JUST IN: 2018-2019 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League President And Presentation Chair Revealed

Lisa Loy Laughlin and Carla Leffert*

With all the activities taking place on the eve of the 2018 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s Presentation Ball at the Meyerson, DSOL President Mari Epperson whispered plans for the future are already in place.

Lisa Loy Laughlin is going to serve as 2018-2019 DSOL president with Carla Leffert taking on the role of the chair for the 2018-2019 Presentation Ball Chair.

Keep your eyes open for Carla and her husband Jonathan Leffert Saturday night. They’ll be glowing as daughter Catherine Leffert is bowing along with the 30+ plus women in white.

Funds from the ball will go to the “education and mission of the DSO.”

* Photo provided by 
Dallas Symphony 
Orchestra League

Sold-Out Alert!: 2018 Genesis Young Leaders Masquerade Ball

2018 Genesis Young Leaders Masquerade Ball Co-Chair Kirstin and Holden Godat and Sarah and Hayden Godat are celebrating Valentine’s Day with big old smiles. Their Genesis Shelter black-tie fundraiser this Saturday at Sixty Five Hundred is sold out.

Hayden and Sarah Godat and Kirstin and Holden Godat*

Looks like they’re on plan to hit the $200,000 mark to provide safety, shelter and support for women and children fleeing abuse. Congrats!

If you didn’t get your spot locked down, don’t make the same mistake about Genesis 25th Annual Luncheon featuring Hilary Swank on Friday, May 11, at the Anatole. 

* Photo courtesy of Genesis Women's Shelter

Dallas Cowboys War Room At The Star Was The Scene Of Chef Tiffany Derry Serving Up KidLinks’ Symphony Of Chefs Draft

Jerry Jones‘ legendary War Room at Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters was the location for another big draft on Tuesday, January 23. It was the site of KidLinksSymphony of Chefs pick chefs for the annual fundraiser that will be held on Monday, February 26 at Sixty Five Hundred. Here’s a report from the field:

When your chef selection is set to be conducted draft style, what better location than the state-of-the-art War Room at the newly opened Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters, The Star, to conduct it in. And that’s exactly what happened on the evening of Tuesday, January 23, as VIP sponsors and patrons gathered for a private party to select their table chefs for the 8th Annual Symphony of Chefs benefiting KidLinks. 

Tiffany Derry*

Hosted by The Dallas Cowboys And Legends Hospitality, the 2018 VIP Patron And Chef Selection party paid homage to the upcoming draft that Jerry Jones and his team will soon be conducting for the fall football season. But this time Tiffany Derry from Bravo TV “Top Chef All-Stars and Top Chef Junior” fame led the charge in conducting a 23 table and chef selection event.

As guests including Ann and J.W. Brown, Aimee and Adam Hall, Mike Dollar and wife Karen and Founding Event Co-Chairs Bonnie and Nathan Shea began to gather in the stunning grand atrium of The Star for VIP guided tours, they were immediately enamored by the dancing LED sculpture by artist Leo Villareal taking selfies and Instagram videos for their social media followers to see. 

John Kleifgen and UnoImmanivong*

Following the early tour that lasted about 45 minutes and still didn’t cover all of the history, memorabilia and art in the building guests made their way to The Training Table event space for much needed cocktails featuring Tequila Sheela and J.R. Ewing Bourbon. They were greeted with passed appetizers by Executive Chef Orazio Lamana that even included two select Whole30 items for those guests partaking in the health-craze sweeping the nation. As more guests and chefs arrived including Fitzgerald Dodd, former The Cedar’s Social executive chef now turned private chef Justin Box, Anastacia Quiñones of Oddfellows and Nick And Sam’s Steakhouse newest executive chef John Kleifgen, you could tell everyone was anxious to be selected but eager to get the evening started.  A preview booklet of each chefs menu floated around the room from guest to guest and you could hear the chatter from table hosts about who they might select and which menus sounded the most enticing.

Diana Crawford*

Just before the program began, the queen of steaks as she’s called, Dee Lincoln and her executive chef T.J. Lengnick left a packed restaurant and walked over from her namesake Dee Lincoln Prime to join in the evening’s fun. Following a few words of welcome, a story about a recent KidLinks client family by CEO Diana Crawford, some praises given to the many sponsors in the room and recognition of the 29 participating chefs that give of their time and talents, it was now time for the draft! Yet sponsors had no clue what was about to happen.

