TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Gala Is Sold Out

If you put off getting a place at tonight’s TACA Custom Auction Gala at the Mansion, you’d better locate a tony scalper because the event is sold out.

TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Item #8

Of course, Paris is a required stop for anyone who has ever been to France. But to truly experience the “French connection,” you’ve got to explore the truly captivating countryside with its oh-so charming villages that were thriving before Columbus met Queen Isabella.

For those interested in such a French adventure, we offer TACA auction item #8:

Item #8 — Ahhh . . . Paris and the French Countryside (Value: $20,905)

After your American Airlines flight ala business class from Dallas to Paris, you and your companion will find your junior suite at Le Bristol Hotel just waiting for your  two-night stay in the City of Lights. This five-star hotel with its exquisite French garden, is perfectly situated on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore near the world-famous fashion boutiques and art galleries along with the Champs-Elysees, Place de la Concorde, Louvre and Orsay museums.

Following your stay in the big city, you’ll be ready to experience the French country life in the 600-year old St. Jean de Cole. On the banks of the Cole, it is considered the most beautiful village in the Dordogne region of France. And, of course, TACA has arranged for you to stay in the most beautiful house in this most beautiful city in the region — Maison Rose. The 400-year old row house is furnished with French antiques and has three-bedroom house that sleeps six. So why not invite friends to sleep over during your week-long stay?

And to make you feel more comfortable with the French, TACA has arranged for four one-hour lessons with SMU French lecturer, Dr. Heather Pelletier.

The Trains At NorthPark Are Going Through A Refreshening

After 12 years folks normally “refresh” their homes with a new coat of paint, an overhaul of the kitchen or entirely new furnishings. So, it’s no surprise that the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas have had The Trains at NorthPark redesigned.

According to Trains co-chair Christine “Sleep Experts” Cook, “There will be some favorite America landmarks as in years past, but there will be some surprises as well, so we invite everyone to visit and to tell their family and friends.”

The redesign  of the 1,600 square feet of track, more than 800-square feet of train layouts area and hundreds of buildings was executed by Dallas-based TrainWorx by T.W. Design.

Photo provided by Ronald McDonald House of Dallas

Christine and her co-chair Amy Davis (pictured left with Christine Cook) also reported,

“We are thrilled to announce that JoAnne and Eddy Moore are our Honorary Trains chairs this season. We are also excited that Bank of Texas has returned to be the Presenting Sponsor, thanks to Bank of Texas Chairman and CEO Norm Bagwell. Their support, along with the community’s, is so important because we recently opened a new House, and these dollars help many families.”

Attracting 80,000 people each year, the holiday favorite will choo-choo from November 20, 2010 to January 2, 2011, between Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.

JUST IN: Stephen Sondheim’s Appearance Is Off For Today Due To Illness

Stephen Sondheim has canceled his appearance today at the two Nasher Salon Series events at Booker T. Washington and at the Nasher Sculpter Center due to illness.

Nasher spokesperson Kristen Gibbins reports,

“Ticket holders may choose to hold on to their tickets for guaranteed seating at a future Salon date with Mr. Sondheim yet to be determined or have the option to receive an immediate refund by calling Click N’ Print tickets at 888.695.0888.  We are sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.”

Will keep you posted on the rescheduled date.

Pat And Emmitt Smith Add To Their Family

Provided by Treasure You

Couple-of-the-year Pat and Emmitt Smith (pictured) just added another cutie to their brood. Elijah Alexander James Smith was born last night at 7:45 p.m. Weighing 6 lbs., 6 ounces and measuring 19 inches, he is a very lucky little fellow with parents like Perfect Pat and Superman Emmitt.

Sidenote: While Emmitt has been in the spotlight recently with professional football’s Hall of Fame and everything under the sun, Pat has been equally starring in her role at Treasure You and her numerous charitable projects. In the meantime, she has also been raising the rest of the Smith kiddos, looking fabulous and supporting her husband. Makes you realize how smart Emmitt is to have a wife like Pat.

TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Item #7

If you love food and art, you have found your TACA auction item. In one similar auction, a couple paid highly for a dinner for their friend just with Jaap. But this year, you can have the whole kit and kaboodle!

