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 $68 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.

JUST IN: Vogel Alcove’s 26th Annual Arts Performance Event To Have Cocktails On The Lawn With Loggins Inside

Leave it to Vogel Alcove to be combine a longtime favorite with something totally different and new. That’s what Co-Chairs Ricki and Andy Rabin and Lisa and Scott Wilson have arranged for Vogel Alcove’s 26th Annual Arts Performance Event on Thursday, May 11.  

Kenny Loggins*

The “longtime favorite” is Grammy-winning Kenny Loggins, who has been making beautiful music for dancing and listening for four decades. While some folks can’t help but start dancing when they hear his “Footloose,” others cruise his current tunes with country trio Blue Sky Riders. And Kenny is even reaching out to an audience that’s not old enough to drive a car with his “Children’s book called ‘Footloose,’ based on his mega-hit song for the eponymous film.”

And to provide the music for the after-party dancing, it will be none other than the Emerald City Band, which Mayor Mike Rawlings has tapped as “The House Band of Dallas.”

Now, for the “something totally different and new,” the Rabins and Wilsons are going to have the whole shindig at the Omni Dallas Hotel. So, what’s so new about the Omni? Well, the cocktail reception is not going to take place in the Trinity nor Dallas lobbies. It’s going “to be held for the first time on the Pegasus Lawn.” Then guests will amble across the driveway into the hotel for an elegant meal presented by McKool Smith and the entertainment.

If it rains…well, guess the whole kit and kaboodle will be indoors.

Tickets for the reception, dinner, performance and after-party start at $750. And, of course, sponsorships are available.

Suggestion: Leave the tuxedo and the frou-frou gown at home. Go shopping for something that goes well with spring lawn parties and dancing.  

* Photo credit: Stephen Morales

JUST IN: Lisa And Clay Cooley To Chair 2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala With Yo-Yo Ma As Featured Musician

The day is already starting with breaking news. This announcement comes from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra about its 2017 DSO Gala on Saturday, September 16. DSO President/CEO Jonathan Martin just revealed that Lisa and Clay Cooley will be co-chairing this year’s black-tie gala at the Meyerson.

Clay and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

According to Jonathan, “We are delighted that Lisa and Clay have agreed to chair this year’s gala. Their philanthropic work in Dallas is strongly recognized in our community, and we know they will lead an event that will be a night to remember.”

Among the Cooleys’ numerous philanthropic involvement are The Crystal Charity Ball, The Cattle Baron’s Ball, The American Cancer Society, The Family Place, New Friends New Life, Family Gateway, American Heart Association, The Dallas Opera, Callier Center for Communication Disorders, St. Mark’s School of Texas, The Hockaday School and Southern Methodist University.

The gala event is considered the fall season opener for black-tie fundraising with photographers hustling to snap the elegant crowd during the reception preceding the seated dinner in the Meyerson lobby and the concert in the Eugene McDermott Concert Hall.

But there’s still more news from Jonathan! Internationally renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma will be the guest musician performing the Dvořák Cello Concerto with DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden and the DSO. 

Japp van Zweden and Yo-Yo Ma (File photo)

Jonathan said, “There is no bigger soloist in classical music than Yo-Yo Ma. He is revered for his musicianship as well as his commitment to education. We are so pleased that he will be the Gala guest artist to kick off and celebrate the 10th and Farewell Celebration Season of Music Director Jaap van Zweden.”

Yo-Yo is a perfect pick. In addition to being over-the-top brilliant with a bow, he’s incredibly fun and, like the Cooleys, has a killer smile.

There are three opportunities to join the fun:

  • For full blown gala tickets, table purchases and gala sponsorships, contact Tab Boyles at 214.871.4045.
  • If you’re a season subscriber or were thinking about it, you can purchase concert/after-party tickets starting Saturday, February 11.
  • Single tickets for non-subscribers will go on sale Wednesday, April 12.

For a complete read of all the deets, follow the jump for the full release. Then get your reservations in and go shopping for that pretty new frock. [Read more…]

MySweet2017Goals: Niki and Ryan Anthony

Ryan and Niki Anthony (File photo)

According to Ryan Anthony Foundation Co-Founders Niki and Ryan Anthony,

“Our goal is to exceed the success of the original CancerBlows concert that debuted in 2015 event when the concert and programming returns to Dallas in May! With the help of Honorary Co-Chairs Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger, Event Co-Chairs D’ Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock and Anne and Steve Stodghill, we are working tirelessly to bring enhanced awareness and record funds to help eradicate multiple myeloma.”

