Body Oak Cliff Founder Joel Pulis And Sheriff Lupe Valdez To Receive The Well Community’s First Founder’s Award At Recovery Live Benefit Concert

The Well Community is adding a new element to its annual Recovery Live Benefit Concert on Thursday, November 30, at The Kessler. In the past, the fundraiser to help adults dealing with severe mental illnesses has just a great time with great music.

Lupe Valdez (File photo)

But after four years, they decided to put some bells and whistles to the festivities. In addition to having WFAA’s Brett Shipp as emcee and Floramay Holliday and Over the River and The Rosemont Kings performing, they’ve added a silent auction and the Founder’s Award.

This first-time award will be presented to Body Oak Cliff Founder Joel Pulis and Sheriff Lupe Valdez.

According to The Well Community Executive Director Alice Zaccarello, “This award has been created to acknowledge those whose action have opened up new avenues of recovery and hope to individuals suffering from mental illnesses.”

Event sponsors include Good Space, Ged Dipprey Realtor, Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, Bret and Karen Schuch, Steven and Dawn Camp, Roland Warnock, Hanes and Boone LLP, K and L Gates LLP, Beth and Wes Keyes, Jim Lake Advisors LLC, Republic Title Turtle Creek, Amy Carenza and Nathan Offerdahl, Potpourri of Silk, Soap Hope, Shirlee and Charles Bealke, Suzanne and Wayne Braddick, Diana and David Ezzell, Scott Griggs, Colleen and Ken Kelley, Cornerstone Home Lending, Masterman, La Calle Doce and El Ranchito, Methodist Medical System, Norma’s Café, RPGA Design Group, Ryan Frahm – Origins Bank Home, Lending, Square Foot and Vickie Turner.

Tickets start at $50. And if you’re already got plans that night, consider taking a tour of The Well Community and discover the various programs that are offered to help deal with an very real challenge within lives.

Despite Ma Nature’s Threatening With Weather Woes, Cattle Baron’s Ball “Shot For The Stars” With Paddles Waving And Guests Partying

Las Vegas oddsmakers thought they had all their bets covered on Saturday, October 21. The Astros were facing off against the Yankees in the 2017 American League playoffs, and the 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball was facing incredible odds to raise bunches of money for cancer research.

While the Astros won the pennant in Houston and prepared to meet  the L.A .Dodgers in the World Series, the CBB-ers were also rising to the occasion at Gilley’s Dallas. With all types of ugly weather once again threatening to create a Debbie Downer predicament, CBB Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill prepared for battle, making Eisenhower’s D-Day playbook look loosey-goosey.

Steve and Anne Stodghill and Sunie and Steve Solomon

The layout had been redesigned from past CBB gatherings at Gilley’s to address any possible stormy outburst. And as the days got closer and a norther started ambling its way southward, tents sprung up like bluebonnets in spring. Even the brief crosswalk between Gilley’s proper and the football stadium-size tent for the Brooks and Dunn concert was encased. Only the Ferris wheel lay bare.

Ferris wheel

But then, the Baronesses were old hands at dealing with Ma Nature, and Sunie, Anne and their committee members were prepared to take the old wet gal on. One longtime CBB vet was amazed at how seamless the evening went. The POA was created to be flexible, just in case an “Oops!” situation arose. And it did—but more about that later.

While the very fashionable types sported everything from suede skirts to custom boots, the accessory du jour was made of paper. No matter the amount of turquoise worn, it was the color of a guest’s wristband that established their pecking order. Talk about a caste system! It not only determined when and where a guest could venture, but it also reflected your exact ranking of table assignments at the Brooks and Dunn concert—if you scored the limited meet-and-greet with the duo.

Alison and Mike Malone and Hallie Lawrence

John Buchanan and Ken Paxton

Dwight and Claire Emanuelson

Andrea Weber, Mary Parker and Olivia Kearney

Rhonda and Fraser Marcus

Barbara and Don Daseke

Stubbs and Holly Davis and Kent Rathbun

Phil White and Danice Couch

Alex Laurenzi

Tom and Amy Hughes and Pam and Vin Perella

As guests like Ken Paxton (who was attending his first Cattle Baron’s in six or seven years), Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, Pam and Vince Perella, Rhonda and Fraser Marcus, Angela Nash with Billy Martin Jr., Lisa and Marvin Singleton, Olivia and Jeff Kearney, Barbara and Don Daseke, Bethany and Stephen Holloway and past CCB chairs (Olivia Kearney, Jennifer Dix, Cindy Stager, Mary Martha Pickens, Mary Parker, Amy Turner, Katherine Wynne, Tia Wynne, Kristen Sanger and Brooke Shelby) partied in the main ballroom, some super VIPers waited for their meet-and-greet time with Winston and Strawn Live Auction entertainer Pat Green.

Among them: Co-chair Husbands Steve Solomon and Steve Stodghill, longtime friends who passed the time bantering about their outfits (Stodghill bought his tricked-out C&W jacket at Manuel’s in Nashville, it seems, while Solomon joked that he got his duds at Neiman’s). Stodg also revealed that his Winston and Strawn law-firm pals had bought five tables for the big party.  

Terra Najork

Steve Lamb, Pat Green and Deborah Ferguson

Katie Layton, Megan O’Leary, Paige Westhoff, Andrea Nayfa, Pat Green, Diana Hamilton, Terra Najork, Katy Bock, Nancy Gopez

That’s when the “oops” happened. As it turned out, the Pat Green meet-and-greeters waited … and waited … and waited. Seems that Pat had gotten a late start and then had been stuck in traffic. Not to worry, though. Food and beverages were brought in, creating a mini-party, as calls were made checking on Pat’s progress. Once he finally appeared, though, things went perfectly, with Green apologizing to each of the guests as their photos were taken. “It was the craziest thing in the world, trying to get here,” he explained to anyone who would listen. Who couldn’t forgive the baby-faced blonde? In the meantime, Pat’s wife, jewelry designer Kori Green, made her way to Jacqueline Cavender’s table for the performance leading up to the live auction, which would have a different feel tonight.  

Jacqueline Cavender and Kori Green

Pat Green and Steve Stodghill

As the two Co-Chair Hubby Steves introduced Pat to the audience, Pat came up behind Stodgie and wrapped his arms around the attorney. At points throughout his performance, Pat managed to not only play his guitar and sing, but to pose for selfies with loving admirers on the floor. He also chided the crowd at one point: “It’s Saturday night, and you don’t have to apologize until tomorrow. You all sure are quiet Christians! I guess for the Brooks and Dunn show, you’re gonna be hammered!” Pat even spied his Cavendar pals and thanked them for supplying his evening’s entire wardrobe—right down to his undies.

Kevin Kuykendall

Annika Cail

Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi

No sooner had Pat left the stage than it was time for the live auction to get underway. Some longtime observers were concerned. After all, stalwart paddle-hoisters like Nancy Rogers, Diane and Hal Brierley and Lisa and Clay Cooley were MIA, due to out-of-town ventures and other commitments. Not to worry. Such names as Wagner, Kuykendall, Fischer, Turner and Maguire not only filled the void, they raised eyebrows. One CBB vet stood in amazement as uber-bidding took place.

An auction package of a trip to Umbria and Florence to create custom porcelain place settings for 16, plus dinner afterwards at Truluck’s Dallas for 20, was won by Sabrina and Kevin Kuykendall for $100,000.

Kevin and Sabrina Kuykendall

Gail and Cliff Fischer

When the poker game with former Dallas Cowboys went up for bid, Cliff Fischer put on his best poker face, waved off auctioneers and watched the bidding proceed. He had snapped it up last year for $100,000 and was playing hard-to-get. Just as the bids slowed to a standstill, Cliff raised his paddle to snap it up for $75,000.

