Dallas Symphony Gala’s Grand Finale For Maestro Jaap Van Zweden Bloomed With Color Thanks To Boldfacers’ Gowns And Bowties

Holy moly, the 2017 fall//winter season got off to a topsy-turvy start within the first two weeks of September. The TACA Custom Auction Gala got off to a rocky start on Friday, September 8. But a week later things picked up with the Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show that turned out to be more than a homecoming back to the flagship store with a parade of fashions by designer Zac Posen. It was a true celebration of fashion and faces.

Just a day after the CCB fashion extravaganza, the 2017 Dallas Symphony Gala was to kick off Maestro Jaap van Zweden‘s farewell year, with more-than-god-given-talented YoYo Ma at his cello on stage at the Meyerson. In years past this first blowout gala of the season has had everything from politico bigwigs, belly dancers and British royalty to gargantuan floral displays that served as backdrops for the black-tie set.

Dennis and Laura Moon and Wendy and Boyd Messmann

But perhaps the organizers were keeping costs close to the vest by replacing the breathtaking decorations at the entrance of the past with a huge white board with “DSO Gala 2017” behind plastic flowers dangling on see-through cords from the ceiling. Instead of looking like a shower of flowers, it reminded one of a vinyl shower curtain with flowers. Photographers scrambled to rearrange guests so the beautiful people didn’t appear to have the lilies and leaves sprouting from their coiffed heads. 

Clay Cooley, Margaret McDermott and Lisa Cooley

But, heck, most guests didn’t even notice the welcome display as they headed straight to the reception in the lobby. Interim DSO President/CEO Michelle Miller Burns stationed Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley to greet guests just to the left of the check-in lines. Downstairs in the lower lobby, meantime, the Capital One VIP reception was underway. When DSO Communications Manager Chelsey Norris was asked how they could have a VIP event without Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay, she  suggested that the Cooleys would join the VIPs afterwards. But that opportunity didn’t happen. As soon as the chimes rang to call the black-tie guests to their places, all were table-bound, where the table settings reflected the grand finale season for van Zweden, with cool emerald greens from the table linens to the Elephant ears and malachite.

Kara and Randall Goss

MiChel and Dan Hagood

Betsey Urschel and Ross and Margot Perot

Jody and Sheila Grant

Nancy Nasher’s Pradas

But who needed all the flourish of flowers and out-of-town celebs when the real scene stealers were the local boldfacers and fashions galore? In addition to Lisa and Clay (she was in a raspberry Michael Faircloth, he in Chris Despos, complete with a white feathered bow tie) and Honorary Chair Margaret McDermott, there were Rhonda and Fraser Marcus (Rhonda said her burgundy gown was by “a British designer” and her earrings were by Boucheron); Kay and Brent Franks (she in Catherine Deane, he in a Belvest tux); Anne Davidson in Monique Lhuillier gold; Sheila and Jody Grant (she was in silver-and-white Alexander McQueen, with a Chinese pearl necklace, while Jody said of his tux, “I’m a Tom Ford guy”); Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger (Nancy’s green bejeweled kicks were by Prada); Barbara and Bob Sypult (she was in a Connie Roberson gown); Donna and Herb Weitzman (she was wearing a Christian Lacroix gown with Prada shoes and a Kara Ross handbag); Sara Lee and Stan Gardner (Stan’s tie matched her gold dress); Kara and Randall Goss (her off-the-shoulder gown was by Maticevski, and her gold earrings were from Alighieri, while Randall was in a Zegna tux); MiChel and Dan Hagood (she couldn’t remember her designer, but thanks to Kara Goss’ sneaking a peak, the name on the label was Talbot Runhof); Jolie and Bart Humphrey (her low-cut gown was by Herve Leger, and he was in an Armani tuxedo); Sherwood Wagner (in a Carolina Herrera gown “with a Sherwood twist”); Betsy Crousen (she was in Fendi, with a Judith Lieber bag); and Laura and Dennis Moon (she in Carolina Herrera with Jimmy Choo shoes and bag, he in a tuxedo from Culwell and Sons).

Melissa Lewis

Tiffany Divis

Betsy Crousen

Bart and Jolie Humphrey and Nancy and Mike Bierman

But it wasn’t just the ladies who provided the splashes of brilliance. No, siree. Some of the gents (Clay, Paul Divis, Blaine Nelson and Dan Patterson) showed their true colors thanks to their bow ties. Why, Ford Lacy‘s tiny-cherries-festooned cummerbund and tie were made from an Hermes scarf!

Clay Cooley

Paul Divis

Dan Patterson

Blaine Nelson

Cece Smith and Ford Lacy

Niki and Ryan Anthony

Principle trumpet Ryan Anthony arrived on the scene with his wife Niki Anthony. Was Ryan taking a pass on the night’s concert? Nope, he was going to grab a bite to eat and then head to the stage for the performance.

Other guests included Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Tiffany and Paul Divis, Margot and Ross Perot, Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, Patti and Blaine Nelson, Melissa and Paul Stewart, Myriam and Randall Graham, Diane and Hal Brierley, Nancy and Mike Bierman and Micki and Mike Rawlings (said one guest of the mayor: “He’s probably looking around to see if there are any statues in here he can remove”).

