The 2017 Dallas Symphony League Orchestra Swans Flawlessly And Touchingly Bowed At The Meyerson

Oh, those Californians! Each year they have those itty-bitty Cliff Swallows return to Mission San Juan Capistrano on March 19th. As remarkable as that may seem to the West Coasters, the arrival of the swans to the Meyerson is truly memory-making each year.

On Saturday, February 18, 35 glorious white swans (aka Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation debutantes) provided perfectly executed deep bows in support of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerson.

Jolie Humphrey, Eleanor Bond and Ginger Sager

And thanks to blonde DSOL President Sandy Secor, red-haired Ball Chair Jolie Humphrey and her committee (Lissie Donosky, Dixey Arterburn, Ginger Sager, Eleanor Bond and Therese Rourk) these swans had credentials that would have sent the California birds into a spiral diver. But more deb name dropping later.

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball debutantes and escorts

Before the presentation in the McDermott Concert Hall, photographer James French mounted a sky-high ladder to memorialize the debs and the Honor Guard escorts on the steps leading to the concert hall. “Is that everybody? Who’s missing? 35? I need the Honor Guards,” shouted James, as assistants counted heads and straightened hems. Various setups were needed: first, the debs, then the debs with Honor Guard escorts and then one with Jolie in the center. After the final group shot was taken, the debs and escorts joined their families for cellphone photos.

Sara Lee and Stan Gardner and Wendy Kumpf

Libby Bender, Catherine Lane and Rachel Faust

Downstairs, the cocktail reception was underway in the lower reception area. While black- and white-tie seemed the majority rule, red was also highlighting the area, thanks to Sara Lee Gardner, Wendy Kumpf, Elizabeth Magee, Catherine Lane, Libby Bender and Rachel Faust.

Still coquettish buds of deb Caroline Jones like

Ashley McGaw, Brindley Mize, Rachael Levy, Sarah Ransan, Arlin Dawson, Peyton Dean, Caroline LeCrone and Carling Crawford

and gal pal friends of the other debs held their own in an array of colors and necklines.

And speaking of those tricky décolletages, some of the ingénues in bare-shouldered gowns were seen having to hitch up downward-bound tops. While the usual glittery purses and stilettos accessorized the looks of the evening, one or two gals downgraded their aura by chomping on gum.

William Richardson and Heather Hall

Melissa Macatee and John and Barbara Stuart

Ken and Gina Betts, Molly Nelson and William Nelson

And if anyone was expecting drama, they were sorely disappointed. For instance, deb Gracie Beal’s folks, who had been divorced for ages, were front and center with their significant others — mama Simona Beal with Ryan Green and papa Andy Beal with his fiancée Olya Sinitsyna, who revealed that their baby boy was due on May 18… Terry Bentley Hill was on hand to support her god-daughter Abby Loncar and her mom Sue Loncar… One Honor Guard parent was Brad Cheves, who was attending his first DSOL Presentation Ball for his son, Kyle Cheves… Also attending their first DSOL Presentation Ball were Gina and Ken Betts for deb Molly NelsonMarsha Cameron and her husband Michael Halloran were returning for the presentation ball for their son Bryce Halloran, who would be escorting deb Marina Frattaroli. It was just two years ago that their daughter Alix Halloran was a deb… Among the grandparents in the crowd were William Richardson for deb Heather Hall, Gene and Jerry Jones for deb Caroline Jones and Honor Guard escort Shy Anderson Jr. and Barbara and John Stuart for grandson John Macatee… At least two sets of parents were providing both debs and escorts. In addition to daughter Catherine Kumpf making her debut, Wendy and Rick Kumpf’s son Henry Kumpf was a member of the Honor Guard… And then there were Ana and Jim Yoder. Not only was daughter Maria Yoder bowing, but her escorts were her brothers/Honor Guard members James Yoder Jr. and Peter Yoder.   

Kersten Rettig, McKenna Cook and Spencer Fontein

Kersten Rettig, whose daughter McKenna Cook was one of the debs, admitted, “I’m a little teary, in a good way. I never thought McKenna would do it. Jolie asked me a year ago if McKenna wanted to be a deb. But, the parents and girls have really connected! This is Dallas. This is tradition. This is for the arts. The pageant is 100 times better than I thought it would be!”  

Lissie Donosky, Dixey Arterburn, Eleanor Bond and Therese Rourk

Dallas Symphony Assembly officers

Honor Guard officers

On cue, the Meyerson chimes called the guests to their seats in the concert hall. Before the first deb stepped on stage, introductions of those who had made the event possible were made including Sandy, Jolie, her committee and the Assembly and the Honor Guard officers. Then emcee Stan Gardner asked the audience to show proper respect for the occasion. In other words, this wasn’t a dang pep rally.

Gracie Beal

Caroline Jones and Stephen Jones

Alicia Crenshaw and Bob Crenshaw Jr.

Caroline Pratt and Jack Pratt Sr.

With families seated near the stage and friends filling the rest of the floor, the Orchestra Tier and Loge, the presentation got underway. Upon her name being announced and her selected song being played, each deb appeared at the head of the stairs and was joined by her father or male family member. The couple then walked down the steps to center stage, where the gentleman kissed the deb on the cheek and took his place to her right. Then the deb made her formal bow, as her escort(s) stood to her left. On cue as she lifted her head looking at the escort(s), the lead escort walked over and offered his hand to help her rise. After a photo or two was taken by French’s team, the couple/trio walked to the stairs leading from the stage to the floor for a couple of more photos.

David Vaughan and Emily Vaughan

Will Cohn, Elizabeth Matthews and Tyler Doshier

Stan Gardner, Andrew Hatfield, Aspen Moraif and James Diamond

Perhaps the memory maker of the night was the presentation of Abby Loncar on the arm of her brother Patrick Long. Despite the Loncar family’s recent losses, it was obvious from the response of the entire audience that the community was truly rallying around Abby.