MySweetWishList: CancerBlows

According to Ryan Anthony Foundation Co-Founder Niki Anthony,

Ryan and Niki Anthony (File photo)

CancerBlows was meant to be a once-in-as-life time musical event bringing together legendary trumpet players in a special concert and after party. The event sold out and raised substantial money for Multiple Myeloma patients and research via the Ryan Anthony Foundation.

“My husband, Ryan Anthony, principal trumpet of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra since 2008, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma at age 43 in 2012. Thanks to aggressive and ongoing treatment, Ryan is in remission.  But, our passion to eradicate the disease is still strong.

“We are so fortunate to have a second CancerBlows scheduled for May of 2017 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. We are anticipating 1,800 guests who will enjoy a performance with such headliners as Doc Severinson, Arturo Sandoval, the Canadian Brass and Dave Matthews Band trumpeter Rashawn Ross in addition to fifteen other legends.

CancerBlows*

“During this holiday season, we are so grateful to the have the endorsement of philanthropists Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger who have brought tremendous resources to our efforts being spearheaded by Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock with Co-Chairs Anne and Steve Stodghill.

“My wish is that everyone who has been affected by this dreaded disease finds the treatment, hope and eventual cure that is on the horizon. Proceeds from CancerBlows will directly benefit individuals in the Dallas area.  In the meantime, please make plans to join us for this important fund-raising event on May 10. Visit cancerblows.com for more information.”

-By Niki Anthony, Ryan Anthony Foundation co-found

* Graphic provided by CancerBlows

2016 Cattle Baron’s Ball Made Some Tweaks To The POA Resulting In An Over-The-Top Fundraiser With Dwight Yoakam And Toby Keith

The 2016 Cattle Baron’s Ball redefined the words Texas Proud on Saturday, October 15, at Gilley’s. Despite the MIA of Rogers, Hunts, Simmons and all the legendary names of giving, other philanthropists rose to the occasion of fighting cancer with funding.

Andrea Weber, DwightYoakmam and Cara French

Andrea Weber, DwightYoakmam and Cara French

In spite of Co-Chair Andrea Weber having given birth just two weeks earlier and Co-Chair Cara French having been hit by the making-the-rounds stomach virus, their game plan and committee of 100 rose to the occasion and impressed even the hard-to-impress oldtimers.  

Perhaps it was due to some rearranging of thangs. First of all, the decision was made to have two headliners perform — Dwight Yoakam on the Live Auction Stage and Toby Keith on the Andrews Distributing Main Stage. In the past, the evening had centered around one big name performer like Tim McGraw or Kenny Chesney on the Main Stage. This move was smart…very smart.

Dwight Yoakam

Dwight Yoakam

Another change in POA was having the VIP party take place in South Side Ballroom with the swells having their own private 30-minute concert provided by Dwight. In the meantime, the general admission types grazed on never-ending vittles, checked out the silent auction and rode the Ferris wheel. One Dwight devotee general admission guest was asked if he was disappointed about missing out on the private performance. His response, after he finished chewing a mouthful of food, was, “Heck, no. We’re having too much fun eating!”

At 7 p.m., the doors to the ballroom were open for all to catch the rest of Dwight’s performance.

Okay, so that’s what was going on publicly. Behind the scenes, just before Dwight went on stage, the VVIPs found themselves queuing up among the catering staff for their photo opp with Dwight. Behind the curtain, all was set up for a quick grip-and-grin including a box for the photogs to use. Seems Dwight prefers that arrangement. One onlooker suggested that it might be due to Dwight’s extra weight. Nah!

As the VVIPs lined up, word was passed that Dwight was present. He accommodated one and all except for one photographer’s request: “Could you raise your hat?” Dwight smiled and said, “No. People don’t want to see my eyes.”