For more photos of fashions, faces and flowers, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Dallas Symphony Gala

Clay Cooley, Margaret McDermott and Lisa Cooley

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

Kara and Randall Goss

Cece Smith and Ford Lacy

Jody and Sheila Grant

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

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

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.

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…]

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

JUST IN: 2016 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Plans Revealed

Roger and Marena Gault

Roger and Marena Gault

Last night as most folks sweated in the first day of August, the 2016 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala hierarchy looked cool as they were updated at the Meyerson on plans for the Friday, September 16, black- tie reception, dinner, concert and after-party. More about the announcement party in days to come, but for now here’s the news that was revealed.

According to Gala Co-Chairs Marena and Roger Gault, unlike years past there will be no official theme. It’s just gonna be a heck of a lot of fun and a heck of lot of fine music, thanks to DSO Music Director Jaap Van Zweden and evening headliner pianist Lang Lang.

As for the décor, it’s still a work in process. There were three examples of what just might be the finished product. But word has it that the black tablecloths are a probable winner. The clear chairs have proven to be in the lead, too.

Sherwood Wagner

Sherwood Wagner

Nobody was talking about the menu, since the tasting had just been held earlier in the day. And that’s a story in itself. But more about that later.

With Honorary Chair pretty-in-pink Sherwood Wagner and Underwriting Co-Chairs Margaret and Barry Hancock and Kristi Hoyl looking on with big smiles, it was also revealed that despite not having a title sponsor this year, ticket sales are ahead of last year. In fact, they’ve already reached 88 percent of their goal. One insider confidently predicted that the evening will be a sell-out.

Margaret and Barry Hancock and Kristi Hoyl

Margaret and Barry Hancock and Kristi Hoyl

Stay tuned for coverage of the announcement party and updates as they develop. And, get your tickets now before it’s too late. And if you have your places reserved, then go shopping. This event is the first right-official black-tie event of the fall season and it’s a fashion showcase.

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.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2014 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala

Jan Miller and Jeff Rich

Jan Miller and Jeff Rich

Jan Miller and Jeff Rich promised a big hoop-la for the 2014 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala. Margot and Ross Perot and Micki and Mayor Mike Rawlings were the honorary co-chairs; Carole and Scott Murray were the honorary media co-chairs; violinist Itzhak Perlman was the headliner with Maestro Jaap van Zweden and DSO musicians on stage; and a “surprise guest” arrived on the scene, in addition to I.M. Pei‘s son Sandi.

Mary McDermott Cook, Margaret McDermott, Jonathan Martin and Sandi Pei

Mary McDermott Cook, Margaret McDermott, Jonathan Martin and Sandi Pei

And you just know that the black-tie hundreds of guests succeeded in living up to Dallas’ reputation for dressing to the nines. A Dutch film crew was busy recording the scene.

Anna-Sophia van Zweden and Jaap vanZweden

Anna-Sophia van Zweden and Jaap van Zweden being interviewed

Check out the loads of pics on the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery. Stay tuned. The writeup is due tomorrow.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Concert With Itzhak Perlman To Be Simulcast In Klyde Warren Park

Not everybody likes to get all gussied up in long gowns and tuxedos. And not everybody can fit into the Meyerson. And not everybody can afford the price of a ticket. That’s a lot of not’s.

Jeff Rich and Jan Miller (File photo)

Jeff Rich and Jan Miller (File photo)

Ah, but Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Co-Chairs Jan Miller and Jeff Rich are well known for untangling not’s. To share the wonder and beauty of the DSO performance with maestro Jaap van Zweden conducting and legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman, they’ve arranged for a “first-ever, free live concert simulcast” to be held at Klyde Warren Park.

Richard Holt (File photo)

Richard Holt (File photo)

Translation: That means the opportunity to wear cut-offs, sun dresses or baseball caps in the great outdoors to “almost attend” the gala for absolutely nothing. . . nada. . . free.

According to Jan, “It is such a thrill to be able to share the musical excellence and excitement of the Dallas Symphony’s 2014 AT&T Gala with everyone in Dallas. Itzhak Perlman is an icon. Jaap van Zweden is a superstar. Together with our Dallas Symphony they will present a memorable evening of beautiful music, and this simulcast will share that experience with music-lovers beyond the Meyerson.”

Helping the Miller-Rich team pull this little feat off is Bank of America, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and U.S. Trust.

“All of us at Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust are pleased to be a part of this first ever simulcast concert,”  said Richard Holt, Bank of America Dallas president. “By bringing the concert to Klyde Warren Park and the Dallas Arts District, we are able to expose a much wider audience to excellence of the DSO while providing free access to the arts for all.”

The gala concert will be the finale of a week of 25th anniversary activities celebrating the Meyerson. Was it really September 1989 that the grand lady debuted? My, how times flies.

JUST IN: Perots And Rawlingses To Be Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Honorary Co-Chairs For The Meyerson’s Silver Anniversary

As you probably know Jan Miller and Jeff Rich are chairing the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala on Saturday, September 13. The twosome that just had a mega gathering at their Park Cities home Monday for Rob Lowe haven’t stopped.