Abby Loncar and Patrick Long

After the final deb Maria Yoder and her brothers/escorts (James Yoder Jr. and Peter Yoder) left the stage, the entire stage was filled with the 2017 debutantes and their Honor Guard escorts, to a standing ovation.

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball debutantes and escorts

Stan then asked the guests to stay in place as Don Averitt and Mark Averitt directed the deb mothers, who had been seated on the aisles, to the lobby’s dance floor. The fathers, who had been seated in rows along the Orchestra Terrace, also departed to join their wives.

Wendy Kumpf, Simona Beal and Karen Jones

As anxious parents waited for their daughters to arrive at the dance floor, the rest of the guests filled the overhead balcony and lobby to see the first dances. Thanks to coordinators who served as traffic cops, a walkway through the crowd was created to allow the escorts to bring the debs to the floor.

Gabby Crank

Bailey Turfitt

Once there, the escorts peeled off and the debs sought their smiling parents. The debs looked so very relieved to have the bow over with, and the fathers looked a bit apprehensive about the next part of the evening — the first dance of the night. But the dads and debs had nothing to fear. Despite the crowded dance floor with the white billowing gowns, it was rather dreamy. Then the conditions got even more jammed with the escorts and mothers joining the debs and dads for a Glenn Miller tune, thanks to the Jordan Kahn Orchestra.  

Dancing debs and dads

While some continued to fill the dance floor, others headed to their tables for a salad (medley of baby greens, purple beets, goat cheese, walnuts and herbal vinaigrette dressing), entrée (grilled herb crusted beef filet with sherry reduction sauce, seasoned-roasted potatoes, tri-color carrots and steamed asparagus) and dessert (raspberry mousse tart and white and dark chocolate tower Swiss roll).

For more photos of bowing, dancing and beautiful peeps, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

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…]

MySweetWishList: Symphony Of Toys

According to Dallas Symphony Orchestra VP of Development Michelle Miller Burns,

Michelle Miller Burns (File photo)

“Our wish this holiday season is that no child go without a gift under their Christmas tree. How can you help? Bring a new, unwrapped toy* when you come to the Meyerson Symphony Center for a DSO Christmas concert.

“This season, the DSO is continuing Symphony of Toys, the annual holiday concert tradition begun by Dallas Symphony Orchestra violinist Arkady Fomin and New Conservatory of Dallas.

“Arkady was a violinist in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra from 1975 until 2014, and in 1978 founded and directed what would become New Conservatory of Dallas. He also taught at University of Texas at Dallas, and performed in the Clavier Trio. Born in Riga, Latvia,  Fomin was awarded Latvia’s Cross of Recognition in 2012 on behalf of his contributions to music and music education in Latvia and the United States. Fomin died on May 5, 2014, after a long battle with cancer. New Conservatory of Dallas ceased operations on September 31, 2014, after approximately 21 years.

“Symphony of Toys benefits WFAA’s Santa’s Helpers, which is celebrating its 46th year of collecting holiday toys for children throughout the DFW area. The 2015 Santa’s Helpers Toy Drive provided holiday toys to more than 50,000 needy children throughout the four-county Dallas/Fort Worth area.

“If you can’t make it to any of our wonderful concerts this holiday season, please consider contributing to our Annual Fund. All new and increased gifts made before the end of the year will be matched by a challenge gift from the Elsa von Seggern Foundation. Please click here for more information and to donate.”

-By Michelle Miller Burns, Dallas Symphony Orchestra VP of development

* Editor’s note: Toys may be dropped off at the Meyerson through Sunday, December 18.

National Endowment For The Arts Presents Big Thought And Nine Others With Early Christmas Gifts

Big Thought just revealed some big news. Back in late November National Endowment for the Arts Chair Jane Chu visited Dallas for a couple of days touring the Arts District and checking in at Big Thought. The Oklahoma native, who did graduate work at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, just provided Big Thought with a very nice Christmas gift — a $100,000 Arts Works grant for Big Thought’s Dallas City of Learning project.

Art Works, National Endowment for the Arts and Big Thought*

The funds will “help provide in-person and internet-based creative educational experiences for students across Dallas during the summer months.”

Gigi Antoni*

It was just last January at this time that Big Thought hosted a meeting of concerned educational, political and community leaders to address the issue of “the Dallas education system having gone dormant during summer.”

According to Big Thought President/CEO Gigi Antoni, “We are so grateful and appreciative of Chair Chu and the National Endowment for the Arts. We as an organization and as a city have been committed to stemming summer learning loss in our quest to close the opportunity gap and improve the academic and socio-emotional outcomes of our children. This community has come together for our kids, and with the NEA’s generous support we can make an important impact in their lives.”

Other local groups receiving Art Works grants from the National Endowment for the Arts include:

  • Chamberlain Performing Arts — $10,000
  • Dallas Black Dance Theatre — $10,000
  • The Dallas Opera — $45,000
  • Dallas Symphony Orchestra — $20,000
  • Kitchen Dog Theater — $10,000
  • Matt Morton — $25,000
  • Nasher Sculpture Center — $40,000
  • Shakespeare Festival of Dallas — $10,000
  • The Cliburn — $10,000
* Graphic and photo provided by Big Thought

Sold-Out Alert!: 28th Annual Obelisk Awards Luncheon

Those favorite words have been sent again — Sold Out! Business Council for the Arts28th Annual Obelisk Awards Luncheon Co-Chairs Kevin Hurst and Dotti Reeder report that the fundraiser on Monday, November 7, at the Belo Mansion is at total capacity.

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

Dotti Reeder (File photo)

Dotti Reeder (File photo)

Ryan Anthony (File photo)

Ryan Anthony (File photo)

But come on. A very nice check and a pretty please might just open a seat or two.

In addition to recognizing a load of great supporters of the arts, the event will include a talk by Dallas Symphony Orchestra principal trumpet Ryan Anthony. Perhaps Ryan will bring along his horn for a mini-performance.