But everybody wanted to see Dwight on stage and he did not disappoint one iota. Playing all his hits—from “Little Ways” and “Fast as You” to “Ain’t That Lonely Yet”—Dwight also performed several songs in tribute to the late Merle Haggard. Thanks to his performance, the energy was in “skyrocket drive.” Even the stuffiest types found themselves being part of the mosh pit.

Hal Brierley, Kent Rathbun, Diane Brierley, Kevin Garvin, Dean Fearing, Nick Barclay and Jim Severson

Hal Brierley, Kent Rathbun, Diane Brierley, Kevin Garvin, Dean Fearing, Nick Barclay and Jim Severson

Amy Turner and Stephen Ratchford

Amy Turner and Stephen Ratchford

It was the perfect warm-up for the live auction that took place almost seconds after Dwight and his crew left the stage. And what a live auction it was.

Hal Brierley hinted that he and wife Diane Brierley just might take a pass on the Smokin’ Chefs’ Silver Anniversary Dinner this year. They had already bought five or six in the past. Diane smiled. Perhaps Hal was doing a fake pass. Indeed! With chefs Kent Rathbun, Dean Fearing, Nick Barclay, Jim Severson, Kevin Garvin, David Holben and Richard Chamberlain on stage, the Brierley got into a bidding war with blonde, turquoise-wearing Amy Turner. Kent and the boys were determined to kick the final tab past the six-figure mark. After a brief huddle, the boys agreed to sell two dinners for $75,000 each. Someone recalled that this solution had taken place in past years, with the two dinners hitting the $100,000 mark.

Lisa Cooley

Lisa Cooley

Last year’s dinner co-winner Lisa Cooley had already won her party night earlier in the auction, by picking up the Texas-Sized Party At Gilley’s for 200, complete with Rivers And Rust, for $55,000. When asked how she planned to use the party time, she held up her two hands flashing five fingers on each. Hello? Come again. She’s going to use it for her upcoming 55th birthday.

Gail and Cliff Fischer

Gail and Cliff Fischer

The Bring Out The Big Guns! Package got a standing ovation, thanks to the presentation by Stand 2 Armory team made up of former Navy Seals, Army Rangers, Green Berets and Dallas SWAT, who would provide a day of shooting all types of machine guns for seven people. Said one of the guys, hyping the package: “Nothing says America more than guns, explosions, and curing cancer!” It went for $82,000.

But the big OMG number of the night was dropped by Cliff Fischer. He hit the $100K mark with a Texas-sized smile for the Steak You Claim On A Night With The Boys…. the boys being Troy Aikman, Charles Haley, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Darren Woodson and the steaks being courtesy of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. Seems that Cliff bought the package last year, held it at his mansion-sweet-mansion, flew in folks from around the country and had one heck of a great time. This time he’s planning on doing it even bigger and better.

The bidding was so impressive that credit card companies were reeling from the numbers coming out of Dallas.

Of course, there was a bargain or two. For instance, Swiss explorer Johan Ernst Nilson told the crowd that the last time his Bhutan Adventure was put up for auction, it went for $170,000. Guess Dallasites aren’t into trekking through “the happiest place on Earth.” It was picked up for a measly $38,000.  

Mary C. Corrigan

Mary C. Corrigan

Andrea Nayfa, Dawn Greiner, Nancy Gopez and Kris Johnson

Andrea Nayfa, Dawn Greiner, Nancy Gopez and Kris Johnson

Brook Hortenstine and Paige Westhoff

Brook Hortenstine and Paige Westhoff

Samantha Wortley and Bina Patel

Samantha Wortley and Bina Patel

And that was just a snapshot of the live auction that ran right on schedule thanks to the Baronesses ringing those cowbells and auctioneers Wendy Lambert and Amy Assiter running a tight ship. In fact it finished early, so the folks could get back for seconds of food or hit the casino games that made Choctaw looked like a bingo parlor.

Luke Lange

Luke Lange

Toby Keith and gals in blue

Toby Keith and gals in blue

That was just enough time to amble next door to the bigger-than-a-small-town tent for Toby Keith on the Andrews Distributing Main Stage. Behind the scenes, the VVIPs lined up for a grip-and-grin with Toby. Despite the line seeming never to end, Toby howdy-ed everyone and even signed cancer-survivor Luke Lange’s cowboy hat.