Item # 7 — Stellar Cellar Dining, Star-filled Salon Conversation (value: Priceless)

The Dallas arts community has made headlines internationally in the last year. From the new AT&T Performing Arts Center to critical acclaim for local productions, Dallas is the talk of art world.

Now, you and three other couples can chat all about the performing arts over dinner with the Dallas Arts Triumvirate — (pictured from the left) Dallas Symphony Orchestra‘s Music Director Jaap van Zweden, Dallas Theater Center‘s Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty and Dallas Opera‘s General Director Keith Cerny.

And just where would an appropriate place for such a supper to take place? You wouldn’t want to be in a crowded dining room. No, you would want an intimate spot far from boisterous noise and those nasty eavesdroppers. Ah, but the food and wines would have to be top notch.

TACA is an old hand at picking such a spot — The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek’s Wine Cellar! To match the quality of these renowned artists, none other that the Mansion’s Executive Chef Bruno Davaillon will prepare a four-course dinner paired with one-of-a-kind wines by Moet Hennessy including Krug Champagne, Cloudy Bay, Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Newton “The Puzzle,” Chateau Cheval de Andes and Veuve Cliquot Demi-Sec.

BTW, you won’t have to worry about driving home after the wearing hosting duties. You’ll spend the night at the Mansion with in-room breakfast for two and overnight valet parking.

Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival Brings Anne-Marie McDermott To Dallas

As long as Dallas summers have been hot, locals have sought refuge in Colorado. It had everything that Texans wanted but couldn’t find in this neck of the woods — mountains, tall timber and cool temperatures.

However, in recent summers another item appeared on the Colorado radar — the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. Not only is this world-famous festival located near one of Dallasites’ favorite Colorado towns (Vail), it  also features  the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as one of its three orchestras in residence (the other two are the New York Philharmonic and The Philadelphia Orchestra).

Needless to say, the relationship between the DSO and Bravo! is cozy. Monday night it became downright adorable as a perfect storm of Vailies and Dallasites came together at Shirley and Bill McIntyre‘s incredible 10,700-square-foot home designed by San Antonio architect Tim Blonkvist. The occasion was a very small gathering of DSO patrons for a private recital by renowned pianist Anne-Marie McDermott (pictured), who will be part of the DSO’s “Beethoven’s Triumph” (Thursday, September 23 – Sunday, September 26).

Before the recital began, it was an opportunity for locals to chat with the blue ribbon ambassadors of the Bravo! including VVF Executive Director John Giovando, who seemed right at home.

Who wouldn’t?

The McIntyres not only have a magnificently built home to complement the surrounding trees and lush grounds with its charming creeks, they are also tops when it comes to hospitality. (Reminder: When Armani was in town for the Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show a couple of years ago, it was the McIntyre home that was the scene of the patron party. How very appropriate that Shirley wore Armani Monday night.)

Then Anne-Marie was introduced by a coterie of men including John, Jaap, Bill and Alan. The very eloquent VVF Chairman of the Board of Trustees Alan Kosloff (pictured right with Judy Kosloff) told the group, “You should be very proud, because the Dallas Symphony today is a world-class orchestra.”

In flawless white, Anne-Marie’s performance of Bach’s English Suite No. 2 in A Minor, BMV 807 was equally flawless. Her fingers flew on the ivories in the McIntyres’ living room. Then she performed selections from Chopin, Schumann/Liszt and Gruenfeld. The audience of 50 was mesmerized.