Grand Atrium*

As they were guided through the building, up a set of marble stairs and down a short hallway, the sponsors soon found out that they were headed to the infamous War Room. A place where lives are changed forever when they get “the call”, the War Room was set-up for each sponsor representative to pick who would be cooking on Monday, February 26, at Sixty Five Hundred for their table of 10 guests. With chef pictures on one side and sponsor names on the other, the interactive video wall that covered the entire front wall was set-up for a selection experience that sponsors would soon not forget. The fun was just beginning. Meanwhile, a live video feed soon appeared on the screens where the remaining guests and chefs in the event space could see and hear everything going on in the room where it happens. 

Draft in the War Room*

Soon after explaining how the draft would be handled, a rousing banter among chefs, guests and sponsors commenced. There were even financial challenges and draft seats being given up raising an extra $5K+ on the spot for the charity. With the first draft pick being “purchased” by Honorary Chair Faye C. Briggs’ son, Mike Montgomery (who also happens to be serving as Event Chair with his wife Vinette Montgomery), the first chef selected was celebrity chef Ken Patrick best known for his appearance on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen. The draft continued with selections including Tre Wilcox, Gorji from Canary by Gorji, Joanne Bondy from Stocks and Bondy plus 20 plus other featured dinner chefs until all chefs were selected.

Georgia and Marc Lyons and Vinette and Mike Montgomery*

As the evening came to an end, it was clear that Vinette and Mike along with their Co-Chairs Georgia and Marc Lyons had scored a touchdown with the VIP Patron party. Talks about how to top it next year were well under way, but until the 26th of February comes and goes the focus was on selling two more additional tables. So the event chairs work wasn’t done yet and table hosts had some work to do by figuring out whom they wouldn’t be inviting to dine with them in February.

For more information about KidLinks and the Symphony of Chefs evening of culinary composition event and the participating chefs visit www.thekidlinks.org./soc.html.

* Photo credit: Thomas Garza

Dallas CASA Young Professionals Weren’t Just Playing Around At 2018 CASAblanca To Raise Funds For Abused And Neglected Children

It was a pretty darn gorgeous and fun-loving crowd that hit the gaming tables on Saturday, January 20. No, it wasn’t in Vegas. It was at The Hall on Dragon. And the high rollers weren’t Ocean’s 11. They were Dallas CASA‘s Young Professionals for the Third Annual CASAblanca. Here’s a report from the field:

The glittering young were out in force for Dallas CASA’s third CASAblanca casino night, hosted by Dallas CASA’s vibrant and growing Young Professionals group to raise funds for and the abused and neglected children Dallas CASA volunteers serve.

Clad in gorgeous gowns and dapper tuxedos, the young people played casino games and danced the night away to ten-piece Special Edition Band. The event sold out the day before the event, held at The Hall on Dragon on Saturday, January 20.

2018 CASAblanc*

2018 CASAblanca games*

Guests munched on hearty appetizers, with passed macaroni and cheese balls coated in crispy panko and topped with truffled ranch being a main hit. The third annual event featured a silent auction for the first time, with a beautiful diamond and gold necklace from Susan Saffron Boutique and restaurant gift cards from Water Grill, Del Frisco’s Grill and Jalisco North drawing top bids.

But it wasn’t all fun, games and food – the “fund the need” board allowed guests to fund specific needs for kids living in foster care and raised nearly $2,500 for things like coats for cold weather and cribs for babies.

Kathleen LaValle, Emma and Mark Hiduke and Hannah and Greg May*

Bloggers Lexi and Kelsie Aziz of Pizza and Champagne were there, along with sponsors Emma and Mark Hiduke, Angela Yotides, Melissa Bednarz and Bela and Chase Cooley. Sponsors this year enjoyed a VIP area with their own blackjack and poker tables.