Cary Maguire wheeled up to the Deason table on the front row with his posse just long enough to have the last paddle standing for the Las Vegas package that included a concert with Reba McIntire and Brooks and Dunn for $50,000. No sooner had he signed on the dotted line than the Maguire entourage was gone.

Steve Stodghill and Todd Wagner

Amy Turner

Todd Wagner took home the Indie package for $41,000 and Amy Turner picked up the Chefs’ dinner for a nice round figure.  

A last-minute add was artwork by Ronnie Dunn, who appeared on stage to discuss his artistic venture. Art-loving Steve Stodghill couldn’t resist and snapped up Ronnie’s piece for $14,000.

Like clockwork, the live auction ended and the thousands headed to the big tent. For a handful of super-duper VIPs, it was backstage then for the meet-and-greet with Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn. As per the routine of most grip-and-grins, guests are photographed sans purses and other distractions.

Ronnie Dunn, Anne Stodghill, Sunie Solomon, Kix Brooks and Steve Solomon

But on this occasion, there were the exceptions. Barry Andrews proudly hoisted a Miller Lite. Who could blame the Miller distributor, who had once again sponsored the Miller Distributing Main Stage presented by Miller Lite?

Mike McGuire, Ronnie Dunn, Sophie McGuire, Natalie McGuire, Barry and Lana Andrews and Kix Brooks

Ronnie Dunn, Kinky Friedman, Nicole Barrett and Kix Brooks

And then there was this one fella who couldn’t be separated from his stogie. His name was Richard Friedman, but he’s more commonly known as Kinky Friedman. Perhaps he hadn’t been told that the fundraiser was benefiting the American Cancer Society?

Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn

No sooner had the photo session ended than it was time for Sunie and Anne to greet the more than 3,000 guests from the stage, announce the winners of the raffle, and get the concert underway with salutes to the military. And, what a concert it was! As two-steppers flocked to the front of the stage, Brooks and Dunn pumped out hit after hit: “Brand New Man,” “Red Dirt Road,” “Lost and Found,” “Play Something Country,” “Neon Moon,” “Cowgirls Don’t Cry,” “Husbands and Wives,” “My Next Broken Heart.” Suffice to say, the big crowd got their money’s worth—and more. 

In the distance, meantime, Mother Nature was holding off. She was either was on her best behavior, or flat scared that Steve Stodghill would sue her for tortious interference. Regardless, as if perfectly planned, the heavens opened up and the rain started pouring down just as the final shuttles were hauling guests back to their cars at 2 a.m.

Yup, this year the CBBers had a game plan ready to take on all challenges. And the plan worked out just beautifully.

For a look at the festivities, check out the 90 pictures at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Insider Tips For Saturday’s 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball’s “Shooting For The Stars”

If there are some gals MIA today, they’re over at Gilley’s Dallas. No, they’re not line-dancing and bar leaning. They’re in T-shirts, old jeans and sneakers ripping open boxes, schlepping carts around, setting up tables and getting ready for Saturday night’s 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball. After all, that’s what CBB committee members do the day before the American Cancer Society mega-fundraiser.

Cindy Stager and Amy Turner

While some might think such a gaggle of females would be high drama and round-the-clock temper tantrums, they missed the mark big-time with this bunch. One gal said that everything is so organized that they just might finish earlier than planned. Why, they even had time to have lunch with some of the past CBB chairs like Mary Humphreys Parker, Cindy Stager, Amy Turner, Tia Wynne, Andrea Weber, Olivia Kearney, Kristi Hoyl and Kristin “KJ” Sanger.

Kristi Bare, Sunie Solomon, Anne Stodghill, Wendy Messmann and Karen James

When 2017 CBB Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill were asked their secret, they attributed it to their troops like Andrea Nayfa, Nancy Gopez, Kristi Bare, Katy Bock, Wendy Messmann, Karen James, Meaghan O’Leary and others who have been working with color-coded seating charts, spreadsheets and professionalism.

Nancy Gopez. Meghan O’Leary, Andrea Nayfa and Katy Bock

They’ve even arranged for a back-up plan to accommodate Mother Nature’s mood in case she boo-hoos on the festivities. Pat Green will be on the Winston and Strawn LLP Live Auction stage in Gilley’s proper, and Brooks and Dunn will be  on the Andrews Distribution Main Stage in the humongous tent with concrete floor. Even the never-ending grazing will be indoors!

But just in case you want to be in the ultimate know, here are some insider tips to avoid those “Gee, I wished I’d known” or “Wow! I forgot all about that!” moment.

Must Have

  • More important than your cellphone will be your tickets, wristbands and hang-tags, if you’re driving. No guest will be allowed on the premises without them.
  • Also, please don’t forget your favor bag ticket. It’s not required for entrance, but you’ll hate yourself when you aren’t able to get the Hirzel Capital Favor Bag with all the swag as you leave.

Parking is a bit different this year, so be prepared. According to traffic czarina Nancy Gopez, here is the breakdown:

  • Blue hangtags — Arrive and depart in the Gilley’s driveway for valet parking.
  • Gold hangtags — Arrive at the valet parking at Kay Bailey Hutchinson Lot D. Lot opens at 5:30 p.m. Shuttle buses will take guests to the Event Center at Gilley’s Dallas. The last shuttle bus will depart Event Center at 2 a.m.
  • White Hangtag — Self-park at Eddie Deen’s starting at 6:30 p.m. Shuttle buses will take guests to the Event Center at Gilley’s Dallas. The last shuttle bus will depart Event Center at 2 a.m.
  • Limousines — Arrive and pick up at Event Center.
  • Uber, Lyft, Wynne Transportation and other private driving services — Drop off at Gilley’s driveway and pick up at Event Center

Hint: Sunie strongly recommended Ubering.

Auctions

Rhinestone longhorn head

  • The CBB Silent Auction and Big Board are available online. So, if you didn’t get your ticket in time or are at home with the sniffles, you can still bid and, hopefully, win a goody like the rhinestone longhorn head. Here’s the link to the online viewing and bidding.
  • Live Auction items will only be available at the Ball. However, if you’re out of town and really want one of the items, check with the CBB office now to make arrangements for proxy bidding.

FYI

  • No one under the age of 21 will be allowed to enter Gilley’s Dallas for the event.
  • No filming is allowed at the event.
  • Give the stilettos the night off and pull on those boots.

Check back with MySweetCharity during the day Saturday for any updates or news.

Leukemia Texas’ Concert For A Cure At The Rustic Features Reckless Kelly—And Great Results For Fighting Leukemia

As more than 400 people streamed into The Rustic’s outdoor patio Thursday, September 28, for Leukemia Texas‘ fifth annual Concert for a Cure, the group’s CEO, Mandy O’Neill, sat in a “cabana” at the back of the property reviewing notes with the chairs before taking off to supervise the festivities.

Below her, guests like JB Hayes, Natalie Solis, Angela Nash with Billy Martin Jr., Roger Hendren, and Amanda and Lloyd Ward were catching up with friends and eagerly awaiting the appearance of the evening’s headliner, Reckless Kelly. Mandy, meantime, was expressing her hope that the evening’s take would at least match last year’s total of $125,000.

Jenny Anchondo, Marco Rivera, Stephanie Hollman and Mandy O’Neill*

The aim seemed do-able, if the crowd’s enthusiasm was any indication. Up on the raised stage, Sybil Summers and Nathan Fast from AMP 103.7-FM—followed by event Co-Chairs Jenny Anchondo and Stephanie Hollman—spent time revving up the partygoers. Jenny sits on the Leukemia Texas board, the audience was told, while Stephanie successfully underwent a bone-marrow donation in May in Oklahoma City.

