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.

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: 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…]

St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon Chair Heather Randall Revealed Plans For February Event, As Leukemia Survivor Bennett Williams Made Funny Faces

Having recovered from Halloween and heading toward the fall/winter final fundraising period, the St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon crowd gathered some 75 strong at Lisa and Clay Cooley’s sweet estate. Thanks to a delayed start by the rain gods, the golf-cart shuttle moved seamlessly across the bridge and to the main house.

Lisa Cooley and Jill Rowlett

Lisa Cooley and Jill Rowlett

Dee Wyly

Dee Wyly

There, such folks as Jill Rowlett, Dee Wyly, Kris Sanger, Elizabeth Gambrell, and Claire and Dwight Emanuelson settled in the living room to hear the plans, except for Angela Nash, who hunkered down in the balcony overlooking the first floor.

Clay Cooley and Dwight Emanuelson

Clay Cooley and Dwight Emanuelson

Heather Randall

Heather Randall

St. V-Day Luncheon Chair Heather Randall reported that the presentation of Highland Park Village fashions would take place on Valentine’s Day itself (aka Tuesday, February 14) at the Meyerson Symphony Center. This year’s theme would be Affair Of The Heart with Tracy and Ben Lange serving as honorary co-chairs, Gina Betts and Michael Flores as advisory co-chairs and Daffan Nettle and Yvette Ostolaza as underwriting co-chairs.

Kirsa Willliams, Bennett Williams, Keith Williams, Ava Williams and Ellie Williams

Kirsa Willliams, Bennett Williams, Keith Williams, Ava Williams and Ellie Williams

She then reeled off some of the sponsors (the fundraising goal is $1M) and introduced Spirit of Tom Landry Character Awardee Bennett Williams. While his mom, Kirsa Williams, thanked guests for making funds available for leukemia and lymphoma research and development, Bennett sat on a couch with his dad, Keith Williams, and his sisters, Ava Williams and Ellie Williams. Kirsa’s sincerity was so moving as she described her son’s being diagnosed at 13 months (imagine: 1,207 days of chemotherapy). Still, she was a bit upstaged by Bennett’s making funny faces. Hey! He’s just a kiddo surrounded by a room full of adults, and the hour was getting late. And, like his predecessors, who have also managed to conquer the blood disorder, he’s still a youngster at heart.

Big surprise for some was the presenting sponsor news — Nancy C. and Richard Rogers. The surprise was due to Nancy’s claiming that she was officially retiring. However, if you read between the lines, she probably meant that she was just backing off of chairing events, but would still support certain fundraising with her attendance and support.

Tickets are already available starting at $300 and, of course, sponsorships run the gamut.

2016 Crystal Charity Ball Theme Revealed There Is A Season For Everything

It almost seemed surreal. On Tuesday, May 3, Lisa and Clay Cooley’s estate could have easily given Versailles or the Dallas Arboretum a run for glory. With fountains flowing on one side of the bridge and a tennis court on the other, pink, white and red flowers highlighted the Bluffview estate. Trams breezed the guests from the valet at the front gate to the Cooleys’ front door. For those who wished to take in the beauty of the grounds, it was perfect weather to stroll to the scene of the 2016 Crystal Charity Ball theme announcement party.

Lisa and Clay Cooley estate

Lisa and Clay Cooley estate

Early arrivals Dwight Emanuelson and Gregory Dunbar talked with Clay, who joshed about having spent the day planting the hundreds of flowers. Later Clay told how he just followed the marching orders from General Lisa. When asked about the upcoming nuptials of son Chase Cooley to Bela Pjetrovic, he admitted that his input was not gonna be necessary. As for high school graduating son, Chance Cooley, Clay said the youngest Cooley had scatted in his white Jeep when he saw the lineup of cars arriving at the front gate.

Violinists

Violinists

Along with the guests, a handful of violinists arrived and were soon located under the winding staircase to provide music. On the other side of the stairway was a decorative easel with a plaque bordered with beautiful flowers. In the center was written, “To everything there is a season.” A clue of things to come.

Plaque

Plaque

When the two-story living room filled with guests, the great room filled the bill for the overflow. Everywhere one looked were food, flowers and flickering candles in votives. Upstairs it was another story entirely. Designer Nardos Imam was literally sewing willowy Jan Strimple into a gown specifically created for the occasion.