Kay Weir and Nick Barr*

Angela Yotides and Melissa Bednarz*

Carlos and Carla Zarazua*

Nick and Melissa Bednarz, Nate Bednarz and Alyssa and Chase Mayeux*

Also in attendance were Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Kathleen LaValle, Austin Fennema, Hannah and Greg May, Carla and Carlos Zarazua, Kay Weir, Nick Barr, Michele Morris and Tucker Robinson.

The Dallas CASA Young Professionals is a vibrant and growing group of professionals under 40 interested in supporting abused and neglected children living in foster care. Last year, more than 1,300 Dallas CASA community volunteers advocated for the best interests of these children in court.

Reasha Hedke, Kelcey Hamilton and Dana Swann*

The event was co-chaired by Kelcey Hamilton, Reasha Hedke and Dana Swann.

Sponsors included Presenting Sponsors Emma and Mark Hiduke, Christine and Jonathan Bassham, CultureMap, Angela and Chris Yotides, Bela and Chase Cooley, Kay and Bob Schleckser, Sewell Automotive Companies and an anonymous donor.

* Photo credit: Steve Bither

“Farewell Founder’s Luncheon” Celebrates Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s Supporters And Launches The Ann Williams Legacy Society

Back in 1996 the Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s Founder’s Luncheon was the brainchild of DBDT Founder Ann Williams to raise money and to honor “civic and business leaders of Dallas who have impacted Dallas Black Dance Theatre and the Dallas arts community.” Over the years, dozens and dozens of people and organizations like The Meadows Foundation, Liz Minyard, Juanita Brown, former first lady Laura Bush, Isabell Cottrell, Target, Nancy Hamon, Helen Giddings, Ruth Altshuler, JC Penney, Annette Strauss and Mary Suhm were honored.

Since Ann’s announced retirement in 2014, changes started taking place. In addition to the departure of two artistic directors, it was decided that funding for the organization should go in a different direction. Instead of the luncheon event going quietly into the night, it was decided to hold a send-off event — “Farewell Founder’s Luncheon” — at which time the new fundraising program would be revealed.

While some might have thought the luncheon at the Hilton Anatole on Wednesday, January 17, would be a boo-hoo occasion, it was full of cheers for Ann and her organization that is “the oldest, continuously operating professional dance company in Dallas.”

Michelle Thomas

The day kicked off with a VIP Reception in half of the Grand Ballroom for folks like Michelle Thomas, DBDT Executive Director Zenetta Drew, DBDT Executive Board Member Paulette Turner, past honoree Charley Pride and his wife Rozene Pride  and the day’s honorees Andy McCarthy, Herdercine Nash and Linda Todd. Emcee Clarice Tinsley was juggling duties — reviewing script and accommodating requests for photos with Ann. Due to the day’s chill, guests were checking their coats at the door.

Speaking of coats, those heading to the Imperial Ballroom upstairs for the luncheon were finding the hallway brisk to say the least. It made some of the 650 guests opt to pass up the upstairs coat check.

At the back of the room, tables were set up for selling the DBDT’s 40th anniversary books. At the front of the room was a stage large enough for a performance. Down the center of the room was a 12-foot wide aisle with the head table set for 16 next to the stage.

Devrae Jefferson, Lindzay Duplessis, Kayleigh Eidson, Imani English and Chad Vaught

At 11:50 the VIP Reception was breaking up and the ballroom was starting to fill. Standing near the room’s entrance were five of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre Encore members (Devrae Jefferson, Lindzay Duplessis, Kayleigh Eidson, Imani English and Chad Vaught). When asked if they would be performing at the luncheon, they smiled and said, “No.”

Doug Curtis and Ann Williams

Clarice Tinsley and Lucy Billingsley

Zenetta Drew and Gilbert Gerst

Lelious Johnson

Right on schedule the headtable guests including Ann, Clarice, Zenetta, General Co-Chairs the Rev. Lelious Johnson and Kimberley Runnels, Honorary Co-Chairs Lucy Billingsley and Doug Curtis, DBDT Board Chair Gilbert Gest and the day’s honorees and their spouses Samara Kline, Joseph Nash and Frederick Todd were introduced as they entered the ballroom and took their places at the table.