But the night was not limited to the fluid skills of Ms. McDermott. There was much catching up among the musical set including Gary Cogill‘s (pictured with Shirley McIntyre) looking forward to his new career with his newly-formed company, LasCaux Films LLC, after he signs off as arts editor for WFAA on Friday, October 8.  After reviewing 10,000 films and at age 57, “I’m interested in being great and taking risks,” he said. In addition to LasCaux, he’s taking on his own personal project. It will be a documentary called “Dinners” featuring a bunch of locals doing good food and wine and conversation and music. Filmed over multiple nights, it features the likes of Dean Fearing, Nick Badovinus, actress/songbird Betty Buckley, SMU coach Junes Jones and former Dallas Cowboy Daryl Johnston.  Gary admitted that after covering the DSO’s performances at VVF, “I’ve fallen in love again with classical music. (Jaap and the orchestra) energized me.” Gary was just nominated for two regional Emmys for his WFAA special on Jaap, “The Man and The Music,” and for another interview done separately on Jaap. He also indicated that WFAA was searching for his replacement and that the focus would be on the fine arts as opposed to movies . . .Peggy Thompson came solo since husband Jere was out of town playing golf. She told Vailie Judy Kosloff that she managed to get Jere to attend a classical performance at the VVF. Then she added it was Gershwin, but she was easing her husband into the classical mode. . . Marilyn Augur looked relieved to have the Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show behind her. While she was thrilled to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, it was all the makeup that the honorees had to wear for their presentation that was a strain. . . Jaap introduced his son Benjamin to new DSO President/CEO Paul Stewart and his sweetheart/wife/Winstead  McGuire PC attorney Melissa (pictured left with Marilyn Augur and Paul Stewart).

After Monday night, the relationship between Dallas and Vail just progressed from going steady to being downright engaging.

TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Item #6

Since TACA benefits the arts, it’s only fitting that an auction item involves the Texas Ballet Theater. While some think the ballet package suitable for a grandmother or mother to gift a coterie of little ones, it just might be perfect for gals who struggled through ballet lessons a couple of decades ago.

Item #6 — Sunday Holiday Brunch and Ballet with the Girls – Sunday, December 5. (Value: Priceless)

On Sunday, December 5, a dozen friends will start the day with a brunch in “The Glass House” on the second floor of Neiman Marcus’ flagship store. During the feast, a couple of winners from the Youth American Grand Prix International Ballet Competition Award will drop by for photos and to sign autographs with each of the guests. For those not aware of the ballet world, the visit by the twosome would be like having the competing quarterbacks for the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic stop by to “Hi.”

Then it’s off to the Winspear to attend the Texas Ballet Theater’s performance of The Nutcracker. While other patrons will go to the lobby during intermission, not your group. Heavens, no! Your dozen will go backstage for a tour and have the performers sign a pair of pointe shoes for each of your guests to take home.

But it doesn’t end for your Cinderella following the performance. One lucky member of your group will have classes with the Texas Ballet Theater School  in either the spring or fall semester of 2011. The tough part will be your deciding who will be the fortunate prima ballerina.

Rawlins Gilliland To Provide Comic Relief On KERA

One of MySweetCharity’s favorite bon vivants/ wordsmiths is going to be on the radio-waves Wednesday. Rawlins Gilliland (pictured left with, from the left, Mona and Honey) will be on  KERA-FM (90.1) from 9 to 11 a.m. during “The Diane Rehm Show.”

What will he be doing? According to Rawlins,

“I will attempt to deliver some comic relief to what promises to be an exhausting Pledge Drive. Any amount, however small, called into the station or done online will really make me smile. I am not used to smiling on air live at 9 a.m.”

Share-A-Date: National Philanthropy Day Luncheon

Friday, November 12 @ Hyatt Regency Dallas: The 25th Annual National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon will honor the following:

  • Outstanding Philanthropists — The Hallam Family
  • Outstanding Foundation — The Sammons Dallas Foundation
  • Outstanding Corporation — AT&T, Inc.
  • Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser — Cecile Bonte
  • Outstanding Fundraising Executive — David Krause
  • Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy — Leah Prager

TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Item #5

What would an black-tie auction be without a little bling, bling? Flat! And the TACA RBC Wealth Management Customer Auction is about as flat as a Louboutin boot. But leave it to TACA to add a little extra oomph to their jewelry offering.

Item #5 — Living on Texas Time (apologies to Tulsa) – Neiman Marcus and BVLGARI – now both time-honored Dallas traditions. (Value: $32,000)

It wouldn’t be absolutely correct to say that since the beginning of time, Bulgari has been ticking. But since elegant people have recognized that timepieces were works of art, Bulgari has been producing the gems that donned wrists in boardrooms and in ballrooms.