2016 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Razzle-Dazzled With The Finest In Formal Fashions And Fundraising For Beautiful Music

As the near most perfect harvest moon rose like a magnificent balloon over North Texas with nary a cloud in sight, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Denise McGovern’s tootsies were worn out from doing non-rain dance on Friday, September 16. Despite predictions of pop-up and cluster showers sprinkled rain in the territory, none were spilling over the Meyerson.

Here was the scene for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala co-chaired by Marena and Roger Gault. Unlike years past, when AT&T was the presenting sponsor and the honorary chair was a politico, the Gaults decided to shift directions and have a hands-on, fun type be honorary chair. The pick was a hands-down Midland transplant Sherwood Wagner, who had set the mood with a kick-off extravaganza that had been the talk of the spring season.

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

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

Marena in a Patti Flowers creation was topped by a bigger-than-usual blond hairstyle. Fessing up, Marena said, “Sherwood did it. She said that the higher and bigger the hair, the closer to God.”

Midland transplant Sherwood on the other hand had her mama Lissa Wagner, who had flown in from Midland and was wearing a Fe Zandi gown. Admitting that she couldn’t have pulled off this black-tie extravaganza without her mom — “I called her five times a day!” — Sherwood proudly wore a magnificent diamond necklace with three diamond broaches that Lissa had given her over the weekend.

Marena, Roger and Sherwood joined the VIPs in the Hart Atrium for official photos. Organizers advised that Mayor Mike Rawlings’ not being in formal attire was due to his having to attend another event with the attire being T-shirt. As usual, Mike opted for the safe business-suit look.

Mike Rawlings, Sanjiv Yajnik, Sanford Weill and Jonathan Martin

Mike Rawlings, Sanjiv Yajnik, Sanford Weill and Jonathan Martin

Among those in the VIP reception were Capital One’s Sanjiv Yajnik plus Joan and Sanford Weill in from New York. Their presence was just another of the changes in the DSO Gala format. A “member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences and recipient of the 2009 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy,” Sanford was being recognized at the Gala for “his unparalleled contributions to arts and education in the United States.”

Nancy Nasher and David Haemisseger

Nancy Nasher and David Haemisseger

Greg and Kim Hext

Greg and Kim Hext

Nelda Cain and Don Fischer

Nelda Cain and Don Fischer

Kara and Randall Goss

Kara and Randall Goss

Upstairs, the Renaissance Foyer was turning into a showcase of couture designs, jewelry and men in tailored tuxedos. Snapshots of the scene: Nancy Nasher, with hubby David Haemisegger, was in “everything Neiman Marcus from NorthPark,” natch, including a Prada dress and Brian Atwood shoes. (Quipped David: “I make my own clothes.”) … Kim Hext‘s gown was by Burberry, while husband Greg‘s tux was from J. Mendel. … Nelda Cain Pickens opted for Melinda Eng, while date Fr. Don Fischer was in Hugo Boss. … Kara and Randall Goss were a striking duo, as always, she in Rosie Assoulin and he in a tux by Brioni. The latter was a popular choice for the gents, with Blaine Nelson and Jim Keyes also opting for the Italian designer.

Fraser and Rhonda Marcus and Patti and Blaine Nelson

Fraser and Rhonda Marcus and Patti and Blaine Nelson

Sheila and Jody Grant

Sheila and Jody Grant

Jolie and Bart Humphrey

Jolie and Bart Humphrey

Rhonda Marcus was in an Amanda Wakeley, with Louboutin shoes; Sheila Grant chose a classy, pale-blue Oscar de la Renta number; and Jolie Humphrey selected a gown by a “new designer,” Osman, paired with Jimmy Choo shoes (her Bart was in Armani, also the choice of Jeff Byron). … Lynn McBee said she was in a gown by Minika “Ko — that’s an L.A. designer,” and solo, since husband Allan McBee was away for a seminar. … Meanwhile, a pair of foursomes swept in: the first included Lisa and Clay Cooley (she was in Michael Faircloth, with Oscar shoes) with Tracy and Ben Lange (she opted for Michael Faircloth as well, plus Jimmy Choos). The second foursome included Faith and Garrett Smith and Fay and Ken Moraif (she in a Carmen Marc Valvo).

Clay and Lisa Cooley and Tracy and Ben Lange

Clay and Lisa Cooley and Tracy and Ben Lange

Nick and Karen Adamson

Nick and Karen Adamson

Jeremy Lock and D'Andra Simmons Lock

Jeremy Lock and D’Andra Simmons Lock

Ross and Margot Perot

Ross and Margot Perot

Margo and Jim Keyes

Margo and Jim Keyes

Also spotted: Tanya and Pete Foster, Karen and Nick Adamson, D’Andra Simmons Lock (in Oscar) and Jeremy Lock (in a Zegna tux), Doris and Jack Jacobs, Margot and Ross Perot Sr., Erin Von Villas with her sister, Moody’s communications guru Salli Schwartz, and Gina and Tom Landry Jr. Asked for the names of their designers, Tom replied with a smile, “We’re not designer types.”

Over in the dining area, Margaret McDermott decided to bypass the VIP reception and headed her wheelchair straight to her table.

Dallas symphony Orchestra Gala dining room

Dallas symphony Orchestra Gala dining room

Margaret McDermott

Margaret McDermott

While the reception was indeed dressed to the hilt, one guest noticed a Dallas Fire and Rescue Team including Mark Breidenbach set up near the check-in. Their presence was just a fortunate precaution. Seems one guest was feeling under the weather and decided to take advantage of the team’s services and their stretcher.

Pretty soon the guests took their places for a meal and adjourned to the Eugene McDermott Concert Hall, where Sanford thanked the organizers for the recognition. He was followed by a performance by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Jaap van Zweden and highlighted by pianist Lang Lang.

Following the last note, Gala guests headed to the After-Party chaired by de Boulle first son/race car enthusiast Nick Boulle and Honorary Chair/DSO First Daughter Anna-Sophia van Zweden. MIA was DJ Lucy Wrubel, who traditionally has been in charge of the music at the late night festivities. The reason had to do with a class reunion.