Kicking things off DBDT Board of Directors Rev. Claude O. Maples told everyone to stand including Mary McDermott Cook, Regina Montoya, Marnie Wildenthal and Patricia Meadows. There was a slight hesitation as guests looked around a bit bewildered, but all complied. Then he instructed all to point to Ann saying, “Ann, you go, girl.” With smiles and laughter, the room full of guests joined in to the delight of Ann.

Clarice revealed that the Chilhuly-styled sculptures serving as centerpieces were available for purchase at $200 a pieces.

Dallas Black Dance Academy’s Allegro Performing Ensemble

Following lunch, the Dallas Black Dance Academy’s Allegro Performing Ensemble arrived on the stage and performed “Mandiba.”

Ann Williams and Linda Todd

Ann Williams and Herdercine Nash

Ann Williams and Andy McCarthy

Samara Kline and Kimberly Runnels

It was then time for the final presentation of the Founder’s Awards by Ann to Andy, Linda and Hercerdine followed by Zenetta’s revealing the creation of the Ann Williams Legacy Society that would be supported by benefactors listing DBDT in their will, trust, retirement plan or life insurance policy. Already on board as Charter Members were Norma and Don Stone, who in 2016 added DBDT to their will. 

Herman Houston III

To conclude the luncheon on just the right note, DBDT Encore member Herman Houston III took the stage dancing to Sam Cooke‘s “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

At the conclusion of his performance, Ann Williams received a standing ovation for her vision and dedication.

For more photos of the event, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Farewell Founder’s Luncheon

Ann Williams and Andy McCarthy

Ann Williams and Linda Todd

Ann Williams and Herdercine Nash

Samara Kline and Kimberly Runnels

The “Farewell Founder’s Luncheon” on Wednesday, January 17, at the Hilton Anatole may have closed the chapter for one part of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s fundraising, but it also introduced the next chapter — The Ann Williams Legacy Society.

Dallas Black Dance Academys Allegro Performing Ensemble

And, of course, the event couldn’t just be a sit-down award ceremony. In addition to presenting the final Founder’s Luncheon awards to Andy McCarthy, Herdercine Nash and Linda Todd, there were also performances by the Dallas Black Dance Academy’s Allegro Performing Ensemble and DBDT Encore member Herman Houston III.

Herman Houston III

While the post is being prepared, check out the guests and dancers at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: 2018 Cattle Baron’s Ball Theme, Talent, Date And Location Revealed For 45th American Cancer Society Anniversary Fundraiser

Jonika Nix and Katy Bock

Drivers in a hurry to drive down Beverly Drive Friday evening were in for a reality check. It was going to be a slo-mo journey.

The reason was the 45th Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal party at Ruth Ruhl’s mansion. The number of cars trying to deliver guests became so large that it seemed that the Jack Boles valets were going to have to park the cars in University Park.

The big news of the night had the 300+ guests whooping and hollering when 2018 CBB Co-Chairs Katy Bock and Jonika Nix announced that the theme would be “Sapphires And Spurs,” with the blonde co-chairs and their committee of 100 women heading back to Gilley’s. 

2018 Cattle Baron’s Ball Theme “Sapphires And Spurs”*

As for the entertainment, the video screen in the great room announced that the main act would be the Zac Brown Band. And to get the pre-concert live auction ramped up, the Charlie Daniels Band would be set the pace.

Zac Brown Band*

Before finishing the announcement, Katy added, “The date is Saturday, October 20.”

Lock down that date on your calendar. Start shopping for your sapphires and spurs. And get your ticket for this American Cancer Society funder.

As for the reveal party itself, stay tuned. That will follow in the days to come.

* Graphic and photo provided by 2018 Cattle Baron's Ball

After Last Year’s Blowout, Dallas Museum Of Art’s Hamon Atrium Will Once Again Become A Speakeasy Complete With VIP Bootleggers Den

Last year’s inaugural Speakeasy Party in the Hamon Atrium at the Dallas Museum of Art had a pretty impressive turnout for a first time event — 1,200 guys and dolls! It was to celebrate the DMA’s “Shaken, Style, Stirred” exhibition.

2017 Speakeasy in the Hamon Atrium*

Such fundraising success demanded an encore and that one-night-only 2018 Speakeasy will take place once again at the DMA on Saturday, February 24, starting at 8 p.m.