Sybil Summers and Nathan Fast**

After introducing “Natalie,” a young woman who was having various medical problems, the chairs brought out  former NFL guard Marco Rivera, who played two years (in 2005 and ’06) with the Dallas Cowboys. Marco asked the crowd to bid on tickets to the ‘Boys’ upcoming game with the Green Bay Packers, saying, “I promise you, the Dallas Cowboys will not kneel!” After Marco started the bidding at $500, the ducats went for $1,100.

Natatlie’s mother Vivian, Natalie and Marco Rivera**

Then it was time for Reckless Kelly, the much-lauded, Austin-based Americana band. The group played generously for more than an hour, sprinkling their hits with a few cover songs by Merle Haggard (“Mama Tried”) and Bob Dylan (“Subterranean Homesick Blues”). As they did, a few “swing” dancers showed off their fancy steps down in front of the stage.

Reckless Kelly’s Willy Braun**

They weren’t the only ones strutting their stuff. When all was said and done, Mandy reported that “it looks like we will be exceeding our event goal.” After accounting for expenses—they were roughly 8 percent of the total take—Concert for a Cure was on track to net $110,000.       

* Photo provided by Mandy O'Neill 
** Photo credit: Brian Maschino

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Dallas Symphony Gala

Clay Cooley, Margaret McDermott and Lisa Cooley

With sweeping gowns and bow ties ranging from feathers to colorful prints, the 2017 Dallas Symphony Gala officially kicked off the mega-gala fundraising season on Saturday, September 16, at the Meyerson. Joining the leadership team of Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley was Honorary Chair Margaret McDermott.  

Kara and Randall Goss

Cece Smith and Ford Lacy

Jody and Sheila Grant

In addition to being a lavish show of swell-egants, it was also the final gala performance by Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Maestro Jaap van Zweden. To add to the special occasion, cellist Yo-Yo Ma joined Jaap and the orchestra on stage following a seated dinner and just before the evening’s after party.

While the post is being prepped, the fashions and boldfaces of the night can be seen at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Dallas CASA’s Young Professional Added Their “Voices For A Cause” At The Rustic With Brandon Rhyder For Fundraising

While North Texas Giving Day had the phones ringing off the hook and the internet donations flowing on Thursday, September 14, the Dallas CASA Young Professionals held its second annual Voices for a Cause at The Rustic. While Signed Out and Brandon Rhyder filled the scene with music, Young Professionals President Jonathan Bassham couldn’t resist reminding guests that it wasn’t too late to donate to North Texas Giving Day for Dallas CASA. Here’s a report from the field:

Jonathan Bassham and Mark Hiduke*

Linda and Rob Swartz*

Nick Berman, Caitlin Dama, Erica Whitten and Michelle Stephenson*

Voices for a Cause at The Rustic was a blast! It was a beautiful night, with great bands and lots of young people and old friends like Robert Schleckser, Woody McMinn, Dana Swann, Reasha Hedke, Madeline Littrell, Linda and Rob Swartz, Kelsey Higginbotham, Nick Berman, Caitlin Dama, Erica Whitten, Michelle Stephenson, Nicki Sherry, Paul Stafford, Mark Hiduke and Cristina and Michael Swartz.

Nicki Sherry and Paul Stafford*

Cristina and Michael Swartz

Dana Swann, Reasha Hedke and Madeline Littrell*

Dallas CASA’s Voices of Hope concert Thursday, September 14, at The Rustic netted $6,640 for Dallas CASA and an evening of fun for attendees. With more than 250 tickets sold and a clear night under the stars, the event marked a second year of success for Dallas CASA’s Young Professionals.

Kelsey Higginbotham and Brandon Rhyder*

Dallas CASA board member Dave Kroencke’s band Signed Out was the opening act. The group played covers of crowd-popular standards like “Billie Jean,” “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” and the crow got into the act by singing along from their lawn chairs.

Headliner Texas country artist Brandon Rhyder, sang to an enthusiastic crowd as the sun set. Young Professionals President Jonathan Bassham gave a final plug for North Texas Giving Day.

Presenting sponsors was PCORE Exploration & Production II/Mark Hiduke. Other sponsors included Linda and Rob Swartz, Sewell Automotive, Accelerate Resources and Christine and Jonathan Bassham.

* Photo provided by Dallas CASA

A Night To Remember’s Meet And Greet With Jennifer Hudson At The Winspear Was A Warm Get Together For CitySquare

The Winspear green room was more like a hot house on the night of Saturday, September 9. With at least three portable mini-heaters blowing away, it would have made an orchid feel right at home.

On the other hand, for guests preparing for CitySquare’s meet-and-greet with A Night To Remember concert headliner Jennifer Hudson, it was a bit toasty.

The reason for the hot times was the songbird’s concern for her voice. And anyone who had heard Hudson’s singing, they would understand and downright defend her need for warmth.

Stephanie Fox and Nick Sowell

After briefly cocktailing in the Hamon’s suite that was truly decked out, the top-drawer types like Stephanie Fox and Nick Sowell, Caleb Tam and Vy Duong, Jillian Jaccar Conry and Gerardo Diaz Blanco,  Erica  and Jack Thomason and Gernise and Terry Flowers lined up for the grip-and grin outside the green room. Inside Co-Chairs Wendy Messmann, Sherel Riley and Tiffany Touchstone-Hawkins were joined by CitySquare’s Brenda and Larry James.

Sherel Riley, Wendy Messmann and Tiffany Touchstone-Hawkins

On cue, Jennifer arrived in a denim shirt over a black top. While her smile was nearly blinding, her skin was what the cosmetic industry only wishes to achieve. She looked so rested and relaxed.

Without hesitation, she walked up to one and all in the room and greeted them. It was almost like she was ready to settle back and spend the evening chatting with them.

Larry James, Jennifer Hudson and Brenda James

But the handlers recognized there were dozens of big spenders waiting for a brief howdy-do and a quick photo. Jennifer’s one request as she walked over to the backdrop was, “Don’t shoot my feet.” All eyes shot to her feet. Were there extra toes? A tattoo? Nope. They looked as normal as could be. But who cared? It was the face, the smile and the voice that mattered.

And the concert proved that all three were in marvelous shape. For her reward, Jennifer and her crew toddled back to The Joule for a good night’s sleep, knowing that they had raised funds to help combat homelessness in Dallas.

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Decorations Revealed Reflecting Maestro Jaap Van Zweden’s Farewell Celebration Season

Todd Fiscus and Adele Ichilian

Event guru Todd Fiscus had just returned from a break in Mexico. The weeks earlier had had him in Sonoma, Calif., and a ranch in Wyoming and everywhere but Mars. But thanks to NDA (non-disclosure agreements), all he could show for his handiwork was a tan.

Before presenting the sneak preview of the 2017 Dallas Symphony Gala lookey-lookey on Tuesday, August 15, at the Meyerson Symphony Center, he did fess up to Culinaire Catering Director Adele Ichilian about the newest event trend — cellphone check-ins. Seems that folks who are hosting big-time weddings, birthdays, whatevers don’t want to be in the swamp of social media. As Todd put it, social media has become the four horsemen of the apocalypse: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat.

To solve the problem, Todd has created cellphone cubbyholes like yesteryear’s hotel key cubicles. Guests hand over their phones before entering the event, receive a receipt for the phone, and pick it up when leaving the occasion. While the guest is partying, Todd has arranged for the cellphones to be charged up.