Margot and Ross Perot (File photo)

Margot and Ross Perot (File photo)

Today they announced that in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Margot and Ross Perot will be honorary co-chairs. If you’ll recall it was back in 1984 that the Perots provided the $10M gift that “secured the building of the great hall. The following year ground was broken for the Meyerson and the opening took place in September 1989.”

According to Jan, “We are pleased to recognize Margot and Ross Perot at the Gala at this silver anniversary celebration. From dream to construction, the clear-sighted vision, steadfast leadership and unwavering support of Margot and Ross guided the creation of this home for the Dallas Symphony, a landmark achievement for the City of Dallas, the orchestra and a cornerstone of the Dallas Arts District.”

Mike and Micki Rawlings (File photo)

Mike and Micki Rawlings (File photo)

But because this silver anniversary is such a biggie, the Perots will be joined in honorary co-chairing duties by Micki and Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Jeff said, “A building is only as strong as its foundation, and the City of Dallas has always been a stalwart partner in the Meyerson Symphony Center, and in its support of the Dallas Symphony and all the Dallas Arts District. We commend Mayor Rawlings for his enthusiastic leadership in articulating the importance and relevance of the arts for all the citizens of Dallas.”

Carole and Scott Murray (File photo)

Carole and Scott Murray (File photo)

But the co-chairing isn’t over. Told ya this was a big deal. The Miller/Rich team has named Carole and Scott Murray as the honorary media co-chairs.

The reason for a honorary media co-chair is explained by Jan: “Scott Murray’s experience across the media landscape will add a new dimension to this year’s DSO AT&T Gala. His enthusiasm and initiative as a member of the Dallas Symphony Board of Governors has brought new and valuable perspectives as we forge the Dallas Symphony into an orchestra for the 21st century.”

Lucy Wrubel (File photo)

Lucy Wrubel (File photo)

Lucy Wrubel will be the honorary DJ Chair. No, just kidding about the honorary DJ chair title, but Lucy will be in charge of the music at the after-party.

Headlining the entertainment in addition to Maestro Jaap van Zweden will be Itzhak Perlman.

Tickets for the entire black tie evening (reception, dinner, concert and after-party) start at $1,250. If that’s  awee bit too steep for you, you can attend the concert and after-party for $156.

Jan Miller And Jeff Rich To Chair Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala

Jeff Rich and Jan Miller (File photo)

Jeff Rich and Jan Miller (File photo)

Last night Jan Miller let the cat out of the bag. She and husband Jeff Rich along with their beagle Schumacher were hosting the Equest Triple Crown Gala patron party. (More about the party later.) With mic in hand, Jan decided to also promote the duo’s other future projects like Something involving Rob Lowe in May and Best Buddies in November.

But then she revealed that she and Jeff will be chairing the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala with violinist Itzhak Perlman as the headliner and Maestro Jaap van Zweden conducting.

Later Jeff with a dazzling smile and twinkle in his eye said they had plans. . . wonderful plans in store, especially since the black-tie event will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Meyerson.

Following tradition, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra fundraiser will be the first formal gala of the season.

The good folks at the DSO just confirmed the plans and added that for the 14th year in a row, AT&T will be the presenting sponsor. As soon as the honorary chair(s) is/are revealed, we’ll let you know ASAP.

So, get your formal wear tailored for the Saturday, September 13th dinner, concert and after-party at the Meyerson.

JUST IN: Itzhak Perlman To Headline 2014 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala

Itzhak Perlman*

Itzhak Perlman*

The chairs for the 2014 Dallas Symphony Orchestra gala haven’t been revealed, but the evening’s headliner has just been announced — world-famous violinist Itzhak Perlman.

He will perform with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under the direction of DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden for the Saturday, September 13th DSO fundraiser at the Meyerson.

According to Maestro van Zweden, “It is my distinct pleasure to welcome Itzhak Perlman back to the Dallas Symphony on the occasion of the 2014 Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala. We have an unforgettable musical evening planned, and I can promise a surprise or two. The concert will be an ideal opening to our 2014/15 Texas Instruments Classical Series season and the silver anniversary of our wonderful concert hall.”

This year’s gala will mark the 25th anniversary of the renowned Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.

Sponsors already on board are title sponsor AT&T, Park Place Motorcars, The Ritz-Carlton Dallas and Eiseman Jewels.

* Photo credit: Lisa Marie Mazzucco


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 Makes Beautiful Music With Yo-Yo And Dallas’s OMG Dressed Up Set

While some will swear on their trust fund that Crystal Charity Ball and the deb balls are the showcases for Dallas’ mostest in formal attires, this year’s Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala set a standard for the upcoming soirées.

Jaap van Zweden and Yo-Yo Ma

That standard was set on Saturday, September 8, far in advance by Co-chairs Jennifer and Coley Clark. Not only had they arranged for cellist to the gods Yo-Yo Ma to perform with the DSO (a first coming together for Yo-Yo and DSO star child Jaap van Zweden), but they had managed a sell-out for the dinner/concert plus 600+ for the after-party hosted by Anna-Sophia van Zweden and Katherine and Eric Reeves.