Then word was passed downstairs to gather in the living room, where the announcement of the 2016 Crystal Charity Ball theme would be announced by CCB Chair Christie Carter, who was now on the stairway introducing the evening’s sponsor Bank of Texas Dallas Market President Ryan Suchala, who graciously thanked the CCB-ers and then turned the focus on the seven beneficiaries including the Paiges (Flink and McDaniel).

Christie Carter, Jan Strimple and Ryan Suchala

Christie Carter, Jan Strimple and Ryan Suchala

Christie then returned to reveal that Tom Addis would be the event producer, with Junior Villanueva providing the floral highlights and Lambert’s the greenery. As for the  theme, Christie announced it would be, “To everything there is a season.”

On cue, Jan in gown and a floral headdress created by Junior serenely descended the staircase. In her right hand was a silvery gray folder with flowers that matched those on her gown. Looking at the crowd of men and women who were mesmerized by the tall red-haired spring nymph, Jan opened the book and read the verse from the Book of Ecclesiastes.

No sooner had Jan closed the book and the applause had died down than she was surrounded by guests wanting to have their photo taken with her or asking about her gown and head dressing.

JUST IN: 2016 Crystal Charity Ball’s Theme Announced

Jan Strimple demonstrates the season of spring

Jan Strimple demonstrates the season of spring

The news that will determine the gowns and gems that will scene steal at the 2016 Crystal Charity Ball was just announced a few minutes ago at Lisa and Clay Cooley’s breathtaking Bluffview estate. It’s the mega-fundraising gala’s theme!

With CCB Chair Christie Carter revealing the theme would be “To Everything There is a Season,” czarina model Jan Strimple read the verses of the theme after doing a jaw-dropping strolled down the Cooley stairway wearing an amazing floral headpiece and a killer gown especially created for the announcement.

With a goal of $5.6M to benefit Community Partners of Dallas, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, Hope Supply Co., Notre Dame School, Parkland Foundation, Teach for America and The Family Place, the black-tie gala will take place at the Hilton Anatole on Saturday, December 3. The fundraiser will be orchestrated by veteran event producer Tom Addis and supported by The Garden Gate’s Junior Villanueva and Lambert’s Landscape Design’s Paul Fields.

The announcement party was underwritten by Lisa and Clay and was sponsored by Bank of Texas.

Designers, get your creative juices going to come up with knock-out looks for the December ball.

More deets to follow, but gee-whiz. Let’s see. So many seasons to pick. Spring blossoms? Summer’s red-white-and-blue? Fall’s golden colors? Hmm. The wintry season glistening ice (aka diamonds)? Can’t wait to see the picks of the season in fashion.

A Super-Duper Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4×4 Is Being Raffled Off For Children’s Cancer Fund’s “An Evening in Oz” Gala

Recently a cluster of kids and their moms headed to Clay Cooley Chevrolet in Irving. They weren’t going to buy a car or trade one in. No, they were there for a photo shoot.

As one mom and her kids left their car in the parking lot, she brushed her teenage daughter’s hair to be picture perfect. The daughter, Carsyn Sapp, looked smashing in black printed leggings and matching boots.

As they headed into the mammoth showroom, they were greeted by other mothers and their pre-teen munchkins. Some, like pretty-in-pink Kamryn Rakestraw, had bows in their blond hair. There was a whole gaggle of red-haired tykes including Reese Skelte, who was ready to rock and roll in multi-colored socks. But they all had one thing in common — each family had had a youngster who had emerged victorious in the battle against cancer.

The gathering was to promote the Children’s Cancer Fund Gala raffle of a very hunky Jeep. While the moms acted like everybody’s mom fussing with their kiddos, these moms were proven vets in the hand-holding department. Each had held the hands of one of their children through tests, diagnoses and treatments for cancer. And while a lot of parents may complain about waiting for ages in the car pool lane, these moms had held their breath too many times in waiting rooms.

Lisa Cooley, Kamryn Rakestraw, Carsyn Sapp, Reese Skelte and Clay Cooley

Lisa Cooley, Kamryn Rakestraw, Carsyn Sapp, Reese Skelte and Clay Cooley

As for Carsyn, she was the senior member of the cancer survivors at the shoot. Perhaps that’s why her smile seemed both youthful and ages old.