An added touch for the feet that felt the punishment of stilettos dancing the night away on the Meyerson’s marble floors were foot massages provided by the Ritz-Carlton spa. Hopefully, Denise took advantage of the services following her successful non-rain dances of the day.

For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery!

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

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Announcement Reception Didn’t Need Gas To Fuel The Plans For The Fundraiser

Announcement receptions can be “Oh, we already knew that” for the guests. But the 2016 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala announcement on Monday, August 1, boded more ho-hum with loads of folks still on summer hiatus. Gee, you couldn’t blame ‘em as the temps were moving comfortably into the three-digit range.

Sherwood Wagner

Sherwood Wagner

Roger and Marena Gault

Roger and Marena Gault

Ah, but then this wasn’t your typical announcement. Already DSO Gala Co-Chairs Marena and Roger Gault along with their BFF Sherwood Wagner had raised the bar with a little soiree at Sherwood’s mansion that had tongues wagging like a metronome set at 208 BPM. The claim was it was the party of the year and only ended because a major storm was blowing in big time.

But before guests gathered at the Meyerson for the update, the DSO staff had shown its flexibility. Seems that earlier in the day the gas had been turned off at the Meyerson. No, it wasn’t a question of the gas bill not being paid. It was just one of those technical glitches. Still, it did create some challenges, like the afternoon’s tasting for the gala had to be moved across the way to the Belo. And when the gas was still lacking just before the reception, the evening’s pass-around appetizers were cooked up at Belo. But nary a guest knew of the situation because all was in place as they arrived.

Sherwood Wagner and Marena Gault

Sherwood Wagner and Marena Gault

As for the day’s tasting, Sherwood had a real surprise when, unbeknownst to her, walnuts were in one of the courses. She suddenly had an allergic reaction resulting in lips that the Kardashians would have envied. Luckily, relief was found and Sherwood’s pucker was perfect for the reception.

Another perfect 10 was scored by Kara and Randall Goss, who strolled along the sidewalk looking cool. Kara was in white breezy evening pants with pockets (“I love having pockets!”) and Randall didn’t show a smidgen of perspiration in full suit and tie.

Kara and Randall Goss

Kara and Randall Goss

Margaret and Barry Hancock and Kristi Hoyl

Margaret and Barry Hancock and Kristi Hoyl

Also in fine bib and tucker was Underwriting Co-Chair Barry Hancock in suit and tie with wife/Underwriting Co-Chair Margaret Hancock in white lacy sundress.

Joining the Hancocks was Underwriting Co-Chair Kristi Hoyl, whose husband/Underwriting Co-Chair Ron Hoyl had to work. Kristi admitted surprise that daughter Sydney Hoyl, who had been at camp in New York for a couple of weeks, had not sent one letter home. It seems that Kristi had even arranged for pre-addressed envelopes, and still no mail from Sydney. Not to worry. When Sydney is at college in need of funds, she’ll improve her communication technique.

As for the DSO Gala on Friday, September 16, there’ll be no traditional theme. It’s just gonna be a fun evening, with pianist Lang Lang as the featured headliner. The table decorations are in the final stages of preparation, but be prepared for black tablecloths.

Black tableclothes

Black tableclothes

According to Roger, both ticket and sponsorship sales are 78% toward goal and ahead of last year. While insiders report that the percentage of sales is higher than Roger’s guesstimate, it shows that the magic of music and fundraising are moving along despite the Texas heat.

2016 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s Debutante Presentation Results Reported

Melissa Lewis and Nancy Labadie (File photo)

Melissa Lewis and Nancy Labadie (File photo)

The two biggy fundraisers for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra are the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s spring Debutante Presentation Ball and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Association’s Dallas Symphony Gala that kicks off the black-tie fundraising season in the fall.

How big? Well, 2015-2016 DSOL President Melissa Lewis just sent word that thanks to “the Ball (along with our other fundraisers), the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League raised over $773,000 which was given back to the Dallas Symphony in support of their outreach and education programs.”

A tip of the hat to 2016 Ball Chair Nancy Labadie and the rest of the DSOL-ers on a mission well done.

JUST IN: Dallas Symphony Orchestra Memorial Day Concert Moved To The Meyerson

Due to Mother Nature being literally a wet blanket, Monday’s Dallas Symphony Orchestra Memorial Day concert has been moved from Flag Pole Hill to the Meyerson Symphony Center. Start time for the free concert is still 8 p.m.

Another change: The firework display has been canceled.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 30th Annual Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano and the Monarch butterflies winging down to Mexico, 41 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League debs in their OMG white ball gowns were flocking like swans at the Meyerson for the 30th Annual DSOL Presentation Ball on Saturday, February 20.

Abby Tisdale and Samuel Boyd

Abby Tisdale and Samuel Boyd

Mary Margaret Hancock, Carlton Adams and Tai Massimilian

Mary Margaret Hancock, Carlton Adams and Tai Massimilian

Ciara Cooley and Carolina Henry

Ciara Cooley and Carolina Henry

Lucy McDaniel and Caroline McDaniel

Lucy McDaniel and Caroline McDaniel

But it wasn’t a stiff-neck get-together for the debs, their Honor Guard escorts, families and pals. From the beef Wellington served in the VVIP private reception in the Horchow Hall to the cheers in the McDermott Concert Hall, it was an all-smiles occasion.

Lowrie Reniger and John Reniger

Lowrie Reniger and John Reniger

Peyton Porter and Matthew Glaser

Peyton Porter and Matthew Glaser

While the post is being finalized, check out more than 50 photos over on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

A Parade Of Fabulous Fashions Rolled Out For The AT&T Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala At The Meyerson

If music is the feast for the soul, fashion is its counterpart for the eye. So, before violinist Pinchas Zukerman provided a sensory bouquet with Dallas Symphony Orchestra Maestro Jaap van Zweden at the Meyerson for the AT&T Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala, the fashions of the 2015-2016 fundraising season on Saturday, September 26, were a fabulous showcase of the most elegant black-tie ensembles.