Coley and Jennifer Clark

Oh, that Jennifer. In addition to getting her husband Coley to look pretty darn fabulous in white tie and tails, the brunette with hair pulled back in a bun wore a stop-traffic-yellow Michael Faircloth gown with pockets that seemed to be oblivious to wrinkles throughout the entire night. Thank heaven, her arms were just meant for the sleeves look.

And, no, it was not a coincidence for the color matchup between Jennifer’s look and the French-themed decorations by Todd Fiscus, who revealed the evening’s look of a French café: black and white striped awnings, reminiscent of the 1920s, with a pop of yellow. Another model was the Viceroy Hotel in Palm Springs, which does a modern take on art deco—awning stripes/greyhound dogs were popular in the deco era. But Todd didn’t have time to dawdle. He was off to Palm Springs the next day, then back at work on a Cabo wedding, an April wedding for “Elaine” and a lot of other special occasions including the Wednesday night gala for the Klyde.

Dinnertime at the Meyerson

But this evening, Todd’s handiwork provided the perfect backdrop for Dallas’s most gorgeously dressed music lovers including Pat McEvoy‘s black lace Elie Saab and Judith Leiber bag, Kara Petersen‘s hot red J Mendel on the arm of Randall Goss, Tiffany Divis in a dazzling green Michael Faircloth with red hair swept up, Stephanie Fisher in an ivory and crystal Badgley Mischka, Diane Klein in a one-shoulder midnight blue David Meister, Anne Stodghill with red hair in curls in an Alexander McQueen, Linda Ivy in a Chris Cole low-cut gown with Judith Leiber bag and marabou boa from Trina Turk (husband Steve claimed the feathers actually came from Big Bird), Nelda Cain Pickens in a black lace by Oscar de la Renta, Nancy Carlson in Chanel, Margo Keyes in Armani picked out by husband Jim, Nancy Cain Marcus in beige and brown Mary McFadden, Christi Urschel in a swirling delight by Angel Sanchez with a Judith Leiber bag, Sarah Perot in a short Monique Lhuillier, Shelle Sills in a moss green Vera Wang and Brooke Shelby in another Vera Wang but dark blue with a low cut back.

As a matter of fact, low cut was the game of the night. Who could get the lowest? For front deep down there was a tie between Jacqueline Anderson and Leilani Baker. Thank heaven for those well-placed threads that crisscrossed the gowns keeping the gals PG-rated.

Jacqueline Anderson and Anna-Sophia van Zweden

Regarding the lowdown on the skin revealing on the back, it couldn’t have gotten much lower than Anna Sophia van Zweden‘s skintight tomato-red Khanh gown. As one person observed, “She spent more money on her makeup than her lingerie.”

But don’t go thinking that everyone shelled out wads of cash for designer dreams and Judith Leiber. Lucy Wrubel got her black-and-white shortie from a resale shop, Claire Emanuelson recycled a dress she bought for Neiman’s 100th anniversary (that was five years ago) and Nancy Fisher simply bought “antique fabric and had it made” into a dress.

But it wasn’t all about clothes on this night. There was a lot of chatting up about the past summer. Best story belonged to Katherine and Key Coker, who were vacationing in a rented home at an old fishing village called Siasconset near Nantucket. With rose bushes all over the place, they were taking photos one morning when a couple of bicyclists came by. The Cokers asked if the man would take their picture. Sure! Then Katherine and Key noticed that the female of the twosome looked oh-so familiar. Surely, they knew her or had seen her before. It was Katie Couric in a white t-shirt. Got pix. They were there for Katie’s emceeing the Nantucket hospital fundraiser.

On the business front, Jim Keyes reported that he’s acquired the Wild Oats name, and by the end of the first quarter, products bearing the name will be seen under a new venture. Think healthy.

Another reason for the evening being special was the official debut of the DSO’s new CEO/President Jonathan Martin and his wife Amy. The Atlanta-born Jonathan said he’s been a “Texas boy for seven days and two hours,” and that he’s thrilled to be here. Having traveled to Dallas over the past 20 years, he’s impressed by the growth of the city and what Jaap has done here. His goal is creating a sustainable funding platform for the orchestra. In other words, he wants to match what Jaap has done with the orchestra.

Dan and Stacey Branch, Coley and Jennifer Clark, Jonathan and Amy Martin, Brad Beaird, Holly Reed and Blaine and Patti Nelson

After catching up, everyone took their places for a two-course dinner including salad (blended quinoa salad with dried cherries and toasted pine nuts and citrus port dressing) with 14 Hands, “Hot to Trot,” white blend, Washington state (2012) and dinner (slow braised boneless short rib with natural pan burgundy sauce along with golden chive whipped potato, honey glazed baby carrots and haircot vert) with first press, cabernet sauvignon, Napa Valley (2009).  A darling couple hunks of chocolate sat at each place only hinting of the dessert feast to follow the concert.

When the Meyerson bells chimed calling the elegant masses to the hall for the concert, the hosts and DSO management personalities headed backstage. While waiting to welcome the audience, Amy Martin recalled a concert in Ohio where Yo-Yo slipped in and settled in with the rest of the strings section for a concert. He was just one of the musicians and was happy as a SMU co-ed boulevarding on the Quad.