Just after the last couple posed with Toby and he was headed to the stage, someone noted a couple of Dallas police standing nearby. Shoot! What was one more photo? Toby liked the idea and so did his crew and so did the policewomen. Picture snapped and Toby was on his way.

Like Dwight, Toby didn’t disappoint. It was as if more than 3,000 had all overdosed on Red Bull.

Toby Keith

Toby Keith

Still another change in operation this year was the line of security types stoically seated in front of the stage facing the thousands. This arrangement helped prevent a mosh pit from taking place and blocking the view of the peeps sitting at tables upfront.

And speaking of “change,” the CBB abacuses are still counting up the amount that will be put on the check to support cancer research and development.

2017 CBB Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill have their work cut out for them, and they love the challenge. It’s gonna be hard to improve on this one.

For more photos from the night’s fun(d)raising, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2016 Cattle Baron’s Ball

Toby Keith

Toby Keith

With a few adjustments to the usual POA, the 2016 Cattle Baron’s Ball was a blowout hit for the 3,000+ at Gilley’s on Saturday, October 15. But then how could you miss with Dwight Yoakam kicking things off and Toby Keith keeping the momentum going? Even Mother Nature played nicely, so the view of downtown Dallas from the top of the Ferris wheel was spectacular.

Megan Flanagan, Jamie Jo Hayes, Karen James, Stacey Relton, Merrick Huckin, Annika Cail and Elizabeth Fischer

Megan Flanagan, Jamie Jo Hayes, Karen James, Stacey Relton, Merrick Huckin, Annika Cail and Elizabeth Fischer

No wonder the live auction rocked with those baronesses exercising those cowbells and revving up the lively auction

While the post is being prepared, check out the baronesses and buckaroos at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala

Friday nights in the fall usually have North Texans in bleachers watching high school football games. Ah, but not on Friday, September 16. After an afternoon nappy-poo following the Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show at Neiman Marcus Downtown, the beautiful people donned their finery for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala at the Meyerson.

Todd Clendening, Sherwood Wagner, Roger and Marena Gault, Gina and Tom Landry

Todd Clendening, Sherwood Wagner, Roger and Marena Gault, Gina and Tom Landry

Scott Cantrell’s review of the concert in The Dallas Morning News only described the fundraising gala patrons of the DSO as “well-dressed Dallas swells.” Ah, shoot! It was a heck of lot more “swell” than the classical music critic wrote.

Margaret McDermott

Margaret McDermott

Mike Rawlings and Joan and Sanford Weill

Mike Rawlings and Joan and Sanford Weill

But let’s leave Scotty to reviewing the audio features of the night. Instead, let’s just focus on the visuals and interaction of the local DSO supporters like Margaret McDermott and out-of-towners like Joan and Sanford Weill. After all, without those “swells,” there might not be any concerts to review.

For a look at some of Scott’s “swells,” check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery while the post is being prepared.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld Wasn’t The Only Entertainment Legend In The House For CitySquare’s “A Night To Remember”

It seemed like there were a lot of last minute arrivals at the Winspear on Saturday, September 10. And unlike the usual opera lovers and Broadway aficionados, this crowd was a more comfortably dressed type in jeans, sneakers and adorable sundresses. But it was CitySquare’s “A Night To Remember” with a double dose of comedian Jerry Seinfeld on stage. Yes, the first show had been a sell-out before the starting gun was even triggered. But somehow Co-Chairs Cindy and Scott Collier, Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Kara and Ross Miller and Tiffany Touchstone-Hawkins and Brandon Hawkins managed to get a second show at 9 p.m. and it was a done deal immediately, too!

Ross Miller, Scott Collier, Jerry Seinfeld, Tiffany Touchsteon-Hawkins and Wendy Messmann

Ross Miller, Scott Collier, Jerry Seinfeld, Tiffany Touchstone-Hawkins and Wendy Messmann

While the Winspear looked as filled as the State Fair’s Midway with photo booths, promos for the Del Frisco’s 5K Walk and Run and lines for the beverage bars, there were two behind-the-scenes activities underway.

One was in Hamon Hall, where in years past there had been a very seated dinner for patrons. Instead it was a filled-to-bulging-capacity cocktail party with curtained off arrangements of couches, open bars and music. It was here that the patrons learned that an incredible $1.3M had been earned so far by the event. Still they were hoping to top that marker by the end of the evening.

