25,000—and then offered an additional $50,000 if the noisy crowd would pipe down so the auction could proceed.

Thanks to his and others’ generosity, the final net for the children’s advocacy center was more than $500,000. Now that was a pretty picture.

* Photo credit: Glenn Hunter

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