Upstairs at the VIP party in the Meyerson Symphony Center, Joel Allison was saying that although he’d had a busy day, he wouldn’t have missed this concert event called Cancer Blows for anything.
“Busy” might have been an understatement. The CEO of Baylor Scott & White Health had risen that day at 3:30 a.m., worked out, then headed for the airport to catch a flight to Austin, where he was to meet with the Texas governor and lieutenant governor about health-care legislation. Allison’s flight was canceled, though, so he wound up driving to the state capital, just barely making his meetings, then just barely making it back to Dallas in time for Cancer Blows.
Billed as a “once-in-a-lifetime musical event” bringing together the world’s most famous trumpet players, the Cancer Blows fundraiser attracted 2,000 guests on March 4 to honor Dallas Symphony Orchestra principal trumpet player Ryan Anthony. Anthony was diagnosed more than two years ago with multiple myeloma, a plasma-cell cancer that’s considered incurable and terminal, but has undergone successful treatment including chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant at Baylor’s Sammons Cancer Center. Proceeds from the concert were to be directed through The Ryan Anthony Foundation to benefit the Baylor Health Care System Foundation and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
Following the VIP gathering—where besides Allison you could spot the likes of Robin Robinson with his daughter Kate Swail, Sheila and Jody Grant, Jinna and Jerry Lancourt, Blaine Nelson, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Kara and Randall Goss and Dee Simmons with Cary McGuire—guests filed into the symphony hall for the much-anticipated concert. After a welcome by emcee Jody Dean—“The only famous horn not here tonight is Gabriel, and we really don’t want him showing up,” Dean quipped—the full house was treated to a varied evening of classical, jazz and pop music.
The first half, which featured members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, included performances by Lee Loughnane, a founding member of the rock group Chicago, and Anthony himself, who teamed with such trumpet all-stars as Jens Lindemann, Joe Burgstaller, and Ronald Romm. The second half, with the University of North Texas One O’clock Lab Band, starred the likes of musical legends Arturo Sandoval and Doc Severinson, the bandleader for “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” for 30 years.
Honorary chairs for the fundraiser were Diane and Hal Brierley. D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock served as event chairs. Mickey and Bill Lively were special event advisers.