The other event was far more limited to the very top supporters. To gain access was harder than getting into a speakeasy next door to the temperance league. Once you passed muster, you were led down a long hallway leading to the bowels of the Winspear. Behind glass doors was a receiving room. Initially, there were just a handful of staffers and a man in a suit and tie. He was small in stature, but unbeknownst to others he was a giant in the entertainment industry. But more about him later.

As 100 people lined up on the other side of the glass door, Seinfeld entered the room. In a beautifully tailored suit and tie he introduced himself to the photographers and discussed the plans. It was obvious that he was an old hand at meet-and-greets and immediately agreed to the POA and set up. The little man stood on the sidelines. This was definitely not his first rodeo at grip-and-grinning, nor working with Seinfeld. But still he took everything in, monitoring the situation like a mother hawk watching her chick.

Jerry Seinfeld and Brenda and Larry James

Jerry Seinfeld and Brenda and Larry James

Jerry Seinfeld and Farrai and Steve Smith

Jerry Seinfeld and Farrai and Steve Smith

Jerry Seinfeld and Stephanie Fox and Nick Sowell

Jerry Seinfeld and Stephanie Fox and Nick Sowell

Jerry Seinfeld and Kara and Ross Miller

Jerry Seinfeld and Kara and Ross Miller

Then the doors opened and the crowd including Brenda and CitySquare’s Larry James and Farrai and Steve Smith queued up for a howdy-and-handshake with Seinfeld. The comedian was smooth and gracious. He directed a couple of dozen arrangements, positioning the female guest in the middle between him and her escort. Nick Sowell admitted that he was more than nervous in meeting Seinfeld. But it happened so fast that the jitters didn’t have time to cause a problem.

Bailey Balderson, Ella Jay, Merritt Jay, Jerry Seinfeld, David Siburt, Tyler Gaylor, Katie Siburt and Hanna Pool

Bailey Balderson, Ella Jay, Merritt Jay, Jerry Seinfeld, David Siburt, Tyler Gaylor, Katie Siburt and Hanna Pool

When a gaggle of kids arrived for a group shot, he shook each one’s hand. He advised an adorable blonde tyke to provide a firmer handshake. When an extra photo was taken of the kids, the little man urged the photographers to move on.

When the final photo was taken, Seinfeld bid farewell and disappeared through a door. No muss, no fuss.

Sunie Solomon

Sunie Solomon

Chris and Ashlee Kleinert

Chris and Ashlee Kleinert

Emilie Gioia, Jane Rozelle and Bob and Kathleen Rozelle

Emilie Gioia, Jane Rozelle and Bob and Kathleen Rozelle

Out in the lobby as notice was alerting the full house to move into the hall, guests like Sunie and Steve Solomon, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Jane Rozelle with her bud Emilie Gioia, and Jane’s folks Kathleen and Bob Rozelle arrived.

As Seinfeld took the stage for the first show of the night, raising the roof with laughter, the behind-the-scenes story was starting to sink in. The diminutive gent was far more than a friend accompanying the legendary comedian. He was George Shapiro, whose life and input in the entertainment industry was the type that others just imagine or dream of experiencing.

George Shapiro*

George Shapiro*

Sure, his uncle is Carl Reiner and his cousin is Rob Reiner, but George was his own man. He was the wizard behind the showbiz curtain.

After graduating from the New York University, he and his childhood best friend Howard West got jobs in the William Morris mailroom. As George told Deadline Hollywood,“We were best friends and partners since we were 8. Old people don’t usually remember things so well, but I still have a vivid memory of him sitting alone in the schoolyard on his first day at P.S. 80 in the Bronx. I asked him to play basketball, and we just stayed as friends. We went to the movies every Saturday, we read comic books together and we chipped in to buy one car, a 1940 Olds called the Cream Puff. It needed a lot of work — that’s why we had to work so hard as busboys and waiters, always together.”

Soon George worked his way up to being an agent. One of his early assignments was to accompany a young singer to the Ed Sullivan Show. The singer was Elvis Presley.

Eventually he and Howard headed to Los Angeles and broke off on their own forming Shapiro/West Productions resulting in Emmys, Peabodys and Golden Globes.