TACA has arranged for “His and Hers” Bulgari watches for the winning bidder —

  • His is a 42mm chrono automatic function, steel case and bracelet, silver dial with central date
  • Hers is a 33 mm automatic movement, 18kt yellow gold case and bracelet, silver dial with central date

But let’s not stop with this time-honored item. TACA has also arranged for you enjoy a two-day stay in NYC with accommodations at The Plaza. In addition you’ll spend a day at Bulgari in NYC and lunch with Nichola Bulgari (vice chairman of Bulgari Group and grandson of its founder). This is a rare treasure for  isn’t a collector or just someone with time on his/her hands.

MSC SweetDeal: Question #5

MySweetCharity was recently asked if a person or persons could bid on an ad space to thank a group or to congratulate an organization/person for a job well done.

The answer is “Heck, yes!” We love being the online Hallmark card.

If you need details on the auction process, just go here.

The auction for October ads ends this Saturday at 6 p.m.  So, just send your questions and bids to [email protected]

BTW, there are some bargains still available much to the chagrin of Mr. MSC Accountant.

Dallas Contemporary Packs ‘Em In for Legends Salute To Joan Davidow

Dallas Contemporary has had a rough go of late. There were the problems with postponing the opening due to little thing like a city permit. Then there was the air conditioning. Or, rather the lack of an air-conditioning system.  And finally there was the stepping aside of its leader Joan Davidow that had many wondering, “What the heck is going on there?” and, “Is it going to survive?”

Well, Thursday night all the problems of the past seemed to be history and the question of DC’s future was looking more promising than Jackson Pollock of the 1940’s. The occasion was the Contemporary Legends 2010 Grand Event honoring Joan Davidow, who had mother-henned the venture through various stages for decades.

One skeptic called a few days ahead and was reassured that the AC was in place and blowing. If you don’t understand the concern, you haven’t been to the former gargantuan space sans artificial air.   But, yes, the AC was going full steam ahead for the hundreds that arrived on the scene and what a scene it was.

All the be’s and wannabe’s of the Dallas art community were there. Joyce Goss in a great raspberry top was front and center assuring friends that the opening of the relocated Goss-Michael Foundation was on schedule for a November opening.  . . . Billie Leigh Rippey just barely made it to the party having just returned from the planning launch of the Red Cross Tiffany Circle in Houston. She had been comparing notes with Houston to-be-counterpart Bobbie Nau. The name of Joanne Herring as honorary chair of the chapter was part of the mix, too. . . . Michael “Mike” Thompson opted to get in the swing of things by wearing a tail. Why, oh why, does the expression, “Don’t ask, don’t tell” seem to apply to this situation?. . . Jeanne Marie Clossey (pictured left with, from the left, Allen Questrom and David Nichols) looking younger than ever (perhaps it’s the tan and freckles. Boy, can she wear those freckles!) admitted that since chairing the Performing Arts Center launch, she had gone under the radar. When confronted that she needed to roll up her couture sleeves and fundraise again, she admitted that she was worn out from fundraising and was seriously thinking about getting back to the grassroots of teaching. Lucky students!!. . . Veletta Forsythe Lill reported that she had just held her first public hearing on mobile food trucks and “was very encouraged.”

After eyeballing some of the works by Kit Reisch (pictured) and chowing down on food from around the world,  the program took place with the likes of chair Laura Boekman, past Legend recipient Kelli Questrom and sculptor Frances Bagley. Joan’s husband Stuart Glass stole the show with a love fest and a slight twist of the tongue. He told the crowd that their loss was his gain. Now under normal circumstances, that would be perfectly normal. Duh. But at one point in the evening a speaker asked the 450  to applaud if they loved Joan. It was noted that a uncomfortable number of hands stayed in their laps. They must have been newcomers to the art world and guests of the old-timers.

TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Item #4

Sometime the very best things are in our very own backyard. Since your schedule is pretty overloaded and there is no time to coordinate travel, you’re interested in something nearby that is going to happen immediately. Well, has TACA got an item for you, especially if you’re hungry and know 29 others that share your need for immediate, one-of-a-kind gratification.

