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.
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.
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.”
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.
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).
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.
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.