Made sense. Example: For wedding photographers trying to capture the “money shot” of the newlyweds having that first kiss, the main aisle has been filled with guests’ arms stretching out with cellphones to also capture the moment.

Jana Etheridge and Clay and Lisa Cooley

Michelle Miller Burns and Randy Wilhoit

But on this night, Todd was laid back in shorts at the Meyerson for the DSO Gala décor presentation for guests including Jana Etheridge, Randall Wilhoit and Katherine and Key Coker.

According to Todd, DSO interim CEO Michelle Miller Burns and  DSO Gala Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley, there were “still a few tables available” for the Saturday, September 16, Gala, which will launch Farewell Celebration Season for departing  DSO Music Director Jaap Van Zweden, who’s decamping to lead the New York Philharmonic.

Therefore the Gala at the Meyerson will have a sort of “grand finale” look and feel, Todd said, with cool emerald greens (from the table linens to the Elephant ears from Brazil!) and malachite reflected throughout.

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala table setting

Joining Jaap and the DSO musicians will be the world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who is always a North Texas music lover’s favorite.

The concert will be preceded by a cocktail reception and seated dinner in the Renaissance Foyer with Honorary Chair Margaret McDermott.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala After-Party seating

As for the much-anticipated after-party, by contrast, it will be a “fun, sexy version of an after-party,” all aquas and hot pinks with a DJ providing the music.  

Tickets for the season’s first formal gala range from concert-and-after-party tickets to full-blown Gala packages.

 

The Rustic Is Gonna Be Rocking In September For Voices For A Cause And The 5th Annual Concert For A Cure, But Not At The Same Time

September may be known as the start of Friday night lights, the kickoff of the State Fair and the first hints of fall in the air. But this year it’s gonna be full of singing for nonprofits. Two concerts are being held to raise funds and they’re both gonna be at The Rustic, but not at the same time!

Voices For A Cause*

First will be Dallas CASA’s Voices for A Cause with Signed Out getting things started and followed by country artist Brandon Rhyder as the evening’s headliner starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 14. The benefit concert is being hosted by Dallas CASA Young Profession, whose “mission is to increase awareness for Dallas CASA while providing charitable and social opportunities for people ages 21 to 40.” Co-Chairs Kelcey Hamilton, Reasha Hedke and Dana Swann have arranged for the $25 ticket to include the concert, two drinks and appetizers.

2017 Concert For A Cure**

Two weeks later Leukemia Texas is holding its 5th Annual Concert for A Cure with Honorary Chair/former Dallas Cowboy Marco Rivera and Event Co-Chairs Jenny “New Mom” Anchondo and reality personality/marrow donor Stephanie Hollman. On the performing stage will be Grammy-Award winning Reckless Kelly. Individual tickets start at $75 and include a private VIP reception starting at 7 p.m., hors d’ oeuvres, two drink tickets, open seating and valet parking. But as you know, underwriting brings perks like additional seats with better views, recognition in signage and collateral materials and boasting rights.  

Can’t decide which one? No problemo. Attend both! The attire will be comfortable casual. The throngs of folks will be your type — generous and fun to be with. The causes are both life-changing.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2017 Cabaret Gala

According to Cabaret Gala Co-Chair Marisa Huckin,

Marisa Huckin (File photo)

Have you ever dreamed of hearing Idina Menzel, Julie Andrews, Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler, Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand all in one night? This is your opportunity to get your fix for the nostalgia of the golden age of entertainment. The Dallas Children’s Theater is celebrating its 25th annual Cabaret Gala with the Dallas debut of YouTube sensation Christina Bianco. Dallas is truly lucky to host a performance by this two-time Drama Desk Award nominated actress, singer, and impressionist!

25th Anniversary Cabaret Gala*

Treat yourself to an evening of song, surprises, and shenanigans while sipping champagne at your candle lit table. You’ll be among the chicest of guests at The Fairmont Hotel as The Dallas Morning News describes the DCT’s Cabaret Gala as”…arguably Dallas’ coolest arts-related fundraiser!”

And speaking of fabulous attendees, the Cabaret Gala’s honorary chairs are steadfast civic supporters, Deborah and Craig Sutton. They will be joined by their uber talented and acclaimed actor son, Montgomery Sutton, who literally grew up on-stage at DCT. As ongtime supporters of the arts, Deanna DiPizio-Johnson and I are sharing the chairmanship duties for this 25th anniversary event.

Before the show you will have a chance to sip cocktails and buy raffle tickets while being charmed by the melodic voice of Dallas’ own Janelle Lutz. Your raffle ticket entitles you the opportunity to win one of four fantastic prizes included in the 2017 Cabaret Gala raffle. The prizes include luxury accommodation and travel packages to New York City, Cancun, and San Francisco, and a jewelry shopping spree. Travel packages include flight accommodations courtesy of Southwest Airlines.

This intimate and entertaining evening of song and escapade is not too be missed! For reservations or raffle ticket information contact Artie Olaison at 214.978.0110 or go to www.dct.org/gala/.

* Graphic provided by Dallas Children's Theater

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Concert For A Cure

According to Leukemia Texas CEO Mandy O’Neill,

Mandy O’Neill, Dr. Maro O’Hanian and Erin Krah*

Over the past several years, Leukemia Texas has been able to fund every, eligible patient aid applicant. That was close to 500 applicants last year battling this devastating disease in Texas, a large number of these from the Dallas area. Their success is because of perseverance, limited expenses and generous donors who believe in their unique motto as ‘the only organization of its kind where funds raised in Texas, stay in Texas!’

Over the past five years, Leukemia Texas has increased their annual revenue more than 250%. As the demand for patient support increases, the need to generate revenue is strong. I’ve continued to keep the tradition of this 47-year-old organization, founded by the Minyard Family (Gretchen Minyard Williams and Liz Minyard Lokey continue to be active board members) by keeping expenses low and strengthening their signature events. The Beatleukemia Ball, Golf Classic and Concert for a Cure all generated record numbers this past year. They have also partnered with the MJ Event bringing in at least $250,000 new net dollars every year.

Concert For A Cure*

With their tremendous growth, and an estimated 3,000+ new leukemia diagnoses across the state, the addition of a third full time staff member is crucial. Leukemia Texas is currently searching for a seasoned Director of Program Development who is well versed in program management and major gift fundraising. Those interested in applying may reach out to Mandy at [email protected].

Their next event is the 5th annual Concert for a Cure to be held at the Rustic on Thursday September 28. Previous honorees include Kelcy Warren, Alicia Landry and Lynn McBee. Join Fox 4’s Jenny Anchondo, Real Housewife of Dallas Stephanie Hollman and former Dallas Cowboy and Hall of Famer Marco Rivera as they celebrate, eat delicious bites and raise critical funds to directly support leukemia patients in our own backyard.

* Graphic/photo provided by Leukemia Texas

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Cattle Baron’s Ball

According to 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill,

Anne Stodghill and Sunie Solomon (File photo)

The Cattle Baron’s Ball relies on the spirit and generosity of the Metroplex to fund the fight against cancer. Since 1974, we’ve raised more than $71 million for cancer research, the majority of which is conducted right here in DFW. True to Texas’ history of rising to the challenge, we’ve become the world’s largest single-night fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

While some might be hand-wringing at the prospect of continuing a legacy of ensuring more cancer research dollars are spent in Dallas than anywhere else in the country, they probably aren’t familiar with the members of the Cattle Baron’s Ball. Fortunately, the Cattle Baron’s Ball Committee is not comprised of the faint-of-heart – as evidenced by the fact that the CBB is the largest single-night fundraiser in the nation for cancer research through the American Cancer Society.