A tip of the hat had to go to the gents who had donned a penguin suit for a second night in a row. They had pulled out their designer tuxedos the previous night for the TACA Custom Auction Gala at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. But with a fresh shirt and perhaps a change of tow tie, they were all set. As for the gals, they had to pull off a whole new look and, boy, did they.

 Jonathan Martin, Key and Katherine Coker, Glenn Hegar and Jennifer and Coley Clark

Jonathan Martin, Key and Katherine Coker, Glenn Hegar and Jennifer and Coley Clark

While early arrivals for the sold-out affair entered through the Flora entrance, Co-Chairs Jennifer and Coley Clark and Katherine and Key Coker were downstairs posing for countless photos with DSO President/CEO Jonathan Martin and Dara and Texas State Comptroller Glenn Hegar. Philanthropist Margaret McDermott took a pass on the official photo session and headed for the elevator to go upstairs.

Gotta admit that while Coley and Key looked pretty snazzy in their Hadleigh’s and Armani white tie and tails, respectively, their wives blew it out of the park. While the two ladies had never worked together before, the bond was forged even down to their gowns for the night. While their styles were totally different, they easily topped the evening’s fashion ladder. With Michael Faircloth’s talents, Jennifer had designed a lace blouse, silver pencil-legged pants underneath a partial silk overskirt that matched Todd Fiscus’ sunburst décor upstairs. On the other hand, Katherine channeled Barbie extreme in ever-so-fitted Sherri Hill black mermaid silhouette with a flurry of below-the-knee tulle crinoline upstaged all.

What made the foursome even more spectacular in the photos were their posture. Silly as it may seem, hunched shoulders would have destroyed the perfection of the clothes. But the Clarks and Cokers stood perfectly with posture that would have made their mums and any army sergeant proud.

But back upstairs. The Meyerson never looked prettier. Of course, it helped that the sunshine added a special polish to Todd Fiscus’ Midas touch.

Meyerson lobby

Meyerson lobby

And the guests matched the fabulous look of the setting. As frivolous as it may seem, the DSO Gala is to North Texas couture lovers as the Oscars’ red carpet is to Hollywood fashionistas. It is a time when photographers wait just inside the entry shooting famous faces and fabulous fashions.

Marsha Cameron and Michael Halloran

Marsha Cameron and Michael Halloran

Lynn and Allan McBee

Lynn and Allan McBee

Steven Scales, Sherwood Wagner and Marena and Roger Gault

Steven Scales, Sherwood Wagner and Marena and Roger Gault

So, how about a rundown of the fashions of the night? Ruling the night were designers like Armani (Michael Halloran, Jody Grant and Jana and Mike Brosin), Arnold Brant (Guillermo Perales), BCBG (Rachel Michell with Allison Mitchell purse), Bob Mackie (Sherwood Wagner), Brioni (David Haemisegger), Bruno Cucinelli (Mary Potter), Carmen Marc Valvo (Maureen Gault and Linda Ivy), Celine (Doris Jacobs), Chris Despos (Doug Houser), Christian Dior (Steven Scales and Myrna Schlegel), Dolce and Gabbana (Roger Gault), Escada (Nancy Nasher with clutch from Mulberry), Givenchy (Ceron), Harry Rosen (Bob Schlegel), Hadleigh’s (Steve Ivy), Isabel Graham (AC Hoffman), Kay Unger (Kathy Holt), Lanvin (Pat McEvoy), Maria Lucia Hohan (Chrissy Sayare), Michael Faircloth (Lisa Cooley), Monique Lhuillier (Marsha Cameron), Oscar de la Renta (Sheila Grant), Oxxford (Keith Nix), Q Custom (John Michell), Ralph Lauren (Patsy Donosky with Jimmy Galanos stole, Jan Miller and Bob Potter with Stefano Ricci tie), Roland Mouret (Betsy Crousen), Sand (Ferrell Drum), Talbot Runhof (Lynn McBee and Jennifer Houser), Tom Ford (Todd Fiscus), Valentino (Allan McBee) and Zegna (Clay Cooley, Jack Jacobs, Charles McEvoy and Ben Fischer).

Betsy Whitson Crousen and Guinn Crousen

Betsy Whitson Crousen and Guinn Crousen

Sheila and Jody Grant

Sheila and Jody Grant

Harold Pruner and Patsy Donosky

Harold Pruner and Patsy Donosky

Ceron and Todd Fiscus

Ceron and Todd Fiscus

Mitch and Chrissy Sayare and Myrna and Bob Schlegel

Mitch and Chrissy Sayare and Myrna and Bob Schlegel

What a fabulous kick-off for the fall fundraising season.

For loads more photos from the AT&T Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery!

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: AT&T Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala

Jonathan Martin, Key and Katherine Coker, Glenn Hegar and Jennifer and Coley Clark

Jonathan Martin, Key and Katherine Coker, Glenn Hegar and Jennifer and Coley Clark

Music lovers gussied up big time for the AT&T Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala on Saturday, September 26. While violinist Pinchas Zukerman made beautiful music with the DSO and Maestro Jaap van Zweden inside the McDermott Concert Hall, more than 800 ladies and gents splendiferously wined and dined beforehand with Todd Fiscus’ splashes of gold dazzling in the lobby.

Stay tuned for the write up. In the meantime, check out the fashions and faces at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Sneak Peak Of Dallas Symphony AT&T Gala’s Decor Provides Guests With The Chance To Play “Catch Up”

Cece Smith

Cece Smith

Event producer Todd Fiscus had spent part of the summer planning something different for the September 26th Dallas Symphony AT&T Gala. And he presented a sneak peak of his  plans on Monday, August 17, in the Meyerson’s Opus restaurant for about 30 DSO AT&T Gala committee members, sponsors and friends like Ben Fischer, Cece Smith and Ford Lacy.