And what about the Jeep that is being raffled off at the Friday, April 22ndAn Evening In Oz” gala at the Hilton Anatole? Well, hold on to your steering wheel. This “customized 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4×4 valued at over $60K” is not some grocery-shopping SUV. Thanks to NTX Auto Master and Epic 4×44 Off Road, it is fully tricked out and a traffic stopper. The only thing missing is a microwave.

And how did CCF Gala Co-Chair Lisa Cooley manage to get the Jeep as the raffle prize? Well, it helps to have “friends” in the car business. You know…friends like husband Clay Cooley and his Clay Cooley Automotive Group that donated the fully-equipped Jeep.

If you want a gander at this sweetheart on wheels, it will be on display on NorthPark Center’s lower level between Nordstrom and Macy’s from Friday, April 1 through Monday, April 11. Raffle tickets are going for $100 per ticket or six for $500.

Thanks to funds raised at the April 22nd gala and by raffling off the Jeep, more research and treatments will help handholding moms and their kids like Carsyn, Kamryn and Reese.

BTW, if you see Carsyn, Kamryn and Reese on the runway at the gala, wave at them. They just might wave back.

2016 Children’s Cancer Fund Will Be A Nighttime Soiree And Roger Staubach Wants “To Beat The Hell Out Of This Disease”

The calm before the storm. That was Wednesday, November 4. By evening WFAA’s Pete Delkus still had his jacket on. It would soon to be removed. But before all heck broke loose for another bout with Mother Nature’s rocky personality, lucky fundraisers took a deep breath and filled the day with activities. It started just after 7 a.m. and ended past 9 p.m. Face it — fundraising doesn’t know an eight-hour day.

The launch of the Children’s Cancer Fund Kick-Off breakfast at Lisa and Clay Cooley’s wasn’t supposed to start until 7:45 a.m. But folks were showing up at 7:15 a.m. and the Cooleys were ready.

Lisa had been up at 5 and the crew of caterers and valets were in place at 7 for the near 200 to hear about plans for the 2016 fundraiser.

Jack Barker and Chance Cooley

Jack Barker and Chance Cooley

One of the guests in the crowd was Jesuit student Jack Barker, who was also a former classmate of Chance Cooley. Sure, his mom Giora Barker was co-chairing the 2016 Children’s Cancer Fund event with Lisa, but there was more to his being there and that would be revealed later.

Speaking of Chance, he couldn’t stay for the presentation. Had to head off to school in an ultra-cool car. As he prepared to drive off, Clay advised his son to drive safely.

Another cute fella in the crowd was Luke Lange, who posed with his folks Tracy and Ben Lange and Children’s Cancer Fund Honorary Co-Chair Roger Staubach.

Clay Cooley, Luke Lange and Ben Lange

Clay Cooley, Luke Lange and Ben Lange

With guests having business commitments at 9, the program ran like an atomic clock.

Lisa thanked folks for coming and Roger recalled how 28 years ago, when they held the first Children’s Cancer Fund event, “It was beautiful women in lingerie. Boy, we used to have a great turnout for that luncheon…and they still have a great turnout.”

He admitted that over the years there have been some very sad stories, but there have also been some great stories as a result of the Children’s Cancer Fund’s efforts.

Stephen Skapek

Stephen Skapek

Roger then turned the program over to Dr. Stephen Skapek and Dr. Patrick Leavey, who provided updates on children’s cancer.

Despite the barrage of statistics and facts that have been reeled off in the past, the cold reality of Stephen’s voice when he said, “I’m sick of children dying of cancer.”

To put a face with the situation, Giora and Jack took their places in front of the fireplace in the living room that was packed with people. They told of Jack’s successful battle against cancer and how it was due to the funding of research and treatments. Jack, who was diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 12, spent the next three years with Children’s Health healthcare professionals and his family to beat the cancer. In 2010 he was one of the Children’s Cancer Fund’s artisans, who had an army supporting him. Today the 18-year old is on the Jesuit crew team, loves to scuba dive and ski and is his mother’s inspiration. He quickly became an inspiration for the early-morning risers in the room that included Children’s Cancer Fund Board President Karen McClard, Children’s Cancer Fund Executive Director Brittney Bannon, Coley Clark, Scott Murray and Children’s Cancer Fund Co-Founder Fred Shapiro.

Karen McClard, Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach, Giora Barker and Brittney Bannon

Karen McClard, Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach, Giora Barker and Brittney Bannon

Patrick Leavey and Fred Shapiro

Patrick Leavey and Fred Shapiro

Unlike years past, The Children’s Cancer Fund Gala fundraiser will be a nighttime affair on Friday, April 22, at the Hilton Anatole. Lisa explained that by having it at night, it would allow more men to attend and there wouldn’t be the problem of having to leave for an afternoon meeting.