Join the fight and help us continue to make a difference! Cattle Baron’s Ball continues to support the American Cancer Society in the following incredible ways:

  • Provided more than 30,000 services to cancer patients in North Texas
  • Gave 7,414 rides to and from treatment
  • More than 1,500 free wigs were provided free of charge to cancer patients
  • More than 1,000 breast cancer patients were visited by our Reach to Recovery volunteers
  • Helped to enact strong state and local smoke-free laws that protect workers and the public from the dangers of secondhand smoke
  • Connected patients with more than 64,000 different treatment options, through our Clinical Trials Matching Service
  • Found the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer

Brooks and Dunn*

Dust off your boots and join us at Gilley’s on Saturday, October 21, for some serious Texas barbecue, the best silent and live auctions in town, followed by a heart-stopping performance from award-winning country and western entertainers Brooks and Dunn.

Everyone knows someone affected by cancer. From attending the ball to purchasing a raffle ticket, get involved with Cattle Baron’s Ball however you can and help us continue making a difference. 

Visit www.cattlebaronsball.com.

* Photo provided by 
2017 Cattle Baron's 
Ball

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Dallas Symphony 2017 Gala

Clay and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

According to Dallas Symphony 2017 Gala Co-Chair Lisa Cooley,

My husband, Clay and I, are honored to serve as co-chairs of the Dallas Symphony 2017 Gala on Saturday, September 16th at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Arguably, the world’s greatest living cellist Yo-Yo Ma will perform with Dallas Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Jaap van Zweden to the Farewell Season for the conductor.  We are thrilled to have philanthropist Margaret McDermott to serve as gala honorary chair. 

The black-tie evening, under the wizardry of designer Todd Fiscus, will include cocktails, the concert, seated dinner, After Party and dancing.  The After-Party is chaired by Graeme Ross and Lara and Brian Pryor.  After-Party honorary co-chairs are Wren and Benji Homsey.

Funds from the event will benefit the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s education and community programs that reach more than 250,000 North Texas residents annually, including 30,000 children. Capital One is the gala concert sponsor.

For tickets or sponsorship opportunities, please visit Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala.

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Dallas Arboretum And Botanical Garden

According to Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden Board Chair Mark Wolf,

If the children ask you again, “What are we doing today?,” tell them that you’re going to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden located at 8525 Garland Rd., Dallas, Texas, 75218. It’s open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and some nights are open even later including Wednesdays until 8 p.m. No reservations are needed, and there’s plenty to do, every day of the week. You can pack a picnic, blankets, strollers and wagons, and the children will thank you for showing them one of the top “15 Breathtaking Botanical Gardens in the World,” according to Architectural Digest. 

Picture perfection at the Dallas Arboretum (File photo)

Here are highlights, and more information is listed below.

  • ZimSculpt
  • Arboretum After Hours
  • Family Fun Fridays
  • Summer Wine Sampling Weekends (for those 21 and over)
  • Live Music Every Weekend
  • Summer Camps
  • Father’s Day Weekend
  • African Music Fest
  • Red, White and The Blues on July Fourth Weekend
  • Garden Gigs Concerts in July
  • Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden
  • August Dollar Days

Tickets range from $10 and $15 per person, and certain days have discounts (see below). Be sure to check the website, www.dallasarboretum.org and social media for the latest details. See you in the garden!

Cojoined, Victor Matafi*

ZimSculpt: Now thru July 31 — For the first time ever in the southern U.S., the Dallas Arboretum presents the international blockbuster exhibition ZimSculpt, a world-renowned display of modern Zimbabwean stone sculptures.  More than 100,000 guests have visited ZimSculpt, featuring live sculpting demonstrations daily by Zimbabwean sculptors and artists-in-residence, Aron Kapembeza and Passmore Mupindiko. Known as Shona sculpture, these contemporary pieces are carved from various types of serpentine and semi-precious stone, often weighing tons, and can be as large as seven feet tall. This sculpture is the most collected form of African art that can be found at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Rodin Museum and in the homes of the Prince of Wales, the Rockefellers, Morgan Freeman, Danny Glover and the late Michael Jackson.

Arboretum After Hours On Wednesdays: Now through October 25 — Bring a picnic, and dine al fresco in one of the prettiest places in Dallas. Every Wednesday, the garden extends its hours to 8 p.m. for families and friends to enjoy a night out. Tickets are buy one, get one free (general admission, only valid at the ticket booth.) 

Family Fun Fridays (Now through – July 28, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.) — Bring the family to the Pecan Grove for a critter-filled petting zoo, incredibly artistic face painting and lively music, every Friday through the end of July.

Summer Wine Sampling Weekends (Saturdays 11a.m.-3 p.m. and Sundays noon-3 p.m., Café on the Green) — New for the summer! Join us for wine samplings. For $10, those 21 years old and older can taste three samples of a specific varietal, with the featured varietal changing frequently. Price does not include garden admission.

Live Music Every Weekend (Saturdays and Sundays, 11a.m.-2 p.m., throughout the garden) — Enjoy different live performances tucked away in various locations through the garden every weekend this summer.

Summer Camps at the Arboretum: Varies weeks — These camps provide children ages 4 years to entering 7th grade with hands-on explorations in nature, science and art to spark imagination and inspire environmental stewardship. Register online.

Red, White & the Blues–July Fourth Weekend: July 1-4  (July 1-4, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.) — Pack a picnic, bring the family and celebrate Independence Day. Various blues bands will perform throughout the weekend to provide a cool, relaxing backdrop.

  • July 1: Linny Nance Network
  • July 2: Buddy Whittington Band
  • July 3: Linny Nance Network
  • July 4: Rob Holbert Group

Garden Gigs: July 14-28 — Friday evenings, 7:30-9:30 p.m. — Discover hidden gems-music by local musicians, adventurous choices from food trucks and off-the-beaten path spots in the garden. Admission $10 (non-members), $8 (members) and includes free parking.

  • July 14: Jonathan FoxZach CoffeyBecky Middelton
  • July 21: David TribbleJohn Lefler and CamilleMicah Peacock
  • July 28: Kate Minor, Shayne Green, TBD

Music Performances: Varies

  • Performance by Bandan Koro (July 22, 10 a.m.) — Move to the beat of African drum and dance ensemble on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn.
  • Performance by Kupira Marimba (July 22, noon) — Listen to high-energy, family friendly music from Kupira Marimba on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn.
  • Performance by Zimbabwe Choir, Lover’s Lane United Methodist Church (July 22, 2-3:30 p.m.) — Enjoy the inspiring voices of the Lover’s Lane United Methodist Church Zimbabwe Choir located at the DeGolyer Pergola.
  • Performance by Bandan Koro (July 23, 11 a.m.) — Move to the beat of African drum and dance ensemble on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn.

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden Activities: All Summer — This eight-acre children’s garden is where science and learning become one. Each learning area teaches science in a fun and interactive way. Try out your experimenting skills in the lab, and learn the parts of a flower in Plants Are Alive, where everything is larger than life. See below for select activities during special days/weekends in the garden.

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden’s plaza (File photo)

  • Mask Making with the DMA (June 24-25, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.) — Create a mask with the Dallas Museum of Art’s Teen Advisory Council.
  • Craft Corner: The Stars and Stripes (July 1-4, 9 a.m.-11 a.m., Entry Plaza) — Stop by the Craft Corner table and create a fun, patriotic craft using the colors of the American flag.
  • Click here for a full list of summer programs for the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.
  • A Study of Zimbabwe (Horti)Culture (July 15-16, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.) — Come and go workshop.