Item #4 – Cuisine That Counts (Value: Priceless)

Some Dallasites would rather “cross the Rubicon” than the Trinity. Oh, that was so yesterday! Perhaps it’s the construction of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge or the projected plans for the Trinity that have change old ways. Or perhaps it’s because some of Dallas most creative types have hunkered down in the neighborhood.

Regardless, it’s also gained quite a reputation for unique and fun dining experiences that can’t be found north of the river. For instance 48 Nights that dazzled both chefs and gourmets with excitement.

Now father of 48 Nights and Sylvan Thirty Brent Jackson, who is known for doing nothing like ordinary people, will host a very special dinner for 30 in the former home of 48 Nights in North Oak Cliff. “A local renowned local chef” will create a multi-course supper for you on Monday, October 18.

So just imagine all the hoop-la you heard about 48 Nights and how people fought to attend one of the evenings. Now you can have it all to yourselves and your very special friends.

Oh, and don’t worry. No conflict with the Cowboys schedule. They’re playing the day before.

TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Item #3

Whether you’re an old hand at fashion shows or know someone who pours through W, you just know the ultimate is Fashion Week in New York. Everyone from fashion editors to buyers vye for a place at “certain designers’ shows.” What’s more you want to make sure that you have the “right person” to escort you. TACA has come up with an auction item that solves all your worries and even more. Think Tribeca loft, tailor-made dress and turning your friend green with envy.

Item #3: Lela Rose “Runway and Dinner Party” – February 13th During New York Fashion Week (Value: Priceless)

Photo from Neiman Marcus and Lela Rose

Lela Rose is the hometown gal who has made it big in the Big Apple as well as the fashion world. Just getting a seat at her show during Fashion Week is a feat. So imagine being able to have a party of six at the Fall 2011 show! Oh, but it gets better. . . so much better.

NM’s Ken “Mr. Fashion Plate” Downing will join your party for the show at Lincoln Center. Afterwards, you, your friends and Ken will mosey on back stage to chat with Lela and “share with her YOUR pick from the runway.” Lela will put into motion the plans to have your selection made specifically for you.

More? Yes!

The next morning, you’ll meet Lela at her studio to take measurements and to discuss details of your outfit int he making.

Later than day, you and your friends will lunch at on the seventh floor of Bergdorf Goodman’s at BG, the Kelly Wearstler-designed restaurant.

And by now, you, Lela and Ken are such buds, you and your party will have cocktails and dinner at Lela’s (and husband Brandon Jones) recently-renovated Tribeca loft. You just know that with parents like Deedie and Rusty Rose that the art is going to be amazing.

Oh, and please don’t be surprised when a “Fashion Notable” arrives to join you for Lela’s handmade margaritas.

What a simply way to get your fall wardrobe headed in the right direction!

TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Item #2

You’re not supposed to play favorites. Oh, sure you can when it comes to this item going on the auction bloc this Friday at the TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Gala at the Mansion.

After all these years, many of us have just taken for granted that every place has a hometown favorite like the Mansion on Turtle Creek. Refresher course is needed. Each of the Rosewood hotels and resorts throughout the world is as unique and superior as its founder Caroline Hunt. That’s why this package is so out of this world, or rather, around this world!

Read and dream about:

Item #2 – Around the World with Rosewood – Oh the places you could go, or send someone special you know. (Valued: $14,000)

Sorry, but you don’t get to pick a three-day stay at

Nope, if yours is the winning bid, you get them all plus airfare for two thanks to American Airlines!  Just imagine what you can do during your stays at these incredible spots. No, don’t! Because you can actually do it all with the right bid.

After you win, all you have to do is pick the dates, make sure your passport is current and pack your bags.

Vino, Vino, Vino

Wine, anyone?

Booker T. Washington Students Get All The Breaks

Watch out,  Harvard, Stanford and Juilliard. It’s Dallas’ Booker T. Washington that’s drawing talent both in the classrooms and to the classrooms. Next week both Glenn Close (Wednesday) and Stephen Sondheim (Thursday) will be in town and have scheduled time to work with the students.