While production guru Todd Fiscus will provide the setting in the Atrium, don’t be surprised to see fun-loving flappers and dapper dandies dress up the place with Prohibition-era attire for a competition to be judged by Kara and Lil of Dallasites201.

Akers and Caitlin Moore and Jessica and Harl Asaff*

Alia Reniers and Linda Snorina*

Bennett and Katie Allen*

Alas, the “Shaken, Style, Stirred” collection won’t be around, there will be plenty to make up for its absence. For instance, there will craft cocktails, the 18-piece band “The Singapore Singers, dance instructors, novelty gaming tables, admission to galleries, a scavenger hunt throughout the DMA’s collection to “Track Down the Bootleggers” and, of course, a photo booth. What would a party be without one!

The raffle is such a deal. The prize is a one-night stay at The Joule Hotel in deluxe accommodations complete with complimentary overnight valet parking and a $100 gift card for food and beverages at the hotel’s underground Midnight Rambler. Each chance is going for a buck. Yup! That’s right. Just one little old dollar.

Tickets for DMA Members at $70 and $85 for the general public. In addition to getting access to the festivities, the tickets will include two drink tickets, live entertainment, dance instructors, gaming tables and buffets.

Ah, but for those highrollers seeking the perks of VIP-ism, there will be the exclusive VIP Bootleggers Den with open bars, hors d’oeuvres, exclusive lounge seating, reserved wait staff, private novelty gaming tables, special photo ops, dedicated dance instructors and live entertainment. The limited number of VIP tickets are going for $100 for DMA members and $150 for the public. Once again membership pays off!

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron Smith

Comerica’s Prom Dress Drive Is Providing An Opportunity To Play Fairy Godmother For Dallas CASA And Boys And Girls Clubs Of Greater Dallas Cinderallas

It’s time to part company with old friends. While many gals are cleaning gently experienced grown-up fashions from their closets for the Salvation Army Fashion Show and Luncheon, there are some retired prom dresses that could be put back into action.

Dallas CASA and the Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas have hundreds of girls, who just might not be able to go to their proms this spring because they have nothing to wear. But thanks to Comerica, you can play Fairy Godmother to these teenage Cinderellas.

Comerica Prom Dress Drive*

For the Fourth Annual Prom Dress Drive, the following five Dallas-area Comerica banking centers will be available to accept “new or gently-used, cleaned formal dresses and accessories” starting Thursday, February 1:

  • Cole-Fitzhugh (3202 North Fitzhugh, Dallas)
  • Forest-Inwood (5200 Forest Lane, Dallas)
  • NorthPark (8850 Boedecker Street, Dallas)
  • Parker-Premier (3310 Premier Road, Plano)
  • Preston Center (8225 Preston Road, Dallas)

Sure, it’s going to be hard to give up that adorable gown that you wore, but betcha you’ve got photos of the night that it was worn and you looked pretty darn adorable. And besides, you’re not going to wear it again. You’ve moved on. Or, perhaps that dress that your daughter wore ages ago would like to be released from confinement to show its stuff at a 2018 prom?

And while you’re editing your wardrobe, look into those nooks and crannies for shoes, purses, gloves and accessories. They’ll be welcomed at the Comerica collection stations, too.

So, dig through you closet and take your finds to the cleaners and then onto Comerica for another special night. The drive ends Wednesday, February 28.

* Photo provided by Comerica

JUST IN: Jeff Smith To Chair Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children’s Treasure Street 2018

Shelby Wagner and Niven Morgan

Jeff Smith*

Spring isn’t even here and already fall plans are being announced. On the hooves of Niven Morgan’s and Shelby Wagner’s co-chairing the 2017 Treasure Street for Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children, it’s just been revealed that TSRHC Board of Trustee member/ HighGround Advisors President and CEO Jeff Smith will heading up TSRHC’s signature fundraiser.

Jeff has picked Thursday, October 11, for the day when the grounds of the Hospital at the corner of Oak Lawn and Maple are transformed into a festival of grazing around with loads of local chefs, music, twinkling lights and faces you know and want to know.

Since its establishment in 1996 by Dee and Dodge Carter in gratitude for TSRHC’s caring for their daughter Nicole, the annual outdoor event has pulled in $14M for patient care.