August Dollar Days: August 1-31 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) — Round up the whole family and come to the Arboretum for $1 main garden admission per person for the month of August.

Discounts: BOGO Wednesdays, which are buy one get one free general admission and include Nature Nights, are available at ticket booth, with a limit of one purchase per person. Senior Thursdays offer discounted admission of $11 for seniors 65 and older and a 20 percent discount in the Hoffman Family Gift Store.

* Photo provided by Dallas Arboretum

MySweetCharity To Launch Mini-Series — “Summer Pitch”

MySweetCharity

North Texas is now at “that point in the summer.” The kids have seen all the movies including the losers. The good old swimming hole is starting to look like it could boil lobster. Summer camp is either in the rear view mirror or still a couple of weeks away.

What’s left for the summer of 2017? Lots!

Thanks to North Texas nonprofits, there are still loads of gotta-dos available. Some are obvious and well known; others are off the traditional radar. But they’re all family oriented and the results of North Texan generosity.

In the days ahead, MySweetCharity is going to run a brief series — MSC Summer Pitch — for these organizations to describe their things-to-do for your consideration.

Why not give ‘em a try and don’t forget to take photos.  

JUST IN: First-Day Sales Of Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Single Ticket Sales Astounded Even DSO President/CEO Jonathan Martin

Jonathan Martin (File photo)

Despite Dallas Symphony Orchestra President/CEO Jonathan Martin disappointing many with his recent announcement of leaving North Texas for Cincinnati, he also shared some good news about the upcoming DSO Gala. It seems that the day that the single tickets for the DSO Gala went on sale, they really blew the DSO circuits.

When asked the cause for this DSO history-making situation, Jonathan said that it was three-fold: the amazing leadership (Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley and Honorary Chair Margaret McDermott), featured cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the final gala concert under the direction of DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden.

Make sure that your reservation is in for the Saturday, September 16, black tie fundraiser at the Meyerson.

Under A Bright Sun, The Star Shone With Great Taste, Cowboys, Chefs And North Texas Food Bank Fans

After the ups and downs of weather days combining cashmere shawls with Daisy Dukes, Sunday, May 7, was bright, shiny and in the 80s. It was especially shiny at the Dallas Cowboys’ Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, where the North Texas Food Bank’s fundraiser, Taste of the Cowboys, was preparing for 1,000 guests. Presenting sponsor for the event was Caliber Collision.

There had been changes from the past. It was no longer called Taste of the NFL. It was no longer at AT&T Stadium. It was no longer led by he-who-used-to-be-known-as Kent Rathbun, although there was a chap non-cooking on the premises with his family (wife/restaurateur Tracy Rathbun, son Max Rathbun and daughter Garrett Rathbun).

Garrett Rathbun,, Max Rathbun and Kent and Tracy Rathbun

While the Star’s mini-Jerry World is still a project in progress, there was some confusion about where to park and check in. VIPs like Susan and John Farris, Larry James of  CitySquare, current Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick, and former Cowboys star Preston Pearson were to enter for a 5 p.m. start, but evidently some general-admission early birds nestled in a line before their 6 p.m. official get in.

John and Susan Farris

Preston Pearson and Larry James

As signage directed all to general parking a block or so away, smart VIP-ers headed around the corner to the valet check-in. Once on foot, though, the confusion continued. Folks lined up 10 deep to check in, only to finally learn: “Oh, you’re supposed to go outside and the lady there will direct you.” Alas, there was no woman there, so humbled VIP-ers wandered down the walkway like children lost at the State Fair. Soon they discovered an outdoor mini-stadium field surrounded by food stations and topped with a stage with bands performing (the headliner set for 8:30 p.m. was to be Reckless Kelly).

Taste of the Cowboys stage

The good news was that, despite the lack of signage directions, the in-the-flesh NTFB staffers were more than willing to help get things straightened out.

Once inside the air-conditioned lobby between the indoor and outdoor playing fields, there were a Mirmir Photo Booth, a Kendra Scott set-up, and a number of silent auction items.

Dunia Borgia

Aaron Hardwick and Tina Um

Chris Memme

Outside, there sure wasn’t any A/C. But there were a heck of a lot of local chefs cooking up a storm. Dunia Borgia of La Duni Baking Studio had replaced her frozen treats (at last year’s event) with sweet empanadas; Tina Um and Aaron Hardwick were showing off their General Tsao’s Chicken from Howard Wang’s China Grill; and BIRD Bakery proprietor Elizabeth Chambers Hammer, famed for her cookies, cupcakes, and mini-cupcakes, was enjoying the afternoon with Julie Bowsher and Mary Welch. Other eateries represented included Mi Cocina, Seasons 52, Off the Bone Barbeque, and The Common Table. 

Jamie Poper, Jill Bailey, Taylor Wencis and Ben Austin

Blythe Beck

Craig Walter

Julie Bowsher and Mary Welch

JUST IN: Multi-Award Winner Jennifer Hudson To Headline CitySquare’s 2017 A Night To Remember On September 9 At The Winspear

Leave it to the CitySquare fundraisers. They always manage to come up with a performer who guarantees a sell-out. Last year’s Jerry Seinfeld was nearly a done deal before the ink on the contract was dry. Others who have been filled the Winspear Opera House for CitySquare have been Gladys Knight, Vince Gill, LeAnn Rimes, Clint Black, Steve Martin, Kirk Franklin, Jay Leno, Lyle Lovett, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and Hall and Oates.

Jennifer Hudson (File photo)

And the stellar talent roll-call keeps coming in, with the reveal that the headliner for A Night To Remember 2017 will be all-around winner (Academy Award, Grammy Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award) Jennifer Hudson.

Her voice is incredible and her presence on stage is memorable.

Co-chairing the event for the Saturday, September 9th fundraiser will be Wendy and Boyd Messmann,Tiffany Touchstone-Hawkins and Brandon Hawkins and Sherel Riley.

Tickets and sponsorships are available now. Proceeds from the event will support CitySquare’s “17 social service programs that address hunger, health, housing and hope with more than 50,000 human touches annually.”

So, while you’re chilling on your vacation, make plans now for a cool evening with Jennifer. Keep your fingers crossed that she might sing “Hallelujah.”

JUST IN: Philanthropist Margaret McDermott To Serve As Honorary Chair For Dallas Symphony Orchestra 2017 Gala

The fall season of fundraising is already making news. Dallas Symphony Orchestra 2017 Gala Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley have just announced that North Texas matriarch of philanthropy Margaret McDermott will serve as the honorary chair for the Saturday, September 16, fundraiser at the Meyerson with world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma as the featured musician.

It will be a reunion of sorts. Just five years ago Yo-Yo performed with DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden for the first time. Afterwards the two mega-stars joined Margaret at the post-concert reception.

Yo-Yo Ma, Jaap van Zweden and Margaret McDermott (File photo)

Alas, this performance may well be the final time Yo-Yo and Jaap will make beautiful music in the McDermott Hall, since Jaap is making his farewell tour as music director.

Tickets and sponsorships for the black-tie gala are available here!

In the meantime, why not check out the Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Soluna? It’s going on now through Sunday, June 4.

JUST IN: 2018 Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Announced

Anne Stodghill and Sunie Solomon (File photo)

Over at the Cattle Baron’s Ball’s Trailblazer’s Party sponsored by PlainsCapital Bank and PrimeLending, the co-chairs for the 2018 mega-fundraiser for cancer research and development were just announced.

In the footsteps of 2017 Co-Chairs brunette Sunie Solomon and red-haired Anne Stodghill, the group will be led by a couple of blondes and make that very blonde blondes! The twosome will be Katy Bock and Jonika Nix.