And even after-hour extracurricular activities aren’t too shabby either. Tonight 150 kids will be at the AR Rahman concert at the American Airlines Center as guests of the promoter. Seems the concert didn’t sell out, so smart promoter provided the kiddos with $75 tickets.

If AR doesn’t sound familiar, you probably know him as the composer of “Slumdog Millionaire.”

TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Item #1 With More To Come

Just a week away and the TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction items have been finalized. The operative word is “custom.” These are fabulous offerings that prove how creative the gala Chairmen Nancy and Clint Carlson and the TACA elves are and why their auctions are more fun than having Cary Grant bid. Speaking of Cary, the people watching should be stellar next Friday at the Mansion for the black tie dinner and auction.

So, because we want you to be on top of things, MySweetCharity is going list one item each day leading up to the day of the auction when we’ll post the final two items.

Here’s the first one up for your consideration:

Item #1 — Napa is calling: From the Halls of Dallas, Texas to the Hall Winery of Napa Valley (Value: $18,060)

Kathryn and Craig Hall (pictured left with Kathryn) will host four people in two suites at the Halls’ La Residence during the four-night stay. Talk about a piece of heaven! They’ve also arranged for tours and tastings at Hall Rutherford winery and Hall St. Helena winery. In addition, the winning bidders will also have two one-hour tennis lessons with Acceleration Tennis founder Doug King over at Meadowood. Suggestion: After the lessons with Doug, have a drink on the restaurant’s terrace overlooking the croquet lawn. Between La Residence and Meadowood, you may not want to use the return part of your American Airlines roundtrip tickets. But you’ll definitely want to return to Dallas because the Halls are sending you home with three beautifully etched and painted, large format bottles of

  • 2006 HALL Napa Valley Cabernet Savignon,
  • 2006 HALL “Kathryn Hall” Cabernet Savignon and
  • 2006 HALL Exzellenz Cabernet Sauvignon.

Why just those three bottles alone are valued at $2,300!

BTW, only a few seats for the Friday night event are left at the $1,500 level.

Cattle Baron’s “The Great State Fair” Is Just Around The Corner

Cattle Baron’s Ball is nearing the sell-out stage. With 3,000 at Southfork, this year’s “The Great State Fair” is promising to be the “best state fair in our state.” Instead of Ann-Margret, Pat Boone and Bobby Darin, it’ll be Jack Ingram and Alan Jackson handling the live entertainment.

Top item for raffling this year is going to be a 2011 Porsche Boxer.

And it’s not too late to get a ticket. There are just a scant few left, so hustle and get your ticket to the fairest fair of them all.

Let Your Best Friend Get Wet This Weekend

Just checked the weather this weekend and it’s going to be in the 90’s. . . again. But that’s good news! It’ll be perfect weather for you to take your best friend to a pool party.

Instead of just sitting around the yard (pictured), why not let your pooch join the other canines at the 2nd annual Wags & Waves at Hawaiian Falls Waterpark – Firewheel in Garland. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., it’ll be open partying in the pools for pets and people.

For those who don’t want to get wet, [Read more…]

Share-The-Date: St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 @ the Hilton Anatole: The “Save the Date” cards are in the mail for the St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This year should be a killer with Holly Pellham Davis as a Co-Chair and clothes by Stanley Korshak.

Let’s just hope that it’s another mega-success for LLS without the follow-up snowstorm.

MySweetCharity Rules About Fake Commenters

MySweetCharity loves a good conversation. Who doesn’t? But exchanges need to be honest and logged in under a consistent name with a “real email address.” We’ve noticed that other blogs have suffered from one person commenting under several “noms de plume.” Guess they’re either hoping to make it appear

  • that traffic is running high on their blogs or
  • that several people are participating in the conversation.

Alas, the MySweetCharity community is open and friendly. For this reason, fictitious email addresses (like “[email protected]” or “[email protected]”) will not be approved. Let’s stay honest and keep the conversation going.

AT&T DSO Gala Dazzled With Fashions, Music And A Knitter

(Editor’s note: Please check our Photo Gallery for additional pictures from the Gala.)