In addition to the fashion show and auction, there will be dinner and entertainment by Emerald City. Tickets start at $300 per person.

According to Roger, they’ll be raffling off “a Clay Cooley car — a 1952 Plymouth.” No, that was just Roger joshing about the Plymouth, but he was right about a Cooley care being raffled off.

But Roger was serious when he said, “We need to beat the hell out of this disease.”

True to their promise, the breakfast meeting was a done deal in time for peeps to be off to those 9 o’clock commitments.

Lisa And Clay Cooley Host Cattle Baron’s Ball Research Reception With Hospitality, Golf Carts And Cancer Experts

Lisa Cooley knows her Texas weather. As she said on Tuesday, April 21, there are just a couple of perfect days when you can open the doors and let folks enjoy the great outdoors. And when it comes to spreads, Lisa and her Clay Cooley brood have quite a place.

Clay and Lisa Cooley, Chance Cooley and Ciara Cooley

Clay and Lisa Cooley, Chance Cooley and Ciara Cooley

Originally scheduled for Thursday, April 9, the weather boded end-of-the-world conditions with hail, winds and flooding against Cattle Baron’s Ball holding its research reception. But on this evening everything was as perfect as the Cooley grounds.

Why, shoot! There are country clubs that are smaller than these palatial digs.

Just transporting guests from the front gate past the tennis court and fountains to the mansion, the Cooleys arranged for golf carts. Hey, Clay’s an expert when it comes to transportation, don’t you know!

Lisa and Clay Cooley estate

Lisa and Clay Cooley estate

One guest quipped as they wandered the property, “This isn’t a house. It’s a resort.”

Alex Laurenzi and Elizabeth Tripplehorn- Laurenzi

Alex Laurenzi and Elizabeth Tripplehorn- Laurenzi

Chase Cooley

Chase Cooley

While the property was amazing, the people watching held its own. Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi and Alex Laurenzi arrived with Alex on crutches due to hip surgery…Cooley kids Ciara (her dad claims she rules the roost), Chase and Chance were on hand…Chick Lit Chair Wendy Messmann was preparing for the luncheon featuring author Stacey Ballis.

And that combination of incredible surroundings and boldfacers held things up a bit and a bit more. Just trying to get everybody together was a challenge. The Cooley hospitality was just too inviting to settle down, but they eventually did because of the cause — learning about developments in the battle against cancer.

Mary Martha Pickens and Amy Schisler

Mary Martha Pickens and Amy Schisler

But before the crowd came together in the two-story living room, CBB Co-Chair Mary Martha Pickens was apprehensive. She was concerned about sharing her personal story in such an open venue. But it was necessary. Too often cancer is about someone in a video or another person, who is just passing through town. In this case, Mary Martha had lived from childhood with cancer on her life story. It was a time before emails, cellphones and major developments in children’s cancer. Thanks to a loving family that went beyond the extra mile and doctors committed to saving a 12-year-old, Mary Martha survived with a glorious smile. But the battle cost her right leg. One on one, she doesn’t shy away from talking about her three prosthetic legs — one for athletics like hiking and running, one for scuba diving and one  is her “pretty leg” for dress up occasions like this one. Now, she was having to tell friends and potential supporters about her successful battle against cancer thanks to the dollars donated to research.

The good news is that she was perfectly eloquent and touching. As husband Dr. John Pickens watched on, Mary Martha said that too many times the families of cancer patients are forgotten. She recalled how her parents and brothers were vital to her treatments and recovery. Still — “It is totally devastating for all.”

She added that despite the prosthetics and years of having them, she still falls many, many, many times, “just as those suffering with cancer have setbacks over and over.”

Tia Wynne

Tia Wynne

Rene Galindo

Rene Galindo

Yonghao Yu

Yonghao Yu

To emphasize the progress that has been made thanks to funding, she and Co-Chair Tia Wynne had Dr. Yonghao Yu and Dr. Rene Galindo discuss the developments being made in cancer research. To say that the two noted experts used language that may have been over most folks’ heads is an understatement. Still the promise of advancing the war against cancer was obvious, especially when Yonghao said to go out and “Kick cancer’s butt.”