As Jerry Oppenheimer said, “It was in Hollywood that Shapiro made a name for himself, ‘handling deals for Steve Allen; introducing new talent like Bill (Jose Jiminez) Dana, overseeing the creation of ‘That Girl,’ the long-running Marlo Thomas sitcom and discovering a range of talent from Jim Nabors to Andy Kaufman.”

It was in 1980 that George and Howard took in a show at The Comedy Store featuring a young comedian. The two were immediately struck by the youngster’s talent. Yup, you guessed it. The comedian was Jerry Seinfeld. The trio hit it off. So much so, they ended up becoming the executive producers of “The Jerry Seinfeld Show.”

After nine years on air and still growing in popularity, the network approached them with a deal that would result in $5M per episode for 22 episodes. Despite the mindboggling offer, Seinfeld wanted out. According to George, the trio went for a walk in Central Park and Jerry explained, “You know, as a standup comedian, you know, you feel you’re getting a standing ovation. And that’s the time to leave. You don’t want to stay on stage too long. You don’t want to stay on like another fifteen minutes so they say ‘Oh he was good but he was on a little long.’ My deepest gut, you know, is to leave now. Despite the offer and everything else.”

The final show aired on May 14, 1998, with an estimated 76.3M viewers (58% of all viewers that night) making it the fourth most watched regular series finale in U.S. TV history.

That was 18 years ago. But on this night the friendship and loyalty between Jerry and George was still as strong as ever with the 62-year-old comedian dazzling the audience and the 80-something George standing watchfully on the sidelines. The only thing missing was Howard, who had died this past December.

Just sometimes the action behind the curtains is as entertaining as the one onstage.

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

North Texas Giving Day Booster: McKinney Young Artist Competition

“Approaching its 20th anniversary, the annual McKinney Young Artist Competition is a nurturing weekend experience for pianists age 14-18 that involves recitals, competition performances, master classes, and over $5,000 in scholarships. The standard competition format has been transformed into a win-win situation in which all ten finalists receive scholarship awards and are treated with hometown hospitality.

“Ten finalists are pre-selected every year to compete during the weekend event which begins with a recital from a world-renowned judge. Following their own competition performance, all ten finalists participate in master classes with the judge, and at the end of the weekend play again in a final recital. At the Awards ceremony, four Grand Prize winners receive scholarships of $1,000 each, the other six receive $300, and one pianist is chosen for the Karen Austin Memorial Master Class award. By the time of our 20th anniversary, 200 young pianists will have been positively affected by this competition.

‘Says one former competitor: ‘I have been to many competitions that have promised a rewarding experience, but none have demonstrated the professionalism of this competition.  Everyone was really treated like a winner, because we all had the opportunity to work with great inspirational artists. I really liked how everyone was given a lot of personal attention, whether they were one of the four Grand Prize winners or not. I felt like they were speaking to me as if I was an artist who was just as accomplished as they were.’

“The McKinney Musical Arts Society is dedicated to excellence in performance that fosters musical enjoyment, education and awareness. Our primary purpose is to support the McKinney Young Artist Competition for pianists while bringing quality musical performances to McKinney. We are committed to diverse and creative musical productions, supporting the performing arts, and encouraging young artists.

“Founded in 1998, this is our first year with North Texas Giving Day. Help us continue to help encourage the young pianists who will be our future artists!”

-By Dr. Mary Humm, McKinney Young Artist Competition Founder and Artistic Director

_________

In seven years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $119 million into the North Texas community. In 2015, $33 million was raised through more than 118,000 gifts benefiting over 2,000 nonprofits.

On Thursday, September 22, support McKinney Young Artist Competition by linking here and spreading the word. #NTxGivingDay

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2016 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala

According 2016 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Co-Chairs Marena and Roger Gault,

“As Chairs of this year’s Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala, along with Honorary Chair

Sherwood Wagner and Marena and Roger Gault (File photo)

Sherwood Wagner and Marena and Roger Gault (File photo)

Sherwood Wagner, we invite you to play your part on Friday, September 16 by purchasing a gala table or concert and After-Party tickets. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala kicks off the social season, and this year features world-renowned pianist Lang Lang along with our fantastic Dallas Symphony Orchestra and heralded maestro Jaap van Zweden.