For the first time in his illustrious career, Dallas Symphony Orchestra music director Jaap van Zweden conducted a knitter in addition to his stable of world-class musicians Saturday night at the AT&T Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala. Ah, but more about that later.

Quite frankly, the evening could have stopped with the reception in the lobby of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Still the grand dame of the Arts District, the Meyerson oozed elegance and was the perfect showplace for Dallas’ most dressed-to-the-nines crowd. It was almost as if they had been hibernating all summer and were just dying to have a reason to go black tie.

How about a quick rundown of the formal attire? Christi Urschel in a short hottest pink Oscar de la Renta and Myrna Schlegel in a favorite black Vera Wang made entrances with husbands Hal Urschel and Bob Schlegel (pictured left with, from the left, Myrna, Christi and Hal) . . . Crystal Charity’s Best Dressed honoree Pat McEvoy was in a black Zac Posen with delicious cut-out back with husband Charlie, who couldn’t remember who designed his tuxedo. “She knows,” he said pointing to Pat. To which Ms. Pat laughed, “I’m his personal shopper.” . . 2009 Gala Co-chair Barbara Durham in a sweeping gown of colors arrived with husband/co-chair Steve and Julie Rado in a body-clinging rich blue gown with her husband Steve. . .Almost as tall as the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Shelli Curtis was stopping traffic in her form-fitting, black-and-white Carmen Marc Valvo. . . Jim Augur came solo in a marvelous vest and string tie made from “the sleeves of a kimono.” His MIA date was home in bed under the weather. . . Speaking of the Far East, Nicole LeBlanc (with husband/KERA’s Bill Jeff Zeeble) designed her hat, while her dress was made of Thai silk. . . Whipping off her sunglasses just as she entered the Meyerson, Roberta Corbett‘s white and “billowy” dress came from Neiman’s, but she couldn’t recall the designer. Shoot!. . .Mary Beth Marshall with husband Jay decided to take the short, black dress route in her Badgley Mishka.  . . While soon-to-be-DSO President Paul Stewart (he officially takes over September 16) chatted with Mont Blanc regional manager Lisa Molina, soon-to-be-DSO First Lady Melissa Stewart was having a grand time with Cece Smith (pictured right with Melissa). Melissa couldn’t recall the designer of her gown, but she got it at Tootsies. Evidently she surprised some folks who had expected her to wear something a little more conservative, but she liked the dress. “I’ve always been a little funky,” she said.  (Editor’s note: We called Tootsies to find out the designer, but hadn’t heard from them when we posted. Still it was a great dress both on the Meyerson staircase and on stage!). . . Modern Luxury‘s Stacy Girard looked like a million dollars in her true-blue, cleavage showing Nicole Miller. . . Best buy of the night belonged to Stacie Adams, whose red gown cost a whopping $50. No, we didn’t leave a couple of zeroes off that number. It was $50 at Neiman’s. Next time Stacie goes clothes hunting, we’ve got to go with her. . . But the lady who stole the evening and most of the second and third glances was van Zweden sculptor-daughter Anna-Sophia van Zweden (pictured). Sorry, we didn’t get the name of the designer, but it was more than the gown that cinched it for Anna-Sophia. Her hair, her makeup, her jewelry translated into “WOW!”

To match the parade of patrons, Decor Chairs Barbara Daseke (who will be chairing next year’s gala) and Todd Fiscus turned the entire lobby into a magnificent garden complete with the shrubbery people on stilts who surprised some guests.

At 7 a “sumptuous seated dinner” was served to the black-tied 600, but the partying didn’t stop. Late-to-arrive Shirley and Robert “Bob” Miller were no sooner seated than Bob’s fellow Morning News scribe Gromer Jeffers (pictured standing, with, from the left, Bob and Shirley Miller) checked in on them. He’d been making the rounds earlier with all the politico types like City Councilperson Angela Hunt. . . SMU Board of Trustees President Caren Prothro joined Nancy and Jeremy Halbreich.

