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.

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.

Despite Threatening Weather, Sherwood Wagner Tented Up With A Lavish Dinner To Kick Off The Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala

Bird floating over the dinner table*

Bird floating over the dinner table*

Violinist*

Violinist*

Outside the Preston Hollow home of Sherwood Wagner early on Tuesday, April 26, the weather was still warm but dry ahead of the drenching that had been predicted for later. But, once inside Sherwood’s manse, some 150 guests were confronted with a sight that had them forgetting about the forecast: Just beyond the doors leading to Wagner’s yard, a huge, sky-high white tent had been erected that looked like someone’s idea of heaven. Beneath its Hollywood-style spotlights, colorful dinner tables had been neatly arranged, each one sporting generous arrangements of peonies, tulips, lilies or purple orchids. Hanging above each table was a fanciful oversized scultped “bird,” in hues ranging from white, aqua and yellow to pink and gold. Ah, now they recalled the extraordinary invitation that Sherwood had been hand-delivered — a box containing a dazzling feathered faux bird and a printed invite.

Jonathan Martin, Sherwood Wagner and Marena and Roger Gault*

Jonathan Martin, Sherwood Wagner and Marena and Roger Gault*

Million Dollar Quartet*

Million Dollar Quartet*

The stunning environment was the handiwork of Shari Kelley Events of Palm Springs, California, which Sherwood had retained to make this kick-off dinner for the Friday, September 16th Dallas Symphony Gala one the guests won’t soon forget. Affirmed one of them as she took it all in: “This is the prettiest party I’ve been to in the last five years.” The party was also full of surprises, from the real live bird that was chirping somewhere high in the tent, to the virtuoso violinist who played while guests enjoyed drinks and canapés, to the curtain that was suddenly yanked back to reveal a stage with six rockabilly band members beneath lettering that read, Million Dollar Quartet. When the expert musicians tore into tunes like “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Great Balls of Fire” and “Folsom Prison Blues,” guests including Doris and Jack Jacobs and Donna and Herb Weitzman packed the little dance floor.

Carole Ann Brown*

Carole Ann Brown*

Lynn McBee, Barbara Daseke and Yon Jorden*

Lynn McBee, Barbara Daseke and Yon Jorden*

Others, like Kara and Randall Goss, Kathy and Richard Holt, Lynn McBee, Carole and Scott Murray, Holly and Doug Deason and Katherine and Key Coker, were content to chat with friends until dinner (Panzanella artichoke salad and braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and sweet peas) was served. That’s when Sherwood (she’s the 2016 Gala honorary chair) and her buddies 2016 Gala Chairs Marena and Roger Gault took the stage, along with DSO CEO Jonathan Martin. After thanking Gala Underwriting Chairs Margaret and Barry Hancock and Kristi and Ron Hoyl, Roger announced, “We are well on our way to meeting our goal for the Gala.” Jonathan reiterated that the “most famous classical musician on the planet,” pianist Lang Lang, would perform at the Gala. Then, as rain began spattering on the tent’s roof, Marena added, “Come hell or high water, we’re going to have a good time tonight!”

Randall and Kara Goss and Carole and Scott Murray*

Randall and Kara Goss and Carole and Scott Murray*

And that’s just what they did—at least until just before 9:30 and the scheduled desserts (lemon bar with raspberries, or double chocolate chip brownie with strawberries). It was announced then that “Mother Nature’s coming home to roost, so we feel that it’s better to get you on your way and to turn the party off.” With that everyone made happily for the valet line, where they could hear thunder and see lightning flashing off in the distance.

Can’t wait to see what Sherwood and the Gaults have in store for the 2016 fall season’s first black-tie gala. Tickets and sponsorships are available now.

* Photo credit: Sylvia Elzafron