Katherine Coker, Todd Fiscus and Jennifer Coley

Katherine Coker, Todd Fiscus and Jennifer Coley

But before he presented a snippet of the look for the Friday, September 26, fundraiser for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerson, the crowd played the seasonal game of “catch up.”

Gala Co-Chair Key Coker reported how he and wife/Co-Chair Katherine Coker had opted for Williamsburg this summer with kidlets Olivia and Key Jr. The trip turned out to be quite a memory maker with Key amazed at the Rockefellers’ involvement in preserving the historic site. Still, he thinks it will be back to northeastern shores next summer.

Key then related how Katherine had years ago shown him some of her favorite places in Paris. Nonchalantly he added that she had spent 45 days in Paris being part of EDS staff at the World Cup.

Ironically, Katherine had gotten to know fellow Co-Chair Coley Clark when both worked at EDS, according to Co-Chair Jennifer Clark.

Lynn McBee

Lynn McBee

Holly Reed

Holly Reed

Another catch up was Lynn McBee on her way to join friends at Lark. For Lynn, the summer has been filled with care taking. It seems her mom has been “under the weather,” so Lynn has been spending part time in Galveston at her mom’s side. On the other hand, AT&T Gala sponsors rep Holly Reed amazed a friend telling how she had spent time learning the behind-the-scenes operation of the DEA in El Paso.

en Fischer and Laree Hulshoff

Ben Fischer and Laree Hulshoff

Laree Hulshoff was concerned about her WaterTower Theatre Gala Co-Chair Barbara Daseke. Barbara had planned to be at the DSO Gala preview. And why was the spiked-haired fundraiser MIA? Evidently, when Barbara stopped by her home to freshen up just an hour before, she discovered the house had been the victim of burglars. Her relief was that her new kitten, Tigger II, was left untouched but shaken by the ransacking of the place.

Key and Katherine Coker, Jennifer and Coley Clark and Jonathan Martin

Key and Katherine Coker, Jennifer and Coley Clark and Jonathan Martin

DSO GM Jonathan Martin told the crowd that this year’s gala would mark his third anniversary with the DSO. In addition to the black tie gathering of music lovers and the seated dinner glamorized by Todd’s decor, he reminded them that the concert would bring together two living legends — DSO Maestro Jaap van Zweden and violinist Pinchas Zukerman.

As for the decorations, can’t give details or show photos because that would take the OMG factor out of the discovery that night. But think gold, white and very high tech showcasing. Suggestion: find something to wear that goes with gold that night. Oh, but everything does, don’t you know?

Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Honorary Co-Chairs Announced With AT&T Returning For A 15th Year As Title Sponsor

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar and his wife Dara Hegar will be in Dallas on Saturday, September 26, at the Morton Meyerson. The reason? 2015 Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Co-Chairs Jennifer and Coley Clark and Katherine and Key Coker have just revealed that the Hegars will be the honorary co-chairs for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra fundraiser.

Jennifer and Coley Clark (File photo)

Jennifer and Coley Clark (File photo)

Key and Katherine Coker (File photo)

Key and Katherine Coker (File photo)

Before being elected to the comptroller position last November, Glenn was a member of the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate and is a sixth-generation Texan.

“The Dallas Symphony is a cornerstone of the cultural life in Dallas and throughout North Texas,” said Glenn. “Dara and I are honored to be a part of this event and to help raise money for their important mission to share music and music education in our great state.”

The fundraiser that is the first official black-tie event of the season will also be AT&T’s 15th year as the title sponsor.

According to Dallas-based AT&T Senior VP Holly Reed, “We are pleased to return as title sponsor of the DSO AT&T Gala for the 15th year and to support the DSO and their role in the cultural vibrancy of Dallas.”

Holly Reed (File photo)

Holly Reed (File photo)

Lucy Wrubel (File photo)

Lucy Wrubel (File photo)

If your budget won’t allow the full-blown night of cocktailing, dining, concerting with maestro Jaap van Zweden and violinist Pinchas Zukerman and after-party, then consider just the concert and after-party with DJ Lucy Wrubel conducting the music that’s only $99.  OK, so that may be more than a Saturday night movie including popcorn, but come on. In addition to a live performance with Jaap and Pinchas and the after-party with open bar, you’ll get a gander at all the incredible fashions … and this one really brings them out!

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Makes Beautiful Music With A Balanced Budget For 2014-2015

Congratulations to Dallas Symphony Orchestra President/CEO Jonathan Martin, DSO Maestro Jaap van Zweden and their team. They just announced that they ended the 2014-2015 year with a balanced budget.

Jonathan Martin (File photo)

Jonathan Martin (File photo)

While keeping expenses a priority, the financial success was “due in part to significantly increased contributions and commitments.”

As proof of that, it was reported that “the DSO saw more multi-year gifts and pledges during the 2014/15 season than it has seen in any single year in the organization’s recent history. In addition to over $7 million in annual fund contributions during this season, the DSO secured over $25 million in contributions and commitments that are part of a long-term strategic fundraising initiative to provide a sustainable financial future for the symphony.”

According to DSO Board of Governors Chair Joe Hubach, “We thank our volunteer leadership and our expanding group of donors who have supported the DSO during this year. The generosity of new and long-term contributors and the commitment of our corporate partners reflects the impact that the Orchestra is making in its community and across North Texas. It is an exciting time to be a part of the DSO.”

JUST IN: Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Sunday And Monday Outdoor Concerts Have Been Moved To The Meyerson

If you were planning to head over to Klyde Warren Park on Sunday and Flagpole Hill Monday for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s “Salute to the Armed Forces” and “Memorial Day” concerts, respectively, change your plans.

Due to Mother Nature’s saturation of Mother Earth lately and still more predicted this weekend, the musicians, instruments and patriotic tunes will still take place. Only they’ll be in the Meyerson Symphony Center.

The concerts are still free, family-friendly and open to the public. Sunday’s event starts at 8:30 p.m. and Monday’s concert will commence at 8 p.m. But it’s first come, first seated.