*Photo provided by Texas 
Scottish Rite Hospital for Children


Dallas Children’s Theater Debuted Its Assistive Listening Devices Friday Thanks To A Crystal Charity Ball Grant

If the Crystal Charity Ball members have been MIA lately, it’s because they’re in the final days of selecting the 2018 beneficiaries.

Assistive Listening Device*

And to prove that the CCB’s fundings do pay off for Dallas County children, the Dallas Children’s Theater is a perfect example.

Thanks to a CCB grant provided in 2015 for sensory-friendly programming, the DCT is now offering Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) for shows in the Baker Theater.

It will be available for “patrons who would like some amplification of the dialogue, music and additional sound effects of DCT shows.”

Dallas Children’s Theater staff trying out ALD*

According to DCT Associate Artistic Director/Education Director Nancy Schaeffer, “We know that some audience members need help to hear all of the wonderful sounds of a live DCT show. Now they can use the Assistive Listening Devices for any show in the beautiful Baker Theater. No one needs to miss a beat or feel left out.”

Prior to ALDs, the DCT has offered American Sign Language interpreted performances.

The ALDs debuted Friday with the DCT’s first show of the 2018 season, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show.”

* Photo provided by Dallas Children's Theater

2018 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Debutante Parents Party Surrounded by Jewels Galore

There is no truth that Eiseman Jewels has become the most luxurious drinking hole in these parts. But with events being held there for area nonprofits with guests sipping wine and trying on bling, it just might be mistaken for an exclusive venue.

On Thursday, December 7, the crowd being feted by Betsy and Richard Eiseman among the showcases of gems were the parents of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League‘s 2018 debs. Here’s a report from the field:

Robert and Cathy Allday and Catherine and Michael Merritt*

Kristin and Robert Cordiak*

Betsy and Richard Eiseman welcomed more than 75 attendees on Thursday, December 7, to the annual holiday party at Eiseman Jewels celebrating the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League 2018 Presentation Ball’s Debutante and Honor Guard parents and Ball patrons. Guests like Cathy and Robert Allday, Catherine and Michael Merritt, Kristin and Robert Cordiak and Nancy Labadie were treated to holiday cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while perusing Eiseman’s stunning collection of jewelry and timepieces. 

Mid-way through the evening, Eiseman president and CEO Richard Eiseman gathered the crowd to welcome and to thank everyone for their longstanding support of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He then recognized 2018 Ball Chair Lori Routh and DSOL President Mari Epperson, who added her gratitude to all in attendance, including Betsy and Richard and Eiseman Jewels for own ongoing commitment to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League by gifting a pair of pearl stud earings to each Debutante each year, and for hosting the annual holiday fete. 

Lori South, Betsy and Richard Eiseman and Mari Epperstein*

As the evening came to a close, three lucky winners’ names were drawn for an opportunity to wear “Red Carpet Jewels” from Eiseman for the ball on Saturday, February 17, at the Morton Meyerson Symphony Center. 

* Photo provided by Eiseman Jewels


JUST IN: 2018 Dallas Symphony Gala Plans Announced Including A Diminutive Songbird With A “Wickedly” Big Voice

Bob and Lisa Segert*

And the news keeps rolling in! Despite the chilly weather, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra staff has been in overdrive. In addition to getting ready for new Dallas Symphony Association President/CEO Kim Noltemy’s officially taking over next week, preparing for Maestro Jaap van Zweden’s final victory tour season and the 4th Annual Soluna, they’ve already finalized plans for the Dallas Symphony Gala.

Longtime DSO subscribers and supporters Lisa and Bob Segert will co-chair the fall season’s first black tie gala on Saturday, September 15, at the Meyerson. They’re old hands when it comes to the gala, since they’ve been on the host committee since 2015, in addition to Bob’s serving on the DSO Board of Governors.

According to Interim President/CEO Michelle Miller Burns, “Lisa and Bob have been part of the DSO family for over 20 years, and we’re delighted that they have accepted our invitation to lead this year’s gala. We are confident that their leadership will result in a night to remember.” 