As for the concert, let Scott Cantrell and FrontRow review it, but from backstage, Yo-Yo and Jaap were observed to have worked together as well as Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Those in the audience might just have witnessed classical music’s titans having a heck of a great time with the DSO.

Afterwards the masses scurried (okay, so this group doesn’t scurry; they stroll) to the after-party, but a small VVIP group gathered in the east loge. Talk about a feast! No, food was not the piece de resistance. It was the faces and the power behind those faces. In one part of the loge the Arts District hotties Jacqueline Anderson and Anna-Sophia van Zweden chatted. It was a coming together of super novas. They’re oh-so scary magnificent when put together. Just imagine Barbies on steroids. Quietly to the side was newlywed Jessica Olsson Nowitzki sans Dallas Mavericks hubby Dirk and buds Joyce Goss and Barbara Buzzell. However, Jacqueline and Anna-Sophia spotted the real woman of the region in their presence — philanthropist Margaret McDermott seated nearby glowing in white in her wheelchair.

Yo-Yo Ma, Jaap van Zweden and Margaret McDermott

As the top rollers waited their turn to have two seconds of bonding with Yo-Yo and/or Jaap, someone wisely wheeled Margaret to that area of the loge. Like eager freshmen vying for the attention of the homecoming queen, Yo-Yo and Jaap left the photo lineup to kneel at Lady Margaret’s chair. She graciously smiled and accepted their attention. Then a handler commandeered her chair, someone else handed her a glass of white wine and she was gone.

Malcolm and Laura Ferguson and Hannah and Searcy Ferguson

While all of this was going on upstairs for the VVIP’s, the gala attendees and post-party revelers were cramming into Opus for hearty partying. With Lucy in charge without last year’s tot trampoline, she managed the crowd on the dance floor led by Linda and Steve Ivy, Lynn and Peter Dauterman, Hannah and Searcy Ferguson and Laura and Malcolm Ferguson. On the sidelines were Lisa Ogle, Kristi Hoyl, JB Hayes and Sally and Tom Dunning.

It was a great launch of the fundraising season. What lies ahead? Can’t wait to see, hear and witness.

For additional photos of the evening, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Dallas Symphony’s Elan Circle Savored The Symphony With Artwork On Violin Fronts And Ladies’ Backs

Saturday night the Adolphus mezzanine was more crowded than the check-out line at Tom Thumbs on Thanksgiving afternoon. Only this jam was a lot better dressed. It was the Elan Circle‘s black-tie Savor the Symphony soiree chaired by too adorable Paige Westhoff  with Jennifer and Coley Clark as honorary chairs. Guess what? Jennifer and Coley will be chairing this year’s DSO gala in September. Speaking of DSO gala, 2011 co-chairs Barbara and Don Daseke , admitted they were taking some time off from fundraising after her gig with Mad Hatter’s in April.

Heidi Lockhart Somes

As for the fashion flair, backs are definitely back. Everywhere you look, you see naked backs. Center of attention on this evening was adorable artist Heidi Lockhart Somes. As oldsters looked in amazement, the younger crowd said when asked about the girl with the amazing tattoo, “Oh, you must be talking about Heidi.” Indeed they were. From the front the adorable artist looked like every mother’s idea of a gorgeous daughter-in-law. But with the massive crane in flight tattoo on her back, she looked like she belonged in the tattoo hall of fame. When asked about her back masterpiece, she smiled and said, “There are two sides of me.” She said she is corporate in the front and tattoo on the back — “a real 180 degrees.”

But Heidi probably won’t be remembered for her tattoo as much as the violin that she painted for the DSO fundraiser. The Oregon native thought “of home when I painted it.” Others had told her that it reminded them of Germany, Eastern Europe and the Champs de Elysse. Heidi suggested that it “really reminds people of home, and I think that’s why it sold.” At the sponsors’ party held earlier, it sold to a lady for $20,000. It’s going to be a surprise birthday gift for her husband, so no names.

Anna Membrino

The whole idea of having celebs like Heidi Lockhart Somes, Nicole LeBlanc, Phil Romano, JD Miller, Rob House, Natasha Hallam, Anna Membrino, Jadz Pate, Lynn Rushton and Susan McWilliams painted the violins came from Elan Circle member Kaycee Holmes‘ mom, Linda Holmes. After seeing how cows were painted in Chicago, Linda came up with the idea of painting violins. that idea resulted in her winning a big national award from the American symphony Orchestra League in 2000. Since then dozens of symphony groups around the country have adopted the idea.

Each of the 10 Dallas violins cost less than $100. After they were stripped of paint, put in denatured alcohol and unstrung, they were handed over to the artists and told, “Do whatever you want.”

Blaine Nelson had his eye on one done by JD Miller saying, “I think it would look good in our house.” Wife Patti didn’t look quite as enthusiastic.

JD Miller

JD admitted that he doesn’t donate paintings anymore, but this project caught his eye. He spent ten times more time and effort than he normally does on a painting. The idea? “Just wanted something would knock your eyeballs off!”