Katy Bock (File photo)

Jonika Nix (File photo)

In addition to both having served on the CBB auction committees, both Katy and Jonika are involved with this year’s “Shooting For The Stars — A Dream As Big As Texas” on Saturday, October 21. Katy is serving as production chair and Jonika is underwriting chair.   

CancerBlows Lineup Revealed For “The Legends Concert” And “CancerBlows: The Principals Recording Session And Concert”

CancerBlows*

The 2017 CancerBlows lineup has been finalized and the only one missing is Gabriel! According to organizers, the “legendary trumpet players” who will be performing at “The Legends Concert” on Wednesday, May 10, at the Meyerson will include Doc Severinsen of “Tonight Show” fame, ten-time Grammy winner Arturo Sandoval,  “Chicago” founder Lee Loughane, Dave Matthews band artist Rashawn Ross, DSO principal trumpet Ryan Anthony, international soloist Wycliffe Gordon, Hollywood musician Wayne Bergeron, international soloist Randy Brecker, former Canadian Brass artist Joe Burgstaller, cancer survivor and composer Anthony DiLorenzo, clinician Vince DiMartino, former Canadian Brass artist Jens Lindemann, international soloist Rex Richardson,  former Canadian Brass artist Ronald Romm, Boston Brass soloist Jose Sibaja, international artist Marvin Stamm, international soloist Allen Vizzutti, world-renowned conductor Jeff Tyzik and Bozeman and Wyoming Symphony Director Matthew Savery.

In addition to the Wednesday big-name concert, there is also the “CancerBlows: The Principals Recording Session And Concert” at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, May 8, at the Meyerson featuring Ryan Anthony, David Krauss of Met Orchestra, Chris Martin of the New York Philharmonic, Tom Rolfs of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops, Michael Sachs of the Cleveland Orchestra, Mark Gould of the NY Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Mark Hughes of the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Kyle Sherman of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Stanley Friedman of the Israel Philharmonic, the Imperial Brass and Tom Booth, Russell Campbell, Kevin Finamore, Barry Hearn and Chris Oliver of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

It was just two years ago that North Texas got blown away by this incredible collection of musicians benefiting Baylor Health Care System Foundation and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

Tickets and sponsorships are still available here!

Threatening Skies Cleared Just In Time For 1,300 To Eat, Drink And Celebrate The Inaugural Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival

When Chef Sharon Van Meter took a flight from New Orleans to Dallas on the morning of Thursday, March 16, she was hoping Big D would be warmer than the Big Easy had been. But she arrived to 60-degree weather, overcast skies and the threat of drizzle.

Sharon Van Meter

Normally, that would not be a problem for a chef, but Sharon was chairing the inaugural Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival that evening outdoors at the Dallas Arboretum with an expected 1,300 guests.

As the day continued, organizers called area meteorologists hoping to hear that clear skies were on the evening docket. In the meantime, Sharon received at least 200 calls seeking tickets for the sold-out fundraiser.

Even at 5 p.m., things weren’t looking so rosy, with the clouds staying put. Then, magically, right on cue at 6 p.m. as the VIP patrons approached the Main Parking Gate, the skies cleared, with the sun slowly slipping into the west over White Rock Lake and temperatures in the low 70s.

The festival was a way to start building the anticipation of the under-construction, two-acre “A Tasteful Place” slated to open this fall. The Place will be a cornucopia of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers, plus a 3,600-square-foot Garden Pavilion for dining and teaching. But for now, the guests were on the scene to dine and wine throughout the Arboretum. 

Chad Houser and LaDarian Neal

The VIP types were directed to the DeGolyer House for a private reception, where they had expected to see the Chef With No Name. But, no. No Name was a no show. Still, there were other chefs like Chad Houser and Craft Spirits specialist/mixologist Matt Orth making magic.

Cliff and Gail Fischer and Denny and Connie Carreker

Christine Stein and Haley Muse

Alexis Abril and Danielle Abril

Patricia Dunne, Traudi Bandura, Jeanette Johnson and Melora Leiser

The VIPs enjoyed the terrace better than even the DeGolyer family had with incredible dining, view of the grounds and White Rock and seeing such folks as Gail and Cliff Fischer, Connie and Denny Carreker,  Patricia Dunne, Traudi Bandura, Jeanette Johnson, Melora Leiser, Christine Stein, Haley Muse and Danielle Abril with her brother Alexis Abril.

Dallas Arboretum Food And Wine Festival

Terry and Anne Conner

Kay Weeks

In the meantime, the early-arrival general admission guests lined up for the official opening at 6:30. What they discovered were four areas throughout the grounds, each one representing a different region (Pan Asian, Southern American, American Bistro and Mediterranean) featuring loads of area chefs (Chef Aaron Staudenmaier of Shinsei/Lovers Seafood and Market, Chef Abraham Salum of Salum Restaurant, Chef Alex Astranti of Uchi, Chef Anastacia Quinones of Oddfellows, Chef Andrea Shackelford of Harvest Seasonal Kitchen, Chef April Barney of Miller and Associates, Chef Brad Phillips of Asador Restaurant at the Renaissance Dallas, Chef Chad Houser of Café Momentum, Chef Christopher Patrick of Abacus, Chef Daniel Pittman of LUCK, Chef Daniele Puleo of CiboDivino, Chef Dunia Borga of La Duni Baking Studio, Chef David Gauthier of Smoky Rose, Chef Eric Dreye of Fearings, Chef Gianni Santin of Haute Sweet Patisserie, Chef Henry Gentry of Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Chef Jay Valley of Saint Rocco’s, Chef Janice Provost of Parigi, Chef Jean-Marie of CADOT, Chef Jeffrey Hobbs of The Slow Bone, Chef John Doumas of Pop Star Handcrafted Popsicles, Chef John Tesar of Knife, Chef Josh Harmon of Kitchen LTO, Chef Junior Borges and Chef Josh Sutcliff of Mirador, Chef Justin Box of Cedars Social, Chef Katherine Clapner of Dude Sweet Chocolate, Chef Larry Williams of Sallio, Chef Luis Olvera of Trompo Taco, Chef Mark Wootton of Garden Café, Chef Mary Sparks of Emporium Pies, Chef Matt McCallister of FT33, Chef Meaders Ozarow of Empire Baking Co., Chef Michael Scott of Rosewood Ranches Wagyu Beef, Chef Mike Shetsky of SĒR Steak and Spirits, Chef Nikky Phinyawatana of Asian Mint, Chef Omar Flores of Casa Rubia/Whistle Britches, Chef Rebecca Jolly of Grayson Social, Chef Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s, Chef Robert Lyford of Patina Green Home and Market, Chef Samantha Rush of Rush Patisserie, Chef Samir Dhurandhar of Nick and Sam’s, Chef Scott Nakachi of Paul Martin’s American Grill, Chef Sheila Roidopoulos of Cheesecake Royale and Royale Desserts, Chefs Sonny Pache and Michael Scott of Ocean Prime and Chef Uno Immanivong of Chino Chinatown) and wines to match. The people-watching merrily continued with Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi supporting her CapRock Services husband Alex Laurenzi and Smoky Rose brother David Cash, Kay Weeks and Anne and Terry Conner. Alas, the servers like Sonny Pache, Sandra Reyes and Roberto Cabrera were so busy serving, they rarely got a chance to look up.

Alex Laurenzi, Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi and David Cash

Another highlight of the evening was checking out the Dallas Blooms’ “Peace, Love And Flower Power” displays.