As for the scheduled fireworks following the concerts, you’re out of luck. They’ve been “canceled and will not be moved or rescheduled.” So, you’ll have to wait until Saturday, July 4, for flashes in the sky.

JUST IN: 2015 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Leadership And Plans Revealed

Plans are already being announced for the fall season. Yahoo! Here is the one that traditionally kicks off the black-tie lineup — the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala. Word just arrived that the date will be Saturday, September 26. Yes, it will be at the Meyerson.

Coley and Jennifer Clark

Coley and Jennifer Clark (File photo)

Key and Katherine Coker (File photo)

Key and Katherine Coker (File photo)

But here is the surprise: it’s not going to be chaired by a couple. Nope. It’s going to two couples! 2012 Gala Co-Chairs Jennifer and Coley Clark are returning to the helm to join Gala Co-Chairs Katherine and Key Coker. These four people exemplify formal galas to the letter. They’re gorgeous, have incredible taste and excel in being gracious. They’re also fun to be with.

As for the onstage talent, it will be Maestro Jaap van Zweden and violin virtuoso Pinchas Zukerman. What a combination they’ll make.

Tickets for the full complement of the evening’s activities (cocktail reception, dinner, concert and after party) start at $1250 per person. If your budget is really tight, then a ticket for just the concert and after party is $99.

MySweetWishList: Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Young Strings

According to Dallas Symphony Orchestra Director of Annual Giving Cecily Bolding,

“My wish for this holiday season is to empower 10 Young Strings students with a year’s worth of lessons. The price tag on this wish is $10,000.

Young Strings*

Young Strings*

“Young Strings represents more than an education in music. It provides continued connectivity, and ultimately a trusting relationship between a teacher, musician and student. Involvement in the Young Strings program challenges students to dream big at an early age. It teaches students that they can count on members of the Dallas community to support them, and provides for both speaking and performance engagements on a scale that even accomplished musicians would envy. More than discipline, more than music appreciation- Young Strings builds a sense of community and passion for the arts among a group of students who are poised to make a lasting change on the landscape of orchestral music.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra**

Dallas Symphony Orchestra**

“I ask you to join me in supporting this program with your end of year gifts, and experiencing the fruits of this program as Young Strings students perform at Holiday celebrations around the Dallas Arts District this season.

“You can reach me directly at: 214.871.4035 or [email protected]

“I invite you to join me in giving on-line by visiting the following address: http://staging2.dallassymphony.com/give

-Cecily Bolding, Dallas Symphony Orchestra Director of Annual Giving

* Photo credit: Tracy Martin 
**Graphic provided by Dallas Symphony Orchestra

TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction Item #2: Wine Cellar Dinner With DSO And A Dutch Treat

This TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction package is tailor made for the person, who loves fabulous food, great company, table talk involving world-class music, travel and the wonderment of Europe’s most fascinating cities.

Wine Cellar Dinner With The Dallas Symphony Orchestra And A Dutch Treat* (Value: Priceless)

This past December the Dallas Symphony Orchestra leadership announced that Karina Canellakis had been named the DSO’s assistant conductor. Talk about an impressive coup! To quote DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden, “Karina won over the orchestra and me with her insightful musicality and command of the score. She will be a wonderful addition to our staff, and I look forward to her ongoing development as an exciting and inventive podium artist.”

Karina Canellakis*

Karina Canellakis**

In addition to holding a bachelor’s degree in violin from the Curtis Institute of Music, she earned her master’s in orchestral conducting from the Julliard School. The New York-born conductor’s career has filled the pages of her passport with performances in Berlin, Norway, Japan and Switzerland.

With such a busy schedule of fulfilling her Dallas responsibilities, as well as other performances throughout the world, it’s amazing that TACA managed to arrange this package!

Bruno Davaillon (File photo)

Bruno Davaillon (File photo)

It includes a four-course dinner in the Mansion’s wine cellar prepared by Executive Chef Bruno Davaillon for 10. The “host couple” will need not worry about ambling home. They’ll spend the night at the Mansion.

In addition the couple will also enjoy a three-night-stay in Amsterdam at the five-star Sofitel Grand Legend. During their visit to the “Venice of the North,” they’ll take a private excursion to The Hague and Delft complete with private driver and guide. And what is Amsterdam without visiting Museum Square? The couple will have access to the various museums including the Gerrit Rietveld-designed Van Gogh Museum and the newly reopened Rijksmuseum with its marvelous collection of Rembrandts. If the twosome decides to take their trip in the winter, they might want to take along their ice skates. After all the rectangular pond in front of the Rijksmuseum becomes an ice rink that Hans Brinker would have loved.

Suggestion: Venture to Amsterdam before din-din at the Mansion with Karina. Make sure you bring photos along of your Dutch holiday!

* Courtesy of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Executive Chef Bruno Davaillon, 
Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Strong Travel
** Photo provided by TACA

Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Jaap Van Zweden Is Staying Put

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

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

Dallas Morning News classical musical writer Scott Cantrell  is reporting the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Jaap van Zweden will continue making beautiful music through 2019.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala AT&T Chairs Anne And Steve Stodghill’s Love Of Art And Music Will Fill The Meyerson

Ah, more details have emerged about the 2013 Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala! It seems when 2012 Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala Co-chair Jennifer Clark called up red-haired Anne Stodghill and made “the ask” about Anne’s and husband Steve’s co-chairing the 2013 DSO AT&T fundraiser, Anne replied, “I think the people are a little tired of the Stodghills.” She was referring to the countless fundraising events that have filled their estate since they moved in nine months ago. Talk about charity beginning at home. . . the Stodghill home, that is!

Steve Stodghill (File photo)

Steve Stodghill (File photo)

Little did the girls know that Jennifer’s husband Coley Clark was calling Steve and making “the ask” and got a “Sure!”

After a brief Stodghill family conference, Anne and Steve decided to go for it.