Jaap van Zweden*

Jaap van Zweden*

“As one of the largest fundraisers for the Dallas Symphony, the Gala supports the DSO’s three goals: Creating Music, Enriching Lives and Advancing Dallas.

“The DSO regularly makes beautiful music both at the Meyerson Symphony Center and beyond. Every concert spotlights the superb talent of our musicians and entertains audiences each week. The DSO provides patrons with ways to enjoy music including DSO on the GO, which brings the full orchestra to neighborhoods around the Metroplex. ReMix, a casual, intimate concert series at Dallas City Performance Hall which gets audiences up close and personal with the orchestra. Parks Concerts in partnership with the City of Dallas have entertained neighbors and families for decades. This is all in addition to the classical music and terrific pops programs we all know and love. The DSO is committed to breaking down barriers to classical music so everyone can enjoy all it has to offer.

“But the DSO knows that they are more than a performing organization, and has a responsibility to serve its community. The DSO’s education programs brings classical music and music appreciation into schools, and the Young Strings program provides music instrument instruction to children as young as 6, free of charge. New programs such as the My DSO Concert, specially designed for audience members with developmental disabilities, allow the DSO to share music with more members of our community and make a difference in people’s lives.

“Our city is growing at a rapid pace, attracting new businesses and industries that are enhancing all of North Texas, and a strong cultural scene, and especially a strong orchestra, go hand-in-hand with a thriving city. Educated and skilled workforces continue to move to Dallas due to the quality of life that our cultural offerings provide. The Dallas Symphony’s international reputation are part of what attracts people when relocating their corporations. It makes Dallas an exciting place to live and work.

“We hope you will join us at the 2016 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala. Table and ticket sales are open, and we’re pacing ahead of schedule, so don’t miss out! With your support, we can make this a record year and provide strong funding and foundation for the DSO to continue its mission to make beautiful music and important strides for future generations.”

* Photo courtesy of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra

MySweetCharity Opportunity: CancerBlows

According to Cancer Blows Co-Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock and Anne and Steve Stodghill,

Jeremy Lock and D'Andra Simmons Lock (File photo)

Jeremy Lock and D’Andra Simmons Lock (File photo)

Anne and Steve Stodghill (File photo)

Anne and Steve Stodghill (File photo)

“CancerBlows was meant to be a one-time musical event bringing together legendary trumpet players in a special concert and after party benefiting the Baylor Health Care System Foundation cancer programs and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation with donations channeled through The Ryan Anthony Foundation in 2015.  Trumpeters included Doc Severinsen from ‘The Tonight Show,’ Lee Loughnane from Chicago, Arturo Sandoval, former trumpet players from Canadian Brass-all referred to as the Thirty Trumpet Legends.

Ryan Anthony*

Ryan Anthony*

“The event sold out and raised more than $1 million in cash and in-kind donations to help Ryan Anthony, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s principal trumpet and former Canadian Brass member, raise money for cancer research.  Ryan was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a typically terminal cancer of the bone, in 2012.  Fortunately, with great medical care Ryan remains in remission.  He and his wife, Niki Anthony, realized the event could be more than just a concert with funds used to raise awareness and money to further research that has helped give the Ryan family hope for the future.

“Just a decade ago, multiple myeloma was a death sentence with life span of three to five years.  While the cancer is considered incurable and terminable, recent advances in research have greatly expanded the life span of newly diagnosed patients.  In 2015, three new drugs were approved for treatment of multiple myeloma by the FDA increasing treatment options by 20 percent.

David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher (File photo)

David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher (File photo)

“CancerBlows will return to Dallas on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center with The Legends Concert followed by the After Party in the lobby.  Approximately 2,000 guests will experience the concert and approximately 300 guests will be included the in the After Party festivities.

 

“We thrilled to announce that philanthropists Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger are serving as honorary chairmen.

“There are a myriad of sponsorship opportunities for the 2017 CancerBlows event ranging from Presenting Sponsor to Student Experience Sponsor which allows students the opportunity to attend CancerBlows events, classes, discussions and meet and greet with event performers.

“Please visit www.CancerBlows.com for more information.”

* Photo provided by CancerBlows