Rob House violin

Rob House’s “Savor the Maestro” focused on DSO conductor Jaap van Zweden, since Jaap was recently named Conductor of the Year. Rob had one of Jaap’s favorite piece, a Bach solo sonata for violins, applied to the violin, took quotes from Jaap and then added a baton. The finishing touch was Jaap’s autograph.

Anna-Sophia van Zweden, Jaap van Zweden, Paige Westhoff, Blaine Nelson

As the maestro made his way through the crowd with one of his fav gals, daughter Anna-Sophia, he reported he had never seen this painting of violins done before. Being a lover of the violin, he added that he liked the idea, “as long as the violins used are made for ‘show,’ and they’re not using violins that are made for actual playing.”

Violin chandelier

All too soon the doors of the ballroom opened with the handiwork of Junior Villanueva‘s Garden Gate in place. Highlight of the room was a wonderful chandelier of cut-out notes and violins.

Savor the Symphony ballroom

Savor the Symphony ballroom

Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala Kicks Off The Black Tie Season With Belly Dancers And Joshua Bell

As anyone who just got off a plane at DFW International knows, the North Texas arts community is going through a challenging period. With beautiful facilities and extremely talented artisans, there is still the problem of upkeep. As one very wealthy fella said about buying a eight-figure estate in the early part of the century, “It’s not buying the place. It’s the upkeep that will put you in the poor house.”

Blaine Nelson

Last weekend the grand old arts community, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala opened the season with the first black-tie fundraiser at the Meyerson. When the event was originally put into place earlier this year, it was a different world on a whole new journey to better days. Bill Lively had assumed the leadership of the DSO; Jaap van Zweden was in the driver’s seat of the well-tuned orchestra; and DSO board members were high-fiving each other. That was January 12. Fast forward to April 29, when Bill Lively resigned due to health reasons. With Lively’s resignation, hopes for hefty assistance in gala underwriting went into cardiac arrest. But gala chairs Barbara and Don Daseke, as well as DSO Board Chairman-elect Blaine Nelson, rallied the troops. The show would go on and it would include stellar violinist Joshua Bell having a grand time with Jaap and the DSO musicians.

Along with the announcement of Bell’s participation was the news that the theme would be Indian/Moroccan/Turkish. Along with a sigh of relief that it wasn’t going to be the same old “Beer Garden a la Mendelssohn” or “Drama  with Verdi,” eyebrows were raised as to how it was going to be executed.

Not to worry. Todd Fiscus was on board to make it happen. Plus to attract the younger crowd, too-adorable-for-music Anna-Sophia van Zweden would chair the post-concert party.

Patti Nelson

A sniggling of what was going to happen took place last Friday at Patti and Blaine Nelson‘s home for gala patrons. Amid whispers of rain, guests arrived smiling in hopes that the summer of 2011 was over. Then there was Joshua Bell, who was quickly scurried into the kitchen by handlers before the patrons could discover the “great one” was there. Between us, Joshua may be past 40, but he looked like a starter for the Highland Park Scotties football team — no tie, open shirt, blazer and a boyish smile. He also had just a glimmer of mischief in his eye as he eyeballed the guests. After a one-two rest, he was escorted like the most precious White House resident through the room. Picture the #1 rushee on campus being surrounded by alums wherever he went. “Go this way,” “Now this way,” “These folks want to be photographed with you,” etc.

AT&T ‘s Holly Reed was with her best friend, mom Katie in from San Antonio.  . .  Another AT&T type, Forrest Miller, admitted that he and wife Cynthia were still adjusting to life in Dallas. Seems after living in San Antonio and, before that, many years in Los Angeles and San Francisco, he said, “We thought we were Republicans in California, but we found out we’re conservative Democrats here in Texas.”

Joshua Bell

After almost everyone had been shot with Joshua, it was time for a “chat with Joshua.” Organizers said that Interim DSO Headman David Hyslop would do the interview if he arrived in time. But his wife Sally‘s plane was late, so it was iffy. But what do you know? He showed up just minutes before the interview commenced. However, it was host Blaine who took up the role of interviewer. Joshua didn’t mind. He and Blaine are simpatico.

Blaine asked if Joshua had brought his legendary Stradivarius red violin that was created in 1713. Joshua admitted, “I didn’t. I hope it’s safe at the Ritz-Carlton. Maybe I should call security.” Joshua went on to tell his history with the musical instrument. Of the 400 Stradivariuses in the world, he got his exactly 10 years ago this month. Fell in love with it, in London. Within 30 seconds of playing it he decided, “This has gotta be my violin. I said, ‘I gotta have this’. I keep falling in love with my violin over and over. … I feel very lucky. I’m one of a few of my generation to be able to afford my instrument; it’s not on loan.”

He went on to discuss a plethora of subjects:

Dallas Symphony Orchestra:  “You have a lot to be proud of here. A great hall, a Dallas Symphony that is very highly regarded around the world … I think it really brings a lot – more than the Cowboys right now.”

Football teams: “They’re (Dallas Cowboys) looking more hopeful than my team, the Indianapolis Colts.”