In planning the September 28 fundraiser with the DSO’s Jaap van Zweden at the helm and soprano Renee Fleming singing with the orchestra, the Stodghills saw the perfecto opportunity to combine two of their favorites — music and art. Bringing these two loves to event impresario Todd Fiscus, the theme  “The Golden Age of Opera” resulted.

Without giving too much away, but enough so you get a feeling, imagine walking into a marvelous Old Masters. Well, that’s what the Meyerson lobby is going to look and feel like. On the huge screen showcasing the sponsors will be interspersed huge pieces of art of the great ones.

Holly Reed and Anne Stodghill

Holly Reed and Anne Stodghill (File photo)

And speaking of great ones, joining Anne and Steve as honorary chair will be the man who presided at their wedding, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. It seems that presenting sponsor AT&T’s Holly Reed had wanted Greg as honorary chair, too!

For the dinner held before the concert, the seating will be limited to 600 on the ground level of the Meyerson amid all the Fiscus finery.

Following the performance, Post-Party Chair DSO First Daughter Anna-Sophia van Zweden and Honorary Chair Capera Ryan will take over the Opus with DJ Lucy Wrubel in charge of music for those in the mood to dance. For those who just want to settle back and take in the evening instead of waiting in the valet line, there will be seating in lobby.

As for attire, there’s a rumor that it just might be white tie optional, so now is a good time to have those tails adjusted, or, at least, to have that tuxedo refreshed.

Regardless, this event is the official starting point for the season’s formal galas, and it should be quite a send off!

Savor The Symphony’s Designer Violins Make Their Final Appearance Before March 23 Black Tie Gala Auction

The Savor the Symphony designer violins have been making more appearances that Bradley Cooper at awards ceremonies. Last Tuesday the “fiddles” were in high cotton at Jan Miller’s and Jeff Rich’s mini-palace for their final showing before the Savor the Symphony black-tie gala auction on March 23 at the Adolphus.

Checking out the designer violins

Checking out the designer violins

Displayed on the dining room table amid candles, the little artworks looked right at home in the colorful surroundings. Champagne-sipping guests eyeballed, and smartphones snapped photos of, the little stringed instruments.

Violins on display on dining room table

Violins on display on dining room table

For artist Heidi Lockhart Somes, it was a return to the scene of her big coup. Last year her violin of a street scene was “pre-bought” at the Miller-Rich’s patron party for $20,000 as a birthday gift.

JD Miller

JD Miller

Artist JD Miller, who had hosted a previous violin showing at his Samuel Lynne Galleries, was talking business developments. Seems he’s named former Dallasite Karen and Michael Bivins the director and CEO, respectively, of SLG. Having sold everything from Andy Warhols to 16th century masters, the pair fell in love with JD’s art. Another incentive to their leaving their West Coast operation, according to Michael: “We think it’s (the art business) sorta played out on the coasts. There’s lots of money here. We think this is the place to be.” Since their joining SLG four months ago, sales have tripled. Nice!

Some guests gathered around the home’s bar with its mammoth blue glass chandelier. Then the sounds that get everyone’s attention were heard. First the pop of a champagne cork exploding from a bottle. Then the infamous sound of the cork hitting the chandelier. Eyes darted around looking for shattered blue glass, but none was found. Even palace pooch Schumacher tried to wedge his way into the bar to see if cleanup was necessary. Nope.

Barbara Sypult and Jan Miller

Barbara Sypult and Jan Miller

A few minutes later, with wireless mic in hand, host Jeff welcomed the guests like Sharon Barbee, Barb and Steve Durham, JB Hayes, Alex Aland, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Barbara Sypult, Paige Westhoff and Troy Schiermeyer in the living room.

Paige Westhoff and Troy Schiermeyer

Paige Westhoff and Troy Schiermeyer

Jeff then introduced Honorary Chairs Rebecca and Ron Gafford, Élan Circle President Kaycee Holmes and Dallas Symphony Orchestra President/CEO Jonathan Martin, who said, “As you bid these violins up, think of all the programs they’ll support.” That comment resulted in the following:

Ron: “We don’t want you to bid it up too high, because we have to exceed it next year.”

Amanda: “Bid as high as you want!”

Jan: “I’m a little more aggressive. We want you to bid tonight. Do not leave here until you make a bid on one of these violins. Get your wallets out and go in there and bid. I’m serious. And thank you for coming!”

Blaine Nelson: “I tried to buy one of those violins last year and I got outbid!”

Ron: “I bid $1 less than Blaine!”

Jonathan Martin holding violin with artists

Jonathan Martin holding violin with artists

As the violin artists gathered for a group photo, guests returned to the dining room to check the violins out one more time and follow Jan’s order. For their reward, they discovered a mini-bottle of Chandon to open once they got home.

Sorta Clarification: Dallas Symphony Orchestra Is Going To Serve Up A Partial-Kinda-Performance For Turkey Day

Remember yesterday when MySweetCharity announced proudly that Dallas’s own Dallas Symphony Orchestra would be performing the Star Spangled Banner at Cowboys Stadium on Thanksgiving?

It conjured up tears of pride. But there was a switch play!

Well, now the truth can be revealed. Instead of silk, it’s gonna by polyester. Instead of the sun, it’s gonna be a 4th of July sparkler. It’s gonna be 45 members of the DSO playing in sync according to Scott “Mr. Classical” Cantrell.

According to Mr. Classical Cantrell:

“We don’t like to advertise that fact,” said Cowboys’ executive producer Matt Coy. “But with 45 members of the orchestra it’s going to be difficult to do it live.”

DSO PR guy Chris Shull said, “It has to do with broadcast quality, and making sure that our sound is as HD and pristine as we can get.”

OMG! What next? Jaap van Zweden conducting a karaoke at a Humperdinks? The art on the Cowboys Stadium is really paint on velvet backgrounds?

Heck, let’s get over this one. The rest of the DSO deserves to spend turkey day with their families. Just mark this one down as fake pass.