Dallas Blooms’ Love, Peace and Flower Power

Just after 8 p.m. Hobo Cane was in concert at the Martin Rutchik Concert Lawn, along with desserts from around the world.  

Dallas Arboretum VP Terry Lendecker looked like a person amazed at how perfect it all turned out — the 500,000 blossoms were vying for attention skyward; the guests grazed happily at the 40-ish chef stations; the weather was a step above spectacular; and there was not a mosquito in sight.

Summed up Chef Sharon: “What a perfect place this was for it. We all love the Arboretum. I call Arboretum people ‘little fairies,” because they go around spreading good cheer all over the place!” 

Make plans now for the next Food and Wine Festival. It’s scheduled for Thursday, March 22, 2018.

2017 CancerBlows Committee Tackles Everything From Coordinating World-Class Musicians’ Scheduling To Busing Kids In

Putting on a one-day-only event is tough. Managing all the logistics is like juggling cactus. But a multi-day venture ramps all those headaches to migraine status. So, the CancerBlows team has been orchestrating all the arrangements of bringing in world-class trumpet players for its May 8th-May 10th fundraising activities for The Ryan Anthony Foundation.

But it’s all underway, thanks to CancerBlows Co-Founders Niki and Ryan Anthony and Co-Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock and Anne and Steve Stodghill and the legion of volunteers, committee members and sponsors raising funds to battle multiple myeloma.

How about an example? On Tuesday, May 9, there will be a series of free Education Events including

  • Chamber Music Master Class — CancerBlows artists affiliated with chamber music groups such as Canadian Brass, Boston brass, Rhythm and Brass and more work with collegiate brass quintets.
  • Panel Discussion with CancerBlows Artists — Public Q&A session with CancerBlows artists. Topics include warm-up techniques, making a living as a freelancer and professionalism in the workplace.
  • CancerBlows Jazz Master Class — CancerBlows artists work with pre-selected high school and collegiate trumpet players with emphasis on jazz.
  • Cancer Blows Classical Master Class — Cancer Blows artists work with pre-selected high school and collegiate trumpet players with a classical emphasis.
  • CancerBlows Big Band/Jazz Artist rehearsal — Select local high school and college students are invited to watch the first half of the CancerBlows Big Band and Jazz Artist rehearsal.
  • Lessons With the Legends* — Select CancerBlows Legends will make lesson times available to individuals.

Ryan Anthony

Niki Anthony

Tim Andersen

David Cowling

That all sounds like it covers all the bases, but then how do you transport the students to the events? That was one of the  questions addressed at a meeting of volunteers on Monday, February 27, at Jones Day including Niki, Ryan, David Cowling, Todd Ranta and Tim Andersen.

The answer seemed simple — just use school buses. Not so fast. It was to take place on a school day, and the school buses’ priority was busing students home. And you just thought carpool was a challenge! But not to worry. The team handled the challenge, so the kids wouldn’t miss out.

BTW, if you want to be part of the committee putting this mega-fundraiser together to fight multiple myeloma, you’ll be hanging out with Jenna Alexander, Larry Alexander, Diane and Joel Allison, Niki and Ryan Anthony, Deidre and Chris Bacala, Jamie Jo Boulogne, Laura and Bob Beard, Diane and Hal Brierley, Christen Casenave, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Rozalyn and Robert Colombo, Phyllis and CJ Comu, Megan and Michael Considine, John Conn, Lisa and Clay Cooley, Amy Youngquist and David Cowling, Serena and Tom Connelly, Roberta Corbett, Barbara and Don Daseke, Pam and Mark Denesuk, Cary and Mark Deuber, Heidi and Bill Dillon, Dean Dimmitt, Noelle and David Dunavan, Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, Ashley Berges and Greg Fasullo, Lora Farris, Michelle and Kevin Finamore, Holly Forsythe, Emily and Darryl Freeling, Don Gaiser, Hadley and Travis Galt, Shay and Brian Geyer, Sally and Mark Helm, Julie and Ken Hersh, Stephanie and Travis Hollman, Peggy and Tim Horner, Kristi and Ron Hoyl, Colleen O’Conner and Joe Hubach, Laree Hulshoff and Ben Fischer, Linda and Steve Ivy, Lindsay and Chuck Jacaman, Wendy and Michael Jenkins, Kathie and Randy King, Maggie Kipp, Jeri and David Kleiman, Richard Stanley and Matthew Kline, Allan Knight and Cearan Henley, Tracy and Ben Lange, Julian Leaver, Susan and Dean McSherry, Alison and Mike Malone, Rhonda and Fraser Marcus, Amy and Jonathan Martin, Sarah Catherine Norris, Delia Parman and Robert Kyle, Leah and Jim Pasant, Cyndi Phelps, Terri and Brad Phillips, Mary Martha and John Pickens, Brian Ratner, Stacey and John Relton, Melody and Rick Rogers, Carla Ferrer and Joe Russo, Susan Post Sanford, Lisa Simmons, Lisa and Marvin Singleton, Linda and Thomas Smith, Hamilton A. Sneed, Cindy Stager, Tara and Harvey Stotland, Aneeta and Sandy Sule, Elisa and Stephen Summers, Patti Flowers and Tom Swiley, Ellen and Larry Talley, Jill Tananbaum, Rachel and Christopher Trowbridge, Ashley Tatum and New Walker, Nikki and Crayton Webb, Kameron and Court Westcott and Piper and Mike Wyatt.

Contact Niki for information on how to sign up.

* There is a fee for the lesson and available times are very limited.

Sold-Out Alert!: Dallas Arboretum’s Inaugural Food And Wine Festival

Dallas Bloom’s tulips (File photo)

Despite claims that North Texas has been evacuated due to Spring Break, ain’t so! In fact, more than 1,300 are gonna be at the Dallas Arboretum’s First-Ever Food and Wine Festival Thursday. If you haven’t gotten your ticket, you’re out of luck because the food fest is sold out!

Janice Provost and Abraham Salum (File photo)

Chad Houser (File photo)

Dunia Borga (File photo)

It’s been such a gangbuster sell-out that the tulips are squeezing together to make room for the participating chefs (Chef Sharon Van Meter, Chef Aaron Staudenmaier, Chef Abraham Salum, Chef Alex Astranti, Chef Anastacia Quinones, Chef Andrea Shackelford, Chef April Barney, Chef Brad Phillips, Chef Chad Houser, Chef Christopher Patrick, Chef Daniel Pittman, Chef Daniele Puleo, Chef Dunia Borga, Chef Rebecca Jolly, Chef David Gauthier, Chef Dunia Borga, Chef Eric Dreyer, Chef Gianni Santin, Chef Henry Gentry, Chef Jay Valley, Chef Janice Provost, Chef Jean-Marie, Chef Jeffrey Hobbs, Chef John Doumas, Chef John Tesar, Chef Josh Harmon, Chef Junior Borges, Chef Josh Sutcliff, Chef Justin Box, Chef Katherine Clapner, Chef Larry Williams, Chef Luis Olvera, Chef Mark Wootton, Chef Mary Sparks, Chef Matt McCallister, Chef Meaders Ozarow, Chef Michael Scott, Chef Mike Shetsky, Chef Nikky Phinyawatana, Chef Omar Flores, Chef Richard Chamberlain, Chef Robert Lyford, Chef Samantha Rush, Chef Samir Dhurandhar, Chef Scott Nakachi, Chef Sheila Roidopoulos, Chefs Sonny Pache, Michael Scott and Chef Uno Immanivong).

After grazing among the 500,000 blossoms and food stations, guests will be entertained with a concert on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage And Lawn as the sun sets behind White Rock Lake.