Kristin Chenoweth (File photo)

But there’s a bit of a change in the POA this year. Instead of having world-famous musician perform with the DSO, it will be a petite songbird with a huge voice, following and collection of awards — Kristin Chenoweth! She may hail from Oklahoma, but she calls Broadway her second home and TV her third home with roles in “Pushing Daisies,” “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown,” “Wicked,” “West Wing,” “On The Twentieth Century,” etc. In her spare time, she’s written a New York Times Best Seller and released CDs/DVDs of her live concert performance, “Kristin Chenoweth: Coming Home.”

If you’ve ever seen Kristin on stage, then you have witnessed a “big bang” experience. As Michelle put it, “Kristin Chenoweth is a consummate performer. Her concerts are always full of energy and spirit. This will be a thrilling start to the 2018/2019 season.”

“Full-Evening Gala” (fashion-show-plate cocktail reception, seated dinner, concert and after-party) tickets are going for $1,250 per person. Check with Tab Boyles for levels of opportunities.

The concert/after-party will be available as a DSO subscription add-on starting Sunday, February 18. Single tickets will go on sale on Thursday, April 12.

* Photo provided by Dallas Symphony Orchestra

An Event At Highland Park Village’s Etro Dallas Raises Money And Mental Health Awareness For The Center For BrainHealth

Susan Jones and Kimber Hartmann*

Inside the upscale Etro Dallas boutique at Highland Park Village, Kimber Hartmann glanced around at the 75 or so guests who’d gathered for an event benefiting the Center for BrainHealth, a research institute that’s part of the University of Texas at Dallas. “It’s nice that people are starting to think about their brain and their health,” said Hartmann, the center’s director of development and strategic operations. “The brain is your greatest asset, and young people especially are excited [about the center’s activities]. Look at the mix of people here. Not to mention, there are fabulous clothes and shoes here!”

Etro overview*

There was indeed a mix at the Tuesday, December 5, 2017, event, including young people and older ones—writers, lawyers, financiers, PR specialists. Among them were Jim Dondero, Jen Seward, Michael Hurst, Pam Hill, Susan Jones, Jeff Kaplan, Tricia Linderman, Brantley Hargrove, Dorothy Pullen, Michael Mooney, Martha Hofmeister, Barbara Kennedy, and Mark Edgar. Many of the attendees were peering through the boutique’s racks of colorful clothing—a new African collection had recently come in—because Etro had promised to donate 10% of all sales (not only that night, but for the following five days) to the Center for BrainHealth, store manager Melinda Rathke explained.

Chris Rentzel, Martha Hofmeister, Jeff Kaplan and Barbara Kennedy*

Melinda Rathke, Pam Hill and Dorothy Pullen*

The event had been organized by friends Kelly Rentzel and Shannon Wherry. Said Shannon: “I love Etro. Kelly and I just thought it would be fun to do a holiday party here. Brain health is something that both Kelly and I are pretty passionate about.” Rentzel especially is intrigued by the subject, since she has suffered in the past from bipolar disorder and has begun to talk about it publicly, in order to help others.

Kelly Rentzel and Jen Seward*

Tricia Linderman and Shannon Wherry*

Rentzel, who’s a corporate lawyer, was diagnosed with the disorder more than two decades ago. But she got better, she said, with the help of “medication and therapy and hard work and faith. I also listened to a lot of music—specifically, George Harrison’s ‘Cloud Nine’ album.” That was a little ironic, she admitted wrly, because listening to the Beatles’ “The White Album” had contributed to her breakdown in the first place. She suffered a relapse five years ago, she said, before undergoing successful electroshock treatment.

Peter Bradley Adams*

While the guests chatted and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres prepared by Lombardi’s Catering, they also listened to live music by Peter Bradley Adams, who’d flown in from Nashville especially for the occasion. Shannon had reached out to the singer/songwriter, whose tunes have been featured on TV shows like “Dawson’s Creek,” after discovering his music on her Spotify feed.

After awhile a microphone was set up near the front of the store, and Kelly thanked the guests for coming. She also extended a special thank-you to Peter. “He was originally inspired by the Beatles, which I related to,” Rentzel said, smiling slightly. “I just told him to stay away from ‘The White Album.’”

* Photo credit: Daniel Driensky