His performance in a subway: He’s “a little bit tired of” the subway story … Why did they ignore him in the subway? he’s asked. Maybe several reasons, he says: music demands concentration, and the people didn’t have it rushing by. They were “checking their texts” he said … to which Holly of AT&T piped up: “Which is not all bad!” and everybody laughed.

The Meyerson: “The Meyerson is in the top tier of great halls in the world.”

Live vs. electronic performances: “There’s nothing like the live experience, but there’s a place for both (live and recorded). The electronic ‘feeds’ the live (gets people into the halls).”

The future: He said we should be focusing on the kids; he works with Education through Music for underprivileged kids in New York.

Another VIP who was initially on the agenda for an appearance was Anna-Sophia, but at the last minute it was revealed that she probably wouldn’t be there. Seems she was swamped with responsibilities for the DSO Gala and the MTV event the following week.

Belly dancers with Steve and Linda Ivy

Saturday was another situation. Unlike the Nelsons’ stately home in the Park Cities, the first sight greeting guests at the Meyerson were colorful belly dancers accompanied by musicians. The earlier plans to have a baby elephant at the front doors had been stowed.

Anna-Sophia van Zweden

Friday night’s MIA Anna-Sophia in a double sari green gown by Prashe with royal jewelry was on the scene with her buddy Ana Pettus. With luscious lips and a more than generous tan, A-S was the homecoming queen of the night.

Don and Barbara Dasekes

In front of a colorful princely tent just outside the Opus, Barbara and Don Daseke greeted both old pals and strangers as compatriots in their mission to raise funds for the DSO.

Before guests can could make their way to the Dasekes, Jose Reyes was one step after the Meyerson ticket takers greeting guests and telling them, “It’s gonna be all the raj!”

Stacey and John Relton

Looking around the Meyerson lobby, palm trees hovered over the dining rooms and colorful flat, low couches were spotted in the Opus, but there were no snake charmers nor turban-wrapped heads. But that didn’t dissuade some from dressing for the occasion. Barbara Daseke was in a jeweled encrusted deep beige skirt and beige sweater with two regal necklaces on loan from Prashe. . . Stacey Relton was on the same page with the theme in her sari gown, again by Prashe. . . Others like Jan Miller Rich and Carmaleta Whiteley simply took a favorite gown and dressed it up with a marvy necklace and/or Sue Gragg earrings.

On the other hand, others just embraced the tried-and-true-couture-names of Carolina Herrera (Faye Briggs and Linda Ivy), Oscar de la Renta (Myrna Schlegel and Doris Jacobs), David Meister (Kaylyn Montgomery), Alberta Ferretti (Julie Hawes) and Escada (Barbara Durham).

Holly Reed

Holly Reed went straight for killer bright, glorious colors with a jeweled top and kaleidoscope of colors in her flowing skirt. Who was the designer? Holly’s secret. She wasn’t talking, but she was with her “favorite fella,” Brad Beaird.

Jeff Rich

But the ladies weren’t the only ones in talk-about-fashion. Jeff Rich in a silver-ish “tuxedo” with matching narrow tie and Bob Schlegel wearing a little western-style tie exchanged comments about their looks. Jeff: “Just wait, Bob, someday that will come back in style.” Jeff went on to ask what period Bob’s tie was from. Bob: “Bat Masterson. When you come across the border and into Texas, they give you one of these.”

Jona Kerr and Melissa Stewart

Melissa and Paul Stewart weren’t talking about fashion. They were introducing Jona Kerr, the wife of the new DSO concertmaster, Alexander Kerr. Seems that Jona has been staying with the Stewarts and turned out to be the perfect house guest. She’s an excellent cook and has put the Stewarts’ kitchen to good use. . . .

Joe Straus

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus and wife Julie served as honorary chairs and chatted up DSO board chair Ron Gafford.

After a reception that wasn’t weighed down by a silent auction or raffle offerings, the Meyerson chimes called all to dinner. The blended couscous pilaf salad with dried fruits, pine nuts, vine-ripened tomatoes and field greens was a hit across the boards! The Moroccan-spiced lamb chops got mixed reviews depending on your table. While some said it was the best ever served, others were seen trying to discreetly dispose of the lamb’s cellulite.

But that question of taste quickly passed as the gala patrons and the concert attendees merged into the concert hall for the full-blown concert complete with DSO corps, DSO chorus, Joshua Bell and Dallas Morning News critic Scott Cantrell keeping score.

Before the musicians could lift a bow, housekeeping duties were performed. Joe Straus told the audience that, “It’s the first time we’ve been here. . .  the first time to hear the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.”

Blaine reminded the audience that Jaap was beginning his fourth year as conductor and that the DSO would feature some unique programs during the upcoming season, ending with, “We need you to come back after tonight.”

Then the concert was underway. If you want a critique of the program, you need to check Scott’s review. Let’s just say that the partnering  of Jaap with Joshua was like teaming up George Clooney and Brad Pitt. Both were mesmerizing and delivered with sweet sounds and physical grace. Even an elder socialite, who had dozed off earlier in the performance, was as wide awake as  a Jack Russell Terrier when Jaap and Joshua performed Bruch’s violin concerto #1 in G minor.