Oh, you’re more interested in what was served? Thought so. For all those foodie lovers, here’s what chef Tim Semenuk cooked up:

  • A salad of slow roasted sliced duck breast in a medley of wild arugula and mesculin greens with grilled white asparagus, hearts of palm, roasted slivered almonds and champagne grapes served with a raspberry chipotle vinaigrette. It was paired with a chardonnay from Franciscan Estate.
  • The entree was a herb encrusted beef filet with sautéed mushrooms, chive mousseline, golden potato daughinoise tart, glazed carrots, roasted bell peppers and haricot vert.  A nice cabernet sauvigon from Sterling Vineyards topped it off.
  • Dessert was a charming little plate of sweet treats including pineapple rosemary tart and chocolate raspberry mousse cup.

At 8:30 it was time for all the lovelies to toddle into the hall. As Melissa and Paul Stewart entered the stage to welcome the guests, one part of the audience stood up and cheered. Why one would have thought they were cheering their favorite high school football team! Perhaps they were giving Paul a boost of encouragement in his new position as head of the DSO. BTW, outgoing DSO President Doug Adams (today is his last day) was not present for the evening’s festivities. He’s been coordinating his move back to Colorado. Honorary Gala Chairs Lenise and Randall Stephenson were then introduced and in turn recognized 50 student guests in the Orchestra Terrace who were enthralled with the whole scene.

Then the musicians came on stage and took their seats. Next came Jaap who without hesitation led the orchestra in The Star-Spangled Banner to a standing house. Applause. Everyone took their seat.

While others will review the performances, you might like to hear about our little knitter. Unlike the evil Madame Defarge, she was the very sweet Daphne Itashiki (pictured), who  toiled tirelessly seated quietly keeping her needles moving to the tempo of Jaap’s faster-than-a-speeding bullet Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.  Dressed all in black including her lace gloves, she wore a white-and-silver bow in her black hair. She was far from bored with the evening. She is an old hand at orchestral life. Her mom Heidi is a DSO violinist. And what was Daphne knitting? A baby gift for her piano teacher.

Another person of musical note in the audience was KLUV’s Jody Dean, who had just returned from a vacation with soon-to-be-ex-wife Emily and their adorable daughter Maddie. Now, that’s a civilized split!

Jody reported that he’s kept in contact with his mentor Ron Chapman, who had offered the following Top Ten Ways to Save the Symphony:

  • 10: “Flip Flop” Nights
  • 9:  Special “Coughing” Section
  • 8:  Open Bar in the Boxes
  • 7:   Lucky Seat Holder gets to Play Cymbals
  • 6:  “Chair Massage” Matinees
  • 5:   Turkey Leg Tuesdays
  • 4:  “Hoop It Up” in Back Balconies
  • 3:   “Clothing Optional” Weekends
  • 2:    Intermission  Movies
  • …and the Number One thing that’ll bring the Public Back to the Symphony……..The Upper Terrace Mechanical Bull.

Following intermission, most guests returned to their seats. Some, like Texas Monthly‘s Skip Hollandsworth with his two best girls (wife Shannon and dotter Tyler, who has all the signs of being Skip’s equal in wit and charm) opted to get an early start at the post-concert party being hosted by Anna-Sophia.

Alas, if only they had returned to the hall, they would have learned about a generous gift. . . maybe. Before beginning the second part of the evening’s concert, Jaap took the opportunity to make an announcement. While normally his English is easy to understand, for some reason it was a bit lost on many in the concert hall. The name Margaret McDermott (pictured) was understood and even emphasized as he pointed to her box. Margaret blushed and looked a bit embarrassed by the recognition. Those who did understand Jaap’s words reported that he paid tribute to Margaret for gifting a prized 1782 Gagliano cello to the DSO.  Following the concert, cellist Chris Adkins took the Gagliano to Margaret’s box to let her have a closer look. He ended up playing an impromptu solo for the generous benefactor. As one person said, “It was very touching. . . totally unplanned!”

While Margaret was enjoying her own private performance, the rest of the guests adjourned to the music of DJ Lucy Wrubel, and GOGA. When last seen, Jaap was headed to find Anna-Sophia like any good father would.