Unfortunately, even the finest musical moments can suffer from thoughtless audience members. During Wagner’s bridal chorus form Logengrin, a ringtone didn’t just go off, it continued playing in competition with the orchestra and chorus. Instead of silencing the renegade phone, the owner answered the call and then discussed it with his companion in a volume that was a notch or two louder than a whisper. Guess these folks haven’t seen the movie adviso about such cellular interruptions. Sorta ironic that this no-no took place during the “Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala.”

Jessica Olsson, Meghan Looney, Ana Pettus and Anna-Sophia van Zweden

While the naughty ringtone didn’t receive an SO, the onstage musicians and singers certainly did. Then the hall was emptied with patrons heading to the after-party hosted by Anna-Sophia with her coterie of gal pals including Jessica Olsson (her boyfriend Dirk was in Germany), Ana Pettus and Meghan Looney.

Martin Dondnoe

Providing the musical backdrop for this part of the evening was DJ Lucy Wrubel. Like Jaap, her physical dexterity was noted as she bounced on a tot trampoline and jammed. . .Veletta Lill was using new-age technology to locate her husband in the crowd. No, she hasn’t had him microchipped. She was texting him. . .  Adding to the international flavor of the night was a band of gents in kilts with a Scottish lilt to their accents.

As the older guests exited for the valet parking, the younger crowd arrived on the scene resulting in an age drop of about 20 years. Some of the vintage patrons sat on the flat couches checking out the younger generation in their party wear. One young miss in an eggplant gown with exposed back, got a second look. Perhaps it was the tattoo along her spine. Another gal walked the marble floor barefooted. Those floors can be tough on stilettos.

Among the spray-tanned, lip-enhanced crowd walked Joshua Bell. Just because he’s a world-famous violinist doesn’t mean he doesn’t like a good party with beautiful young people.

DSO AT&T Gala Powers Barbara And Don Daseke And Anna-Sophia Know How To Warm Up For September 17

You’ve got to hand it to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala crowd. They know how to prepare for the Saturday, September 17th gala. Since they have Todd Fiscus and his merry staff putting all the magic together to transform the Meyerson for the big night, they’re in other parts of the world getting in shape.

DSO Gala chairs Barbara and Don Daseke have been hiking around Peru. According to Barbara,”We have hiked 7 of our 9 days in Peru. Very remote. No access to anything whatsoever. Hardest thing we’ve ever done. Today came DOWN 4000 ft to Machu Picchu. Made it to 17,000 but with tough hiking, I could barely breathe. Even the many mule trains who passed us on a narrow trail were gasping!!!”

On the other side of the world, After-Party chair and DSO first daughter Anna-Sophia van Zweden was Miss Popularity with the bluest blooded bold faces.

Joshua Bell

Ah, where to start? How about the royal concert attended by newlyweds Prince Albert and Princess Charlene? Anna-Sophia ran into DSO Gala featured artist Joshua Bell, aka People Magazine‘s “50 Most Beautiful.” No, Joshua was not just another party guest. He was performing with the Orchestre Philhamonique de Monte-Carlo for the royal celebration. And whom do you think was conducting the orchestra? Ah, we just knew that you would know. You’re absolutely right. Anna-Sophia’s always talented papa, Jaap van Zweden.

Alas, the beautiful Anna-Sophia in her Dolce & Gabana outfit admitted to tearing up, “Joshua Bell made me cry. . . so beautiful!”

And her review of Monaco’s new princess? She reminded Anna-Sophia of Princess Grace.

Isle de Marguerite

As if that wasn’t enough to send our girl to a spa for recovery, she attended a birthday party for a Dutch multi-millionaire. Can’t name him because he’s too darn shy. No, it wasn’t one of those Dom Perignon dinners in a quaint little restaurant in Paris.  Oh, no, not at all! The birthday gent rented the entire Isle de Marguerite near Cannes. The dress code was white and glamorous.

Anna-Sophia van Zweden

Our Anna-Sophia was a knockout as usual. Dressed in white Grecian-style, she highlighted her look with gold accessories including Yves Saint Laurent jewelry that she had bought in Monaco a few days earlier.  Around 200 guests from the Netherlands, Russia and U.S. — including Nicky and Paris Hilton — were picked up by speedboat at Cannes and taken to the Carlton hotel on the island.  The party was catered by Bruno, a restaurant famous for its truffles in the  Cote d’Azur. DJ Jacky of the famous nightclub Les Caves in the Byblos hotel played before Sheryl Cole sang “Happy Birthday” to the birthday boy Marilyn Monroe-style. When dinner was over, the crowd moved to the dance floor where the Black Eyed Peas (without Fergie) played all night long! Everyone at the party was dancing like there was no tomorrow

Nicky Hilton, Anna-Sophia van Zweden and Paris Hilton

Now, you know what to talk about with Barbara, Don, Anna-Sophia and Jaap when you see them at the gala. Better get your tickets now. Got a feeling that thanks to Todd’s decorations, Joshua’s performance with Jaap and the DSO, Anna-Sophia’s after-party and some other surprises, the DSO fundraiser is going to compare very nicely to the mysterious Dutch millionaire’s birthday party.

Joshua Bell photo provided by Dallas